I have a gazillion strats-skinny neck question ( the guitar, not me)

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by DoctorBob, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. DoctorBob

    DoctorBob Member

    Oct 5, 2009
    This query probably echoes past entreaties. I have a '65 vintage strat with a beefy neck. I have a '66 vintage strat with what I thought was a teeny-tiny neck.But my Custom Shop '60's neck is the skinniest of all. Which Fender guru would decide on such a silly move--it seems not to be vintage correct at all?What fer did they do that fer?
  2. DrumBob

    DrumBob Gold Supporting Member

    May 25, 2008
    NW NJ
    Almost all production Fender guitars these days have necks like little pencils. I hate that. I played one vintage reissue Strat not long ago that had a big, fat neck for a change, but I don't remember what model it was.

    My '63 had a C shape neck. My '64 had a skinny neck, and that was the reason it's gone. My hand cramped.
  3. Whiskeyrebel

    Whiskeyrebel Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2007
    Center Line MI
    A guy I went to high school with once brought his dad's original late 50s Strat over to my friend's house. I played chords with my thumb a lot at the time and could not get comfortable on it at all.
    It had a narrow V neck with rather sharp corners between the fingerboard and the neck sides. He said what he loved about it was the "pencil thin neck" in his exact words.
  4. toomanyamps

    toomanyamps Member

    Apr 26, 2007
    Skinniest neck I ever played was an original '68 Strat. So depending on the year they were shooting for, maybe that CS '60's is vintage correct.
  5. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    Funny, my 1966 strat has a chunky neck. I played a relic version and it was in the ballpark. Sometimes they get it right, lol. I have played early 60's strat with real thin necks. I think they just varied greatly due to much hand work. I like that.
  6. Fingers

    Fingers Member

    Sep 9, 2004
    I think it's acknowledged that consistency wasn't the top priority at Leo's old factory, not out of laziness, but more due to circumstances (costs, material availability, customer demand), individual employee tendencies, & a "corporate culture" (to use a non-vintage term) dominated by a famously relentless tinkerer.

    Apparently in 1958 (the same year they finally got the 3-tone sunburst to work!) they made a small number of Stratocasters with very small necks. I owned one of these for 25 years. It was a beautiful looking, feeling & sounding instrument (it had been on the cover of GP shortly before I got it in the '70s). Absolutely perfectly balanced too; sit it on your knee & it'd be totally straight like a level, even though the neck was so small. Roger Sadowsky, who used to do the guitar-tech stuff on it, said it was by far the thinnest Strat neck he ever saw & once, when he saw it for the first time in a few years, asked me if I'd had him shave it down in the past.

    I originally picked that guitar out from a whole batch of awesome 'Strats ranging from '54 to '59. None of the others had necks like this, or like each other for that matter. But each of them felt great; the small neck (& me having very small hands) was only one factor that made me get that one.

    I have no insight as to why most old Fenders have bigger necks & newer ones the opposite (if that's true; I haven't kept current), but variation in neck size is a time-honored Fender tradition; it sure wasn't like ordering a custom build now where you get very precise intentional measurements.

    It's only recently that I've realized (via Rick Kelly, though it sounds like D'Pergo might be in this camp, along with many others I'm sure) that a big neck can really feel great even with a small hand, which had not been my experience before. Now I'm not sure which way to go re neck when I next acquire a Strattish guitar. It seems that, as with so many things, quality of execution trumps statistics. ymmv

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