Does neck size/thickness matter?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Madison, Apr 8, 2015.

  1. Madison

    Madison Supporting Member

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    I've read lots of pros/cons regarding big guitar necks and tone, and now have some real experience with it. I replaced the medium size neck on my tele with a Warmoth compound fatback over the weekend. The difference is quite stunning.

    It is a full 1" thick C shape the entire length which turned out to be a bit much, so I hand sanded the shoulders down a small amount. The wood removal was minimal but the feel difference is considerably better. It's also has a rosewood fretboard so that must be contributing to the change in sound.

    It seems to simply have 'more'. Sustain, body, improved tone, even a slight volume increase when compared to my strat with the same neck carve as the original tele neck.

    Anyone else finding positive/negative results upgrading or changing your bolt on?
     
  2. joeybsyc

    joeybsyc Member

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    Of course it does.
     
  3. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Silver Supporting Member

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    Yeah, but it's the width, they say. Not the length.

    Now, if you're talking about ebony...
     
  4. C-4

    C-4 Member

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    There was a time when I was younger that playing any shape neck made no difference to me. However, as I played more, while I had no trouble playing differently shaped necks, I started having preferences, depending on the individual guitar.

    I believe it started when I got my first original issue Fender Jeff Beck strat and loved the neck. I played that guitar for about 6 years and after that, became more fussy about the shape and size of the neck, depending on which guitar I had.
     
  5. Astronaut FX

    Astronaut FX Member

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    Short answer is yes, it does matter. But I think from one person to the next, the degree to which it matters can vary a great deal.

    There are some players who can grab any guitar and adapt almost instantly. Other players are only comfortable with guitars that meet very exact specs and aren't comfortable with anything outside of those specs.

    The rest of us live somewhere in between those two extremes.
     
  6. Madison

    Madison Supporting Member

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    I've played for 40 years and only in the last couple of years have started honing in on more details, however small. Of course when you replace the neck you have plenty of choices to check off on, which in the past didn't interest me.
     
  7. dirk_benedict

    dirk_benedict Supporting Member

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    Honestly? It never mattered to me until I came here. IF you buy/sell a lot here, thicker typically seem more desirable these days.

    I have guitars of all different shapes and neck carves and get on with most of them.

    The dudes who claim "if I play for 5minutes on something other than an R9 neck carve I get 6mos of arthritis" seem extreme to me, but I try to give them the bene of the doubt on it.
     
  8. 69strat

    69strat Member

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    I find that any size neck with big frets feels great to me..
     
  9. Turi

    Turi Member

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    My ASAT has a super thick neck, and it sounds the best of any guitar I've had.. I don't know if that's because of the thick neck though.

    It's too hard to tell whether the thicker necks sound comes through plugged in - I mean, your new neck has a rosewood fretboard like you said. There's more to it than just a bit more meat.

    Unplugged though, put your ear to the back of the neck - my ASAT sounds way better than my other electrics doing this.
    Surely this is because the neck is thicker, so I'm hearing a fuller sound this way. All I can think of.
    Also the notes ring out for far, far longer on my ASAT when I'm derping out listening like this. I believe this is because of the thicker neck aswell.

    I don't know how much of that gets through to the pickups though, when it's plugged in..
     
  10. Madison

    Madison Supporting Member

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    The title was a rhetorical question, to generate some examples. You have a nice collection of guitars, presumably with lots of different necks. Care to share any thoughts? thanks!
     
  11. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    I don't think the type of fretboard wood used makes any material difference in the sound of the guitar. I can only suggest in really slimy, sweltering playing conditions, that the rosewood will soak up some of your sweat and your fingers may hit their marks better - cleaner note on a less sloppy fretboard.

    Neck thickness DID matter to me from early on. Dunno why I was never lucky enough to find a supply of vintage fat necked guitars; all I know is from the late 70s through the late 1990s, when I walked into a Guitar Store, basically everything presented to me had a silly thin, shreddy style neck. When I suggested something thicker would be better, instead of trying to help me, the staff and their buddies tried to beat me down and tell me how ignorant I was.

    I'm sure I carry over some resentment about having to settle for guitars I didn't like, but I will not tell someone who is meant to play a thin neck, that he'll have a second class sound using a thin neck.

