Well, there was a final bizarre twist in all this for me.joemo wrote: ↑Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:58 pmHi, Back in the spring, after many attempts over 2 weeks, I managed to speak to Roberto (I think) on the phone. At the time I was considering whether a 60s Vox Phantom Stereo VII restoration project I had been offered was viable or not. The neck was in a bad way. The Brandoni website lists replacement VII string necks but when I asked Roberto about this he said they aren’t for sale. The only way I could get one was if I ordered a complete guitar. I passed on the project and bought a 1966 Mark VI Acoustic instead.
I still wonder about the necks and if anyone else has had a similar experience or if I just called on a bad day. I’d definitely like to visit his workshop though. Maybe I’d have better luck face to face?
The neck I bought from him, which was supposed to go on my Ultrasonic 12 string body, ended up getting sold. As it was un-drilled I figured it'd be criminal to drill it for a 12-string neck heel (which has wider screw alignment). It would render the neck virtually useless, or at the very least, far less valuable, if anyone wanted to put it on a 6-string body. They'd have to drill out the holes, dowel them & re-drill for a 6-string body.
Not only that, the nut width was crazy narrow. Narrower than a Jazzmaster & a little too cramped for my liking. I realised that using a 12-string neck, strung with 6-strings, was the best solution after all. I love it now & am really glad that I left the 6-string neck alone.
So, here's the twist....The guy I sold it to was planning on putting it on a Starstream body (if I remember correctly) but when he got the neck he immediately realised there were problems. For a start, the headstock wasn't long enough to hold the 6 Vox-stamped tuners that came as stock on a Starstream. Furthermore, the neck was over a centimetre shorter in length & in fact every dimension was different to a stock Starstream neck. It baffled him, was a complete surprise to me, and in the end I refunded him & still have the neck.
He's pretty clued up in the world of vintage Vox guitars & reckons this neck was made for a shortscale bass, maybe as a custom order. All those late 60s Vox bass guitars had stupidly thin necks so it makes sense. The lack of space for 6 tuners adds even more weight to his theory.
Trouble is, there's every chance this was a custom neck, maybe even a prototype that never got paired with its intended body. If that's the case I doubt there's even a body in existence that was made to accommodate this neck, not unless it's still sat there, gathering dust in Brandoni's workshop.
Lastly....I'll always be intrigued. When I bought the neck I had a choice of 2. The other had a much uglier headstock inlay (some of them aged really badly, almost looking like they were kind of bleeding out) but, who knows, maybe it was the neck I should've bought after all. I never thought to line them up next to each other & I don't think for a second that Roberto knew that it was such an oddball neck. He's a genuinely lovely guy with a passion for building guitars.
joemo, I think Roberto is close to retiring & wants to spend more time with his family & pass the business on to someone else. Believe me, there's a shitload of stock that can still be used, particularly necks & bodies. All the really desirable stuff (vibrato tailpieces, pickups, Vox-branded parts, etc...) has long gone - either sold or put on NOS builds) but god knows what's still lurking back in Italy. He always said that the stuff in London wasn't even half of it!!
I'm not surprised he wants to sell complete units either. He's witnessed a revival of interest in guitars like the Phantom & is probably sick to death of people (like me) chasing him up for random parts. I think I just caught him at a good time to begin with, way back in 2008 (or whenever it was) and had the luxury of being able to drop by quite easily, seeing as I lived in London. He loved the fact I was restoring an old pre-Ranger 12 string acoustic & was happy to talk about the Ultrasonic situation & hopefully come up with a solution.