#1
Looking for new guitars to try out, but there are so many...

Here's my guidelines:

-- Current is Mexi-Strat, with a decked trem. Nice guitar, nothing wrong with it, just not fond of the neck
-- Looking for a "faster" neck, maybe flatter and a little wider
-- No locking nuts, want 22 frets
-- $600 limit, more or less

No pro here, play classic rock with my son mostly. He will inherit the Strat if I can find something else. If you guys can give me some direction, I can go try some out.
#2
Try looking at ESP's for that price you can get a pretty nice guitar and there necks are thinner than fenders but not quite as thin as an ibanez. Jackson would be a way to go as well. Agile has some thin neck les pauls. For $600 you can get a neck through *not set neck* les paul from agile.

http://www.rondomusic.com/al3200tribalpurpleslim.html
#3
You know, Charvel San Dimas and So-cal necks have the same 4-bolt pattern. Save the cost and just buy a Charvel or Warmoth neck.
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#4
ibanez 1421 might be worth a shot. they are very new and are pristege, but not J Craft. i played one two days ago pretty much right after they unboxed it at GC, and wasn't amazed by it, but you might be. a lot of sites may not have them yet, they are pretty new as far as i have noticed.

the part i really liked was the hardtail bridge was really comfortable, and the stock pickups actually sound better than some of ibanez's stock pickups found on higher end models. i think it was $600. the neck was on the thin side.

i really want to stress that i wasn't in love with it, but the ibanez RG that i play is roughly a grand more, so i may be a little spoiled from that aspect.
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#5
It's very hard to find a guitar with a slimmer and flatter neck than a Fender but that also has just 22 frets. Fender necks are fairly slim, once you go flatter you almost always get 24 frets.

Like JustRooster suggested, simply buying a new neck is probably your best option. Warmoth's standard neck shape is very very slightly flatter than the Fender neck, or they do a Wizard profile which is more like an Ibanez neck. They can make the neck with several nut widths and any fretboard radius you want along with any fretwire. The only thing you'd need to do to it is drill the holes for the tuner's screws or pegs, though Warmoth do drill the main tuner post holes. A Warmoth neck made to the spec you want will give you a better playing guitar and be a bit cheaper than buying a whole new instrument.
#6
Thanks for the replies -

Clarification, just want 22+ frets. Mexi-Strat only has 21 which is annoying.

I think I want to keep the Strat intact, so no new neck. ESP and Ibanez will certainly be tried out. Not interested in a trem setup, so the choice is limited. I know the Agiles seem like a good buy, but I want to get my hands on something before buying.

Dumb question: are active electronics only for Metal? Does it matter?
#7
Jackson/Charvel.

A dinky/soloist or a model 6/5.

THeyre made by fender and theyre mij, i wouldnt say the necks feel to similar between my fenders and jackson, but tis deffinately wider, flatter and faster.

I think actives were originally invented for jazz. They sound pretty sterile though, so i wouldnt reccomend them for anything between metal and jazz.