    I think if you're genuinely more comfortable with a fatter neck, you should try it and go with it if the adaptation process goes fairly well.

    The main advantage across the board for large numbers of players is, our hands are not as young or strong as they once were. You need far less hand strength to play the fatter neck. Your thumb and the muscular connections between the thumb and the rest of the hand needn't be anywhere near as fit to play 2 hours straight.

    The fact that the Fat necks seem to be more stable, durable, and sound bigger, is sort of icing on the cake. If you get rid of a guitar every 6 months, never notice stability issues, and play so loud or though so many pedals that "fullness" is a sort of joke, and don't like the feel, don't buy or use a thick neck.

    If I knew I could walk into a Guitar Store and 30% of the guitars had nice hefty necks, then I'd just jump for joy. But even now, you gotta struggle to find fat ones in the average store. Small selection. I just hope the fans of skinny necks understand they're not under attack - they still have my neck under their boot, truthfully.
     
  12. bluwoodsman

    bluwoodsman Member

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    I'm sure I speak for all guys with a touch (or more) of arthritis. Size and shape are exceptionally important!
     
  13. Skeet skeet!

    Skeet skeet! Member

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    I have big hands and my left thumb doesnt experience nearly as much fatigue now that I primarily play thicker necks.
     
  14. ZeyerGTR

    ZeyerGTR Supporting Member

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    It certainly matters to me in terms of feel. I've tried and tried but I just don't like narrow nuts. They feel cramped, and I don't have big hands. Just what I'm used to, I guess. Thickness isn't as important although I certainly have preferences. I'm kind of a "medium" guy - not too thin and not too thick is super comfortable (around 0.840" at the nut is perfect, give or take).

    I don't know how much it matters, but anecdotally my LP has the thickest neck I own and I haven't had to adjust the truss rod in 6 years. It's still perfect. I've had to adjust every other guitar at least once a year.

    That's it for me, too. Used to not matter, and I didn't even think about it. I think I used to buy guitars more on looks and vibe. Now it's all about feel, which to me means the neck. I can play on anything, but if I'm buying it has to be 'right'.
     
  15. Madison

    Madison Supporting Member

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    Good post!

    After only a few days of adjusting to the fatback, my DGT that many consider a substantial neck, now seems tiny...like my hand is suddenly & comically huge, dwarfing over it with images in my head of Jimi Hendrix wrapping around his strat neck illustrated in so many pictures.

    Makes me wonder if I'll be able to go back once I'm fully adjusted to it.
     
  16. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    I think the Big Brands feel we older guys are a captive customer base and we will buy more of anything we can get, like we can't control ourselves.

    Around the Boardroom, I suspect that the suits are deciding how to sell their product to females of all ages, to younger and younger people, and to "new demographics"; people of other races and cultures, many of which just happen to have smaller hands than the average Iowan or Texan.

    I'd love to be a fly on the wall there. I suspect there's immense pressure to offer guitars that virtually any person who walks into the Store can get their mitts on. They are (seems to me) Terrified to offer too many guitars that Suzy Creamcheese (with her tiny hands) cannot get a handle on. When you look in a predominately Latino or Asian community you see a lot of small hands - does the Businessman simply decide it is UNACCEPTABLE to offer necks too large for a possible customer? While it is OK to ask a fellow with big hands to make due with something he can play but which is not optimal?
     
  17. CosmicCowboy

    CosmicCowboy Member

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    Neck thickness doesn't seem to matter much to me, but I find a narrow neck uncomfortable to play for an extended time.
     
  18. fjblair

    fjblair Silver Supporting Member

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    Does not matter at all to me unless the neck is on either end of the extremes. I actually like the variety and don't even feel a difference after a song or two.
     
  19. rockinrobby

    rockinrobby Senior member Professional musician ... Gold Supporting Member

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    Same sameĀ… :aok
     
  20. kracdown

    kracdown Custom User Title Gold Supporting Member

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    I have found recently that I can play with most chunky-huge neck profiles. The smallest I will go is my '66 Jazzmaster. But I can switch to my baseball bat R4 or R7 no problem. I'm doing a strat build with a chunky C .90-.99 neck that I'm pretty excited about..
     

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