Large hands and small guitar neck?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Brian Scherzer, Jul 27, 2008.

  1. Brian Scherzer

    Brian Scherzer Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,140
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    I am wondering if there are some of you out there who have fairly large hands and have played guitars with thin necks. If so, what has your experience been like? Any problems? Any positives? I'll explain the question after some replies come in. I didn't want to bias the responses by giving what I think my own experience was.
     
  2. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

    Messages:
    15,570
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Location:
    In The Basement
    My hands are on the large side and I've never really had a problem with neck size.

    None of the necks I currently have are skinny but they aren't fat, either. I do have a All Parts TMO-FAT on one Tele. It's a monster but switching between that and my other guitars isn't a problem.

    I've seen quite a few guys with mitts for hands, you know, the guys with no neck, arms as big as your thigh and fat hands with stubby fingers, pick up mandolins and just rip like it's nothing.

    If a guy like that can handle a mando, why do guitar players obsess over neck size?


    Thanks
     
  3. Zuper

    Zuper Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,465
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2006
    Location:
    Lake Tahoe, CA
    I have very large hands and long fingers and prefer thinner necks with 1 5/8" nut width. I guess it's just because I grew up playing Fenders, so that's what I'm used to. I do like 12-strings with wider necks, though.
     
  4. Mark Ray

    Mark Ray We're Jammin' Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,200
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    Hi Brian, you know that I'm a rather large fellow. 6'4", with fairly large hands. My favorite neck in years gone by was a '58 Junior with the big baseball bat carve. I used that to judge all others for years. Then I got my first PRS, CU22 with the wide-fat. It is very much like the Junior. Then I had a guitar built by a friend and I said "Measure the PRS and make it 10% bigger." He did, and it feels awesome to me! Then I ordered a Warmoth parts guitar because I wanted a Strat, and no Fender neck felt big enough for me to be comfortable. Finally, I had Ron Thorn carve the neck on #29 as "the biggest neck he's carved to date." Big, rounded profile.

    It took me a few years, but I found that thinner, and medium necks ended up giving me hand cramps after an hour or so. I had a '96 CU24, just a beautiful guitar in every way, with the wide thin neck. Didn't play it because of that.

    Sorry for rambling. The bottom line is I need a wide, fat-back style neck for my playing comfort. I also think a guitar gets a bit more tone with more wood in the neck, but of course that theory has supporters and naysayers like everything else concerning guitars.

    ps-Both of my Warmoth Strats have the fatback carve and 1 3/4" nut widths

    Mark
     
  5. belair

    belair Member

    Messages:
    408
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    Anybody have fat fingers and find that vintage Fender (1.625") nut widths jam their fingertips together too much?

    I seem to have that issue with my sausages but then I look at Redd Volkaert and think I must be mental to let it worry me.
     
  6. Peppy

    Peppy Member

    Messages:
    6,325
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2006
    Location:
    Mesa, Arizona
    I've palmed a basketball...if that means anything about hand size...and don't really like large/thick necks. Wide? Yes, thick not really. My newest guitar is a Rory Gallagher Strat...not a big nor wide neck by any true defintion.
     
  7. Brian Scherzer

    Brian Scherzer Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,140
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Mark seems to have been closest to answering my unasked question. I have large hands and fairly long fingers. I have been playing on a friend's Gibson CS 356. It's a gorgeous guitar with a truly great sound.......but I started having a bit of pain in my wrist that I don't normally get when playing an instrument. The PRS wide/fat has tended to be my typical sized neck. The CS 356 has a MUCH thinner neck than that. I wasn't sure of the wrist sensation I was getting was due to the thin neck or to something else, but I never get any pain sensations when playing bigger necks on instruments. If it is the neck, it's a crying shame because the 356 is a guitar that even a bass player like me could love!
     
  8. Mattbedrock

    Mattbedrock Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,267
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Location:
    Brevard County, FL
    I have big ole hammy hands - last night I played both my 2008 R9 (a fat baseball bat) and my '68 Firebird III (a toothpick). It was a little strange feeling, but I adjust quickly to different guitars. I always bring 3 - 4 to each gig, so I'm used to switching off.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  9. GuitslingerTim

    GuitslingerTim Member

    Messages:
    2,178
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005

    It depends on playing styles. I liked thinner necks in my youth, but played very little rhythm guitar in the form of barre chords because it caused my hand to ache. As my playing evolved, I played many more chords, including barre chords, and started having serious hand pain in my fretting hand. Over the last few years I have slowly moved to bigger necks to compensate, and can now play rhythm with no pain or discomfort. My necks range from beefy to large in size.
     
  10. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

    Messages:
    25,250
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Location:
    Canada-GTA
    If it's comfy and you can play the notes without choking the adjacent string's notes or finding the reaches too large or too cramped...you're good.

    But, consider how wide most classical guitars are.

    Try a 1.75 nut. There is nothing about it that makes it more unplayable, imo, but it does not require as precise finger pacement in the lower positions. The upper frets spacing is 'about' the same on all guitars, so, why do we have to scrunch our fingers together to play near the nut? If you have truly small hands the reverse also applies. Pick to fit if possible.
     
  11. ghoti

    ghoti Member

    Messages:
    529
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Location:
    Mill Valley, CA
    :agree

    You can adjust to anything, but if you do a fair bit of chording, the hand gets really tired and can cramp up on a skinny neck. One of the best reasons I'm doing mostly 7-strings these days is because of this.

    I'm not sure why the original default for an electric guitar was so narrow and thin, as acoustics aren't usually that bad (especially classical guitars).
     
  12. EunosFD

    EunosFD Member

    Messages:
    2,187
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2005
    Location:
    MD
    Painful and clumsy. I'm a 6'5", 250lb ogre and even Nocaster/R7 necks could use a bit more meat on them for me. Moreso than that it's the width that kills me as most of the time on 1 11/16" necks I just trip over my own fingers when playing. My CS Strat has what is more or less an AS neck carve (maybe a hair bigger) and I can't play it for more than 20min or so at a time before my hand gets too sore to play, but I've had that thing for 15yrs so the sentimental value keeps it around. :D Gotta get me something with a big neck on it soon though, but funds are tight right now. :(
     
  13. Brian Scherzer

    Brian Scherzer Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,140
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
  14. newmod

    newmod Member

    Messages:
    142
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Location:
    Madrid, Spain
    Good question Brian and thanks for asking it. I can't answer your question I'm afraid. I've played bass and acoustic guitar and I'm about to pick up my first electric and was thinking about posting a very similar one. Thanks also to those of you who answered, I now have ideas about what to look out for when I'm playimg in the shop.
     
  15. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

    Messages:
    19,839
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    New Orleans + in the past

    I've seen that, too, but what I don't see is older guys with big hands tearing it up for hours on anything with a small girth neck.

    I think we, as players, collectively overcompensated getting away from those really big necks, before really good truss rod systems, and it has taken this 40 years for neck sizes to get back to where they might have been had the downsizing trend not been so exaggerated. I just can't play small diameter necks, and thanks to all this wonderful supply of big fatties, I'm back playing a lot more than I was a while back. And my fingers ain't that big.
     
  16. Paul Conway

    Paul Conway Member

    Messages:
    4,278
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Location:
    Devon, UK
    6'2", long fingers. Used to think huge necks were the solution to everything. However, recently decided that as long as the neck was not painfully thin (i.e. needs to be at least American Series kind of depth), the actual shape is more important. Whereas a typical C neck doesn't support my hand well on the top strings, a U or D does.

    So - 1 11/16" nut, D shape around 0.83"-0.85" at the nut, would do me great. But no-one makes it. :BITCH
     

Share This Page