"Baseball bat neck" Exaggerated?

JPH118

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,776
The thin ‘80s necks makes my hand cramp. I am good with medium to baseball bat. My fave is the Warmoth boatneck.

I had a similar experience when filling in on bass for a year or so... my old man’s ‘65 Jazz was so thin and narrow, it killed my left hand compared to my MusicMan Sabre (more like a Pbass neck, wider & thicker). Since then, I notice it on guitars as well, in a more subtle way. I def prefer a fuller neck like a late 50s Gibson.
 

Average Joe

Member
Messages
11,932
Round here on TGP it seem to be a bit of a macho thing - yeah real men like fat necks. The same way real men play teles, etc. It's just a thing.

I'm sure that if fat necks were popular in the general public, Fender would have them on all the models now running Modern C.

Me, a neck can be too fat - some of the Gibson reissues are a bit silly, but generally I prefer medium or above rather than slimmer.
 
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Guitarworks

Member
Messages
10,858
OP,
TGP as a whole does not appear to be anti-fat neck. In fact, there is a contingency of players here whom, based on the constant banter about "needing thick, thick, thick necks", I'm convinced are 8 feet tall with fingers like bananas and need a 2" deep neck strung with .015 strings to make a guitar work.

My PRS Singlecuts have substantially clubby necks, but I have no trouble shredding on them. One of my strats also happens to be a parts strat with a Mighty Mite neck that matches or exceeds the 1st gen Jeff Beck sig model necks in thickness and profile. Every fan I know of that model who plays that strat loves the neck and wants to buy it. I don't know how it made it out of the factory. It's the widest, thickest, deepest profile MM neck I think I've ever encountered.
 
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6,258
I have larger hands hence I tend to like larger thicker necks however I own a variety of guitars some with thinner necks and some with thicker. One of the surprises I had was a Jackson Soloist with a thicker bat type neck that I like a lot and if your hands are like mine you can motor around it and stay comfortable without any hand cramping. My other Soloist is noticeably thinner.

But, for the guy with a taste for something big due to large hands you might want to try a Big Lou! I wanted to retrofit my strat neck with a neck from a Big Lou. Strat-esque guitar with a neck that makes the Richie Kotzen tele model seem kind of small. I liked it. I tried the Cobra model.

Anyone know what I'm talking about?
https://www.biglouguitar.com/

No affiliation, just glad there's an option for those who want something a little bigger.
 

Silent Sound

Member
Messages
5,405
Clearly, it's hyperbole. And actual baseball bat is tapered in a weird way that would make for a very uncomfortable neck for most anyone. You found something that you like that many other people do not. If that's the first time you've experienced something like this, it can be scary. But take it from me, it will be alright. We all have to learn that everyone is different and internet wisdom doesn't apply to everyone at some point. It can be a trying time, but we all make it through, and it makes us stronger people for it.
 

brokenvail

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
786
I feel like age plays a factor. I find many times as guys get older the start to like larger necks more. When I started playing I played modern C necks then did a run with Ibanez playing JS, JPM, Jems and wizards. Then I had a Jackson phase which where also thin. It all changes when I played my first 79 strat with U shape neck and LP custom with 50's rounded neck. Currently I love the Tyler 59 neck, Anderson 60's vibe (and the 60's +20) and Sure Vintage medium, large and any variant larger than that.
 

RockDebris

Member
Messages
3,817
I'm younger and everyone I talk to has a lot of disdain towards the thick necks on average.
When I was young it was the same way, so it’s nothing new. Once a guitarist has enough experience, I believe a lot gravitate away from seeking out the thinnest neck possible under the belief that it is “fast”, and toward one that just fits in their hand the best. Eventually, all tools are judged most by how well they fit in the hand of the person using them, but it can take a bit of time to develop what the feel for that is.


When I was coming up, Ibanez started making necks as thin as they could to appeal to a certain shred demographic in the store and I bought into it. After about 5 years of playing, it began to register that those necks where probably not a good fit for me. Before that I didn’t think about it very much and just assumed a thinner neck was a better playing neck.
 
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Blue Marvel

Member
Messages
1,116
I have a 50s replica Telecaster a buddy of mine made. It's got to have the largest neck on the planet and huge frets. This guitar is extremely comfortable for me to play as I like big necks. I cannot play something like a 60's Gibson or similar as I get cramps from tiny necks.
 

Jayyj

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,293
I think the overall guitar market reflects fairly accurately what the majority of players want - companies like Fender don't just guess, they look at what sells and make more of them. So I think generally we see an overwhelming preference for shallow to medium C profiles in the mainstream, with enough interest in Vs and Us to justify a fair amount of models and big beefy necks on certain designs such as Les Pauls where there's a fan club that likes 'em big (note it's the expensive Les Pauls they go nuts with big necks for, the fadeds, tributes etc stay within the more mainstream proportions).

I can remember not that long ago everyone on forums who fancied themselves a serious player with an opinion on neck shapes seemed to think huge baseball bat necks were the only way to go, and I agree with @27sauce that the necks they put on R7s and R8s seem cartoonishly big compared to how the originals typically were in those years, but there's demand for huge necks from well heeled Les Paul fans so that's how they make them. Anecdotally though I think the big neck fetish seems to have rowed back a bit and I don't read anything like as many comments from people pushing them as I used to.

Ultimately it's just down to finding what suits you and it's all good.
 

