I've heard that a flamed or quilted maple neck not as strong as a standard plain rock maple? Is that true even if it's quarter sawn?
It's fine. Warmoth uses birdseye, plain, flamed, and curly maple for necks, so do lots of other people.
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It doesn't have to be 1/4 sawn but the problem is when people choose it they find the best looking piece but if there was no figure they would pay more attention to the wood and never use it for a neck.