neck size & shape = tone?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by royd, Oct 30, 2005.


  1. royd

    royd Member

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    What thoughts do you all have regarding the impact neck size and shape has on sound if any? ie does a thin C sound different from a big fat U? And if so, how? Boat vs. tight V? etc...
     
  2. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't think I bought it years ago but I now do think that the mass in the neck has an effect on tone. For my own personal taste/ in my own experience, the bigger necks seem to have great tone (not that all big necks do, or that smaller necks don't) more often. Any generality is suspect but some of my big necked guits bear this out. YMMV of course.
     
  3. DigitalTube

    DigitalTube Member

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    One of my custom made guitars has a very fat neck, actually it was the size of a classical guitar, I had it shaved a bit, but still very fat neck, it sustains much more than any guitar I've ever played.. but I have small fingers, and the hand gets tired if I play it for a long time.
    From my expericence fat/thick necks sustain alot more.

    E.B.
     
  4. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I've played some not-so-thick necked guitars that happened to sound great, but if I had to generalize (or if I was custom ordering), I prefer the tone of thick-necked guitars.
     
  5. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    I think it would be very difficult to determine what effect the neck geometry has on tone without having two identical guitars to compare, differing only in the neck geometry. There are too many other factors that affect tone to judge by two different guitars with different necks. Even two guitars of the same make & model can have some differences.

    That being said, I would think that there would be some effect on sound, tone, or sustain since the neck is the reciprocal side of the vibrating string(s).
     
  6. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    The one you don't have and /or is harder to play always sounds better. :(
     
  7. cnardone

    cnardone Supporting Member

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    When I had my Chapin built, Bill would only go so thin. I believe it was for both sound and stability. So I believe believe that the neck thickness has an effect on sound.

    Bill and I believe Suhr, also believe that a double action truss rod and or any other internal neck stiffening (ala Carbon fiber) effect the sound of the guitar as well.

    cmn
     
  8. DigitalTube

    DigitalTube Member

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    Yes, in my case my best sounding guitar, is the hardest one to play, so I use it for gigs, but use others to practice.
    E.B.
     
  9. george4908

    george4908 Member

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    After many years and many guitars, I've come to believe that, in general, a fatter necks rings more and sustains better, assuming you're using wood of equal quality.
     
  10. Mark Ray

    Mark Ray We're Jammin' Gold Supporting Member

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    BRING ON THE BEEF!

    :dude :dude
     
  11. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    There's still seems to be a lot of debate about this ...

    The Carvin Fatboy's neck is enormous...
    Apparently Holdsworth prefers a huge neck
    when using extremely light strings...
    (not to mention his hands are huge...)
     
  12. Serious Poo

    Serious Poo Armchair Rocket Scientist Graffiti Existentialist Gold Supporting Member

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    FWIW, I can hear a difference. To my ears, thinner necked guitars tend to have less mid-range resonance than thicker necks. While I've found that this can work extremely well for clean rhythm parts and 80's metal sounds, I prefer my lead tones to have more mid-range resonance. Nearly all of my guitars now have wide fat necks for exactly this reason.

    /Your mileage may vary, batteries not included, some assembly required, etc...
     
  13. nickreynolds

    nickreynolds Member

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    I have a big fat 50s style soft V on my allparts strat and it sounds like a piano...
     
  14. michael30

    michael30 Gold Supporting Member

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    A guitar with a fat neck and a light-weight body will usually sound good.
     
  15. jezzzz2003

    jezzzz2003 Member

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    I have a custom shop strat with a "V" neck which is quite fat,

    There s no doubt that fatter necks sound bigger and sustain more.

    Think about it..
    A regular "C" shape neck is quite thin, same goes for Ibanez, Jackson, ESP etc etc.

    Thinner timbers when combined with a mute {your hand} will scientifically sustain less than a thicker conductant.

    The Custom sounds amazing.
     
  16. enharmonic

    enharmonic Old Growth Gold Supporting Member

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    Big neck = big tone. ;)
     
  17. WordMan

    WordMan Member

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    I happen to agree with the majority of posters so far - bigger neck, especially with a substantial, well-done, tight neck joint and a light, resonant body (oh, and lower-output pickups that let the wood lead the tone) = great tone. My 1973 '54 Custom Reissue and '57 LP Special bear this out for me.

    Having said that - boy, do I wish we had this type of message board in the late 70's and early 80's. What would guys like us have been saying in that era of neck-through-body designs, brass sustain blocks, high-output, super-distortion pickups, thin, super-fast necks - let alone removing tone controls, locking trem's, etc?

    I have to believe that there would be a thread just like this, arguing that those types of features - essentially the opposite of what we are saying here - are they keys to great tone...

    I don't mean to imply we are sheep - I think it is more that one or two artists are able to get a great tone out of a certain combination of features and we want the same type of tone and look to replicate that combination - but don't have access to the same combo that those one or two artists do.

    Okay - now having said that - I return to my initial comment, and do believe that bigger necks are more likely to provide a richer, woodier tone...
     
  18. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    Too many other factors involved to actually say that neck thickness makes much of a tonal difference. IMO a "good" peice of wood, no matter what thickness, would make a bigger difference. However, having said that, each guitar should be judged on its own merits for tone and feel as two guitars of the exact same model & specs can sound quite different.
     
  19. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

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    Too thin can be a problem I think, but to say that more mass = more signal= better tone...not so sure. To me great tone is about proportions...so for all you know that huge neck is making a ton of sound but-the wrong blend of frequencies. Or not I guess...

    First I'm interested in how an instrument sounds, followed quickly by how it plays. After that I'll take the time to say "it sounds great because of X" But making a statement like "big necks sound better" isn't such an absolute as some folks would have you think...just like light guitar bodies. Seems like folks want something quantifiable to attribute tone to, but honestly I feel like it's a very complex equation.

    That said I like necks with some meat to 'em, but I can get used to just about anything.

    It's not the tools- it's the carpenter.


    jack
     
  20. BIGGERSTAFF

    BIGGERSTAFF Member

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    I'm a firm believer in neck mass. Thin necks just don't have the ballsy tone that a thicker neck provides. The stiffness of the neck plays a big role too(i.e. the graphite rods, or whatever else is used). There's a balance though, because if the neck is too stiff, the tone may be too bright or strident. The trick is to get the neck stiff enough so that it's stable, but not so stiff that you raise the resonant pitch too high.
     

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