"Baseball bat neck" Exaggerated?

Jabby92

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3,928
I wanted to touch on this topic. I often see online everyone always talking about the evil 50s "baseball bat" necks found on old Fender and Gibson guitars. Last year, I bought a 50s inspired MIJ Fender Telecaster. It has a relatively big U shape neck but also a wider nut than most vintage Fenders and the frets are bigger (medium jumbo).

Anyway, to my surprise while the neck is bigger than the C shape neck on my MIA Stratocaster, its actually extremely comfortable to play. All that extra wood really gives you a lot of leverage for chords and rhythm playing. Sure, I can't shred around it as easily as my Kiesel (which has a thin D neck) but I can still get around it fast enough. The whole guitar plays amazing and it makes me wonder all the disdain for these 'baseball bat' necks.

I almost feel like people have a pre-tense or pre-judgement towards them thinking they'll be just unplayable or something. Am I wrong on this? I really think folks should give these necks a try before writing them off. Seems like a lot marketing has a lot of people fooled into needing a paper thin neck. :eek:
 

27sauce

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36,637
My experience is the opposite. I see lots of hype, marketing towards fat necks. IMO, many of them, especially the ‘90’s-00’s Historic Gibsons, were too big. Fat for the sake of being fat. I own a couple of real 50’s LPs, and while they aren’t thin, they aren’t anywhere near an early 00’s R7.

We may be running in different circles. I’m not sure I know anyone that owns a Kiesel in real life.
 

singlecutarmy

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1,622
Biggest I've played was the Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro II.

They're MEATY and I did struggle a little bit with it (at the time I was learning Maiden songs).

But I adjusted fine and my 1955I is close to that size, maybe just a bit less meaty.

I prefer thick necks, usually, but I can play everything but wizards. I find thick necks have better tuning stability.

For reference my hand size is considered exactly average.
 

Go Cat Go!!

Member
Messages
6,700
Biggest I've had my little grubby hands around was a Ricky Kelly Barncaster. That thing was the Godzilla of necks. Paul Bunyon would have had a stroke chopping this neck down to size. And there was no trust rod. I don't think one was needed.
 

Jabby92

Member
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3,928
My experience is the opposite. I see lots of hype, marketing towards fat necks. IMO, many of them, especially the ‘90’s-00’s Historic Gibsons, were too big. Fat for the sake of being fat. I own a couple of real 50’s LPs, and while they aren’t thin, they aren’t anywhere near an early 00’s R7.

We may be running in different circles. I’m not sure I know anyone that owns a Kiesel in real life.
I'm younger and everyone I talk to has a lot of disdain towards the thick necks on average. I see them praised on this forum relatively often, but on some sites and also in real life, a lot of people I've run into them seem to not like them at all. Anyway, I just was surprised that I liked it as much as I do as I was judgemental of them.

Maybe I haven't been paying attention, but it seems to me that ALOT of folks like a big 'ole fat neck?
I think on here they do, but in-person and people I talk do don't seem to like them. I'm younger so maybe thats why. I just think its silly because to me they are totally playable and I feel like a lot of people are missing out on great guitars if they just want 'modern' necks only.
 

singlecutarmy

Member
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1,622
I'm younger and everyone I talk to has a lot of disdain towards the thick necks on average. I see them praised on this forum relatively often, but on some sites and also in real life, a lot of people I've run into them seem to not like them at all. Anyway, I just was surprised that I liked it as much as I do as I was judgemental of them.



I think on here they do, but in-person and people I talk do don't seem to like them. I'm younger so maybe thats why. I just think its silly because to me they are totally playable and I feel like a lot of people are missing out on great guitars if they just want 'modern' necks only.
There's currently a lot of focus, and often is with younger crowds, about faster faster faster.

And people think you can only play fast on thin necks.

Thin necks helps with classical style finger positions ( thumb in the dead center back of neck, fingers directly lined up with 4 frets) like many people use for things like technical shred and metal but so many people use more of a blues-style playing (thumb on top, cupping the neck into the hand, fingers angled for bending strength) that doesn't really require that position and play very fast all the same.
 

derekd

Silver Supporting Member
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44,015
Just like people come in all sizes, so do hands. I have pretty good sized hands and need a fatter neck otherwise, they fatigue faster.

The fattest neck I've owned came on a Forshage Neo I picked up here a few years back. It was 1.0" at the nut and 12th fret and was a big U shape. That was too big even for me. I had trouble reaching some chords. I had Chris shave it down to a D shape .95" at the nut. Basically the Gibson 50's profile. Perfect now.

The problem today is, there are no guitars under $2k I've seen that come with a fatter neck as an option. You have to pay a premium, or buy a replacement if it is a bolt-on, to get a fatter neck profile.
 

soulman969

Senior Member
Messages
3,647
There's currently a lot of focus, and often is with younger crowds, about faster faster faster.

And people think you can only play fast on thin necks.

