Neck shapes, sizes, and perception

simonm

Member
Messages
905
I also looked into this a while back, as the whole question of what constitutes a 'big' neck is really vague e.g. the neck on my Epi 57 reissue LP Jr is thicker than the current Gibson "50s neck", but this is itself much thinner than a real Gibson 50s neck, as this thread has shown.

The profile is more important than the depth IMO - for example - two Supro necks - '57 on the left, '62 on the right:



The '57 is deeper, bus has a slight V profile, and the '62 is clearly slimmer, but is slightly wider at the nut and is more of a D profile - and so the 'circumference' of the '62 is actually pretty much the same as the '57, maybe even a little more.
 

jads57

Supporting Member
Messages
6,061
The old guitars all had necks shaped by hand, which means a lot of variance in size and shape. I don't think they thought a whole lot about it, other than as a basic shape to carve.
 

macmeda

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,331
Nut width, shoulder, and scale length are big players.
Bingo! Shoulder is the big diff. Marc Rutters let me choose between two necks that were as close to identical as hand made necks could be except for the smallest amount of shoulder diff. For me the shaved shoulder was/is the best most comfortable neck I've played. The other was uncomfortable and difficult for me to play. These are fat necks front to back and I'd say my hands are medium sized.
 

jrmgtrplyr

Member
Messages
299
Nut Width, Shoulders, Fretboard Radius, Fret size all play into the feel, but if I had to say 1 on same guitar models it would be shoulders for sure. I have a nocaster and a `56 relic strat - both have the same radius, scale length, nut width, and fret size and a very close in actual depth front to back at the deepest point. The difference is the nocaster U feels huge do to it's large shoulders and the `56 actually feels somewhat small and thin compared to the nocaster because of the soft shoulders of the 10/56 boat neck and as I said they both are about the same in depth at their deepest point.
 

friend33

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,919
Depth does matter, for sure, but I've also been really surprised at how much the shoulder/profile impacts the perceived "fatness" of the neck, as some others have noted.
 

Trebor Renkluaf

I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse?
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,394
I'm glad I'm not the only one who uses calipers on necks! I'm fairly anal about neck shapes as I have small hands but like big necks which makes the shape very important. Too much meat on the shoulders can make a neck feel like a 2x4 in my hands.

I first became aware of this with a custom order Heritage. I wanted a neck deeper than I had found on Heritage at the time, so I measured my '59 Flame Top RI (a neck I really like) and sent them those specs. Well the guitar comes and then nailed the measurements but it felt like a freaking baseball bat up the neck! It was actually narrower at the 12th fret than my Les Paul, but felt wider due to the shoulders.

About two years back or so I visited the Tom Anderson Guitarworks to get the tour. I was interested in having a new (larger) neck made for one of my TAs as I find I tend to cramp up more on skinny necks. Tom was kind enough to let me play several different neck shapes. I was comparing my standard even taper to a +.03 oversize and +.05 oversize. Tom mentioned you wont feel much differnce bettwen the standard and the +.03 (he was right) but when you move up the the +.05, you'll start to feel it in the shoulders as they'll get chunkier (again we was right). I liked the depth of the +.05 oversize neck, but the shoulders of the +.03 oversize neck. I asked Tom if he could do this - after looking at me cross eyed (he did give me a funny look) he said. This has been my favorite TA neck shape ever since: Even taper, +.05, shoulders down slightly.
 

Trebor Renkluaf

I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse?
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,394
does shoulder mean shape? I know it doesnt directly but indirectly should=shape???
Shoulder is the side of the neck as it falls off of the edge of the fingerboard and progresses towards the back of the neck. U and D shape necks have the broadest shoulders, then C shape, then soft V and then hard V. Of course there are a million variations, but this gives you the idea. For instance, older Gibsons (and many of the RIs) have subtle different shapes. Some are a nice rounded C shape up the neck (which I like) others get chunkier and are more of a D shape up the neck (which someone with big mits might like).

This gives you and idea:

If those necks were all made with the same dimmensions (width, depth, fingerbaord radius, etc.) they would feel radically different because of the shape.
 

cap217

Member
Messages
3,227
Shoulder is the side of the neck as it falls off of the edge of the fingerboard and progresses towards the back of the neck. U and D shape necks have the broadest shoulders, then C shape, then soft V and then hard V. Of course there are a million variations, but this gives you the idea. For instance, older Gibsons (and many of the RIs) have subtle different shapes. Some are a nice rounded C shape up the neck (which I like) others get chunkier and are more of a D shape up the neck (which someone with big mits might like).

This gives you and idea:

If those necks were all made with the same dimmensions (width, depth, fingerbaord radius, etc.) they would feel radically different because of the shape.

What I was trying to get at was this point....

Assume all necks I am talking about are the same. Lets say .90 at the 1st and .90 at the 12th:

a C-Shaped neck is the standard, then add more shoulder and now you get into a C/D. Now add more shoulder and now you have a full D. Now add more and you get into a U shaped.

Correct? So shoulder=shape.
 

phillygtr

Member
Messages
4,459
Anyone have these measurements on the Fender Modern C shape? I have a 2007 Fender HWY1 tele and am curious about the thickness.
 

kirkham13

Member
Messages
627
I like a slim D shape... I wonder how that would translate to an Anderson...I think it has been said none of their standard necks have a D shape, ie a flat back.
 

rockonomics

Member
Messages
516
I have two USACG necks. One is mahogany/rw and the other is maple/rw. Both are 24.75" conversion necks with 1.65 nut width, 12" radius, .860 assymetrical profile and 6130 frets. Even though these necks are made on a CNC, they feel slightly different. It isn't just the wood difference, they're slightly, well, different.
 

Devin

Low Voltage
Messages
3,779
its amazing how small the difference .1" is visually compared to the physical feel in hand. I had a 1" tele neck (fatback) could not deal with it. my favorite strat neck is .890 at the first but with a soft V instead of a C.
 

cap217

Member
Messages
3,227
Justvto bump this and ask a question....

What were vintage nut widths for fenders? 1 5/8? I ask because a lot varied and were wider like 11/16.
 

Devin

Low Voltage
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3,779
most pre cbs were 1 5/8 though there was some variation. The 1 11/16 size did occur but is generally considered rare. Im sure there are others here with more detailed answers.
 

FiestaRed869

Member
Messages
1,990
If your talking about the CV strat the 50/60 is fenders modern C, should be the same as an American standard. The CV teles have a different nut so string spacing is differnr which changes rhe feel DRASTICALLY ! it feels like a toy neck
 

LarryOM

Guest
Messages
723
I have two USACG necks. One is mahogany/rw and the other is maple/rw. Both are 24.75" conversion necks with 1.65 nut width, 12" radius, .860 assymetrical profile and 6130 frets. Even though these necks are made on a CNC, they feel slightly different. It isn't just the wood difference, they're slightly, well, different.
That may be due to the finish sanding they do by hand.
 




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