Benz2112

Memba?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,047
@Jabby92 I think you just hit upon a difference between different sets of players. I think the mainstream opinion is consistent with your presumption that thin means fast, and thick means slow. I think TGP is kind of the outlier, where there is a decent number of members here that like if not prefer a big neck... but then it is a matter of what constitutes a big neck. The early Broadcaster/Nocaster necks were huge, I have a similar style neck on my Kirn, measuring just shy of an inch all the way down the neck. I cannot fathom a neck being any bigger than the Kirn, but it is round and has the nicest rolled edges, the kind of tele neck that to paraphrase Greg Koch, you can abuse like a farm animal. Like you, I also have a Kiesel with their standard neck, which is quite a bit swallower and flatter, and it is just a much different beast in terms of feel. For me, the absolute goldilocks profile is somewhere in between, but I can appreciate either extreme. Anything smaller than that standard Kiesel neck is just a no go for me, including the Fender Modern C, which I hate.
 

Dominik

Member
Messages
541
We've all seen videos of virtuosos with tiny hands flying around wide flat classical necks with ease. Put in the time and you can adjust to almost anything.

It took me a few weeks to completely adjust to a thick neck which I ordered from a parts builder however most people would probably return a guitar in that time if they weren't entirely comfortable with it in the first few days. So in my experience it's one of those things that takes time to make a proper decision on and not everyone has that luxury.
 

jblake

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,319
I find that fatter necks and curvier finger board radii are much more comfortable over long hours of playing. For me, at least. Something about that setup lends itself to better playing posture and wrist position.
 

Sirloin

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
16,169
My '98 R8 is right at .90 first fret and 1.0 at the 12th. I have a 2010 B7 LP Custom and I think the neck on that one is slightly larger than the R8.

I bought the R8 new in 1998, way before I was looking at any online forums. That guitar just felt right and is still my #1. I had a USA 335 at the time with the slim taper neck, which I eventually sold as the neck bothered me.

I have four Warmoth builds with their fatback profile which is pretty much 1" along the length of the neck.

The fattest necks I have ever played were two different 1965 SG Juniors which really surprised me.

If I am looking to buy a used guitar online, I ask the seller what the neck is like without letting them know if I prefer thick or thin. People tend to tell you what you want to hear. One guy's baseball bat is another guy's pool cue.
 
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Mpcoluv

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3,629
Everybody likes different things. It’s why Warmoth makes so many profiles. If you don’t like what I like, the world still turns...
 
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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:
The thing is that everyone has different preferences for neck profiles...to one person a "baseball bat neck" is super comfortable and fits their hand perfectly, to another it'll be extremely difficult to play. Same can be said for super skinny necks. To me the term "baseball bat neck" in itself is not inherently negative or positive, but just a way to call a neck fat :).

I have 3 Kiesel Vaders (all regular neck profile, which I prefer to the "thin" option...never tried the thick option, though I'm interested in doing so) and I find their neck profiles to be pretty much the ideal for me generally speaking...but I am also comfortable on much thicker necks and some thinner ones as well. My custom Suhr has the "Even C Fat" neck profile...which is pretty huge, but it's one of my most comfortable guitars to play. I have a few early 90s Jackson Professionals and the necks on those are really slim, but again I'm super comfy playing them. In fact I think out of the probably dozens and dozens of guitars I've checked out over the years, the only necks I ever played and truly felt like "nope, I hate it" would be the Ibanez Wizard necks. I've learned to avoid rail thin necks as a result of knowing that.

I have preferences but for me it's not as black and white as "I like / dislike fat necks, thin necks, etc". Just a case by case basis...but I do think most people who refuse to buy a guitar with a thicker neck probably already know it's not their cup of tea. Then again, lots of people make snap judgements without any experience, so who knows.
 

agiehler

Member
Messages
529
I jumped on the fat neck bandwagon for a while (thanks TGP) until I realized shape is more important than size. IMO a Medium C is really the sweet spot for comfort and speed/accuracy. Works out great because guitar options are very limited if you must have the heft.
 

stevieboy

Clouds yell at me
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
38,029
I often see online everyone always talking about the evil 50s "baseball bat" necks found on old Fender and Gibson guitars. :eek:
Someone who considers them "evil" will likely exaggerate them, sure. Just like some people describe heavy guitars as "boat anchors."

That's why quantifying things as much as possible is useful. Maybe not always possible, but useful. Any kind of description that involves subjective terms is going to be suspect. "Really comfortable" in an emporium ad--really? And if someone uses baseball bat neck as a negative, well, fine that they have their own preferences, but if they like thin necks, anything approaching fat might seem like a baseball bat to them.

People who like fatter necks will have a bit more discrimination in their perceptions of fatter necks, just as people who like thinner necks will with thin ones. I like fat necks, but I reserve "baseball bat" to the really fat ones, like an inch at the first fret and full. And I don't mean it as negative! To me fat necks start about .90" at the first fret but profile comes into it too, that can make a big difference. To me .90 and 1.00 are very different even both are within my range, while to someone on the other end of the preference scale will likely not differentiate. Just as I don't differentiate between .83 and .80.

One size doesn't fit all. Fat necks aren't evil, neither are thin ones. Any more than size 12 shoes are evil and everyone should wear size 8. (Of course that's an, um, exaggerated example, and I can play a thin neck while I couldn't possibly wear a size 8 shoe.)

It really shouldn't be an issue what other people like. Except those thin neck guys, they're so macho about how fast they play! :banana And those guys that like to declare they can play any size neck whatsamatteryou?, that's some macho stuff right there!
 
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