Thin necks helps with classical style finger positions ( thumb in the dead center back of neck, fingers directly lined up with 4 frets) like many people use for things like technical shred and metal but so many people use more of a blues-style playing (thumb on top, cupping the neck into the hand, fingers angled for bending strength) that doesn't really require that position and play very fast all the same.
Spot on I believe. I'm "old school" and quite used to '50s and '60s necks with some "grip" to them. Shallow necks on a neck with a flat radius aren't comfortable to me at all.

Some of the old fat "U" profiles can be a little over the top but many aren't and for me the '50s soft "V" or a '60s large "C" work well as do '50s type Gibson "D" profiles.
 

Jabby92

Member
Messages
3,928
There's currently a lot of focus, and often is with younger crowds, about faster faster faster.

And people think you can only play fast on thin necks.

Thin necks helps with classical style finger positions ( thumb in the dead center back of neck, fingers directly lined up with 4 frets) like many people use for things like technical shred and metal but so many people use more of a blues-style playing (thumb on top, cupping the neck into the hand, fingers angled for bending strength) that doesn't really require that position and play very fast all the same.
True, I agree. Interestingly enough, I studied classical guitar and learned that exact technique. All though now I am more a jazz player, but the way I learned is to be flexible with thumb placement but when soloing I do have my thumb on the back of the neck a lot.

The thing is though, the vintage necks are actually really good for this style of playing IMO. The thick D shape of a late 50s Gibson neck is perfect for that because its quite flat with big shoulders. Same with the U shape on my Tele, the shoulders are pronounced but its relatively a nice carve that lets you play with the thumb behind the neck with ease while also having a good grip for bending and chords. I actually find a lot of modern C necks too rounded and in some ways uncomfortable.
 

Jabby92

Member
Messages
3,928
Just like people come in all sizes, so do hands. I have pretty good sized hands and need a fatter neck otherwise, they fatigue faster.

The fattest neck I've owned came on a Forshage Neo I picked up here a few years back. It was 1.0" at the nut and 12th fret and was a big U shape. That was too big even for me. I had trouble reaching some chords. I had Chris shave it down to a D shape .95" at the nut. Basically the Gibson 50's profile. Perfect now.

The problem today is, there are no guitars under $2k I've seen that come with a fatter neck as an option. You have to pay a premium, or buy a replacement if it is a bolt-on, to get a fatter neck profile.
This is exactly why I bought the Tele. Its 50s 'inspired' so it does have a 50s style neck but its not a custom shop guitar or anything. It was $900 shipped and its a high quality guitar all around. But I know what you mean.. seems guitar builders would sooner cater to a wider audience for sales.. so they go with more 'neutral' neck shapes it seems or stuff that will fit most peoples hands best.
 

C_C_King

Member
Messages
127
Agreed. Gibson 50s neck profile is quite comfortable and tastefull neck for me, even I have relatively small hands..
Biggest neck I played I assume was the Kotzen Tele but it was still Ok and loved the guitar..
 

Phila67

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Messages
1,995
Most "baseball bat" like neck I have experienced was on a '70s Yamaha 12 string hummingbird copy. It's like they literally sawed a louisville slugger in half.
 

boo radley

Member
Messages
2,201
Yeah, clearly the tgp camp has historically been pro baseball neck, now outside of tgp it's a pretty slim segment but here, a whole nother story.
This ^^^.

On TGP the chunkier 50's necks are proclaimed the root of all that is good; I'm not sure where you're getting the 'evil' from.

But there's also an inherent internet bias in favor of self-aggrandizement; small-dic--err, "handed," non-tone-loving players, who don't gig often enough to suffer cramps from smaller neck profiles, don't have good technique, never worked for anything...need not apply. I'm exaggerating. A little. :)

One thing is for sure -- whatever you're selling, there will be buyers wanting a different neck profile.
 

LReese

Member
Messages
2,159
Biggest I've played was the Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro II.

They're MEATY and I did struggle a little bit with it (at the time I was learning Maiden songs).
What kind of meat? Beef, chicken, fish or pork?:banana

I dunno... The struggle with me is girth with a wider neck.
 

singlecutarmy

Member
Messages
1,622
True, I agree. Interestingly enough, I studied classical guitar and learned that exact technique. All though now I am more a jazz player, but the way I learned is to be flexible with thumb placement but when soloing I do have my thumb on the back of the neck a lot.

The thing is though, the vintage necks are actually really good for this style of playing IMO. The thick D shape of a late 50s Gibson neck is perfect for that because its quite flat with big shoulders. Same with the U shape on my Tele, the shoulders are pronounced but its relatively a nice carve that lets you play with the thumb behind the neck with ease while also having a good grip for bending and chords. I actually find a lot of modern C necks too rounded and in some ways uncomfortable.
Baseball bats more refer to big round necks.

Wide-fat necks like some Gibsons have will do fine with classical. I had an SG standard with it, I'm not personally a fan. I like deeper C shapes that fill out your hand, personally.

BC Rich tends to walk a very nice line between the two, they are my favorite neck shape.

What kind of meat? Beef, chicken, fish or pork?:banana

I dunno... The struggle with me is girth with a wider neck.
Fish, it has a scale length after all.
 




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