Affordable Strat with wider nut?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by GeorgeGilmour, Feb 22, 2021 at 9:37 AM.

  1. GeorgeGilmour

    GeorgeGilmour New Member!

    Age:
    58
    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Monday
    Location:
    The Mountainous West
    Greetings to all of you Strat Talkers! I am new here, and here's my first post. I've already gained some knowledge about Stratocasters from lurking here, but now I have a question that I could not find an answer to by searching threads, so here goes.

    I've only played guitar for about two and a half years, and have mostly played acoustic, but did get a low-end Gibson Les Paul "Special" sometime back. Well, recently a Squier Affinity Strat popped up on my local craigslist for 20 (yes, twenty) bucks. I snapped it up. Now here's the thing. I have loved messing around with this bargain strat, to the point that I'm wondering if maybe I'm a Fender guy, but it has a quite narrow nut, making me all fat-fingered. I have to be very careful to avoid the ol' "ding-ding-ding-thub-thub-ding" sort of effect on some chords. Maybe this will force me to improve my left hand accuracy?

    Anyhow, this has led me to do some still incomplete research (maybe one of you with more knowledge can weigh in and help me) that seems to say:

    Squier Affinity nut width: 1.6 inches.
    Most foreign-made strats (incl. Mexico), and older American ones: 1.65 in.
    More recent American strats: 1.685 in.

    This last spec, the more recent Americans at 1.685 puts the nut width right up there near Gibson Les Pauls (1.69, I think), and also closer to the acoustics I play. Hard to believe that less than 1/10 of an inch spread over six strings would make a noticeable difference, but it does. To me, anyway.

    I was having so much fun with this Squier Affinity strat that I've been thinking about selling it and getting a wider-nut strat. It would be great if there were such an animal as a Mexican (or other) relatively affordable strat with a 9.5 radius neck and wider nut width. Is there such a thing?

    I guess the other answer would be to just keep practicing with the Affinity until the narrowness ceases to be a problem. Maybe some of you have done exactly that. I imagine almost anything can be gotten used to (?).

    Thanks in advance for any feedback!

    TL/DR: Is there a Mexican (or other) relatively affordable strat with a 9.5 radius neck and wider than 1.65 inch nut width?
     
  2. jwj1701

    jwj1701 Strat-O-Master Silver Member

    Messages:
    698
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2012
    Location:
    Minneola Fl
    Like you i prefer the wider 1.65 nut. GC has 2 player models, I think they call them limited edition, that show spec of the USA size nut. They are shell pink and sea foam green. There was also a black with black guard maple neck that looked like Gilmore’s marked as 1.65 as well. If you got a GC near you go try them out and see if it feels the same compared to a USA model. I have tried them and they do feel wider but I’d put it in your hands first. If you browse the player models there are some specs for that width but I’d see how they feel to you first. Hope this helps
     
    FrieAsABird and GeorgeGilmour like this.
  3. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Silver Member

    Messages:
    4,209
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2014
    Location:
    Minnesota USA
    `
    The 2020 Fender Vintera 60s Strat neck I just got from The Stratosphere is listed as having a 1.65" nut width and feels nice and wide the way I like it. I'm also currently looking at a Fender American Original 60s Strat neck which has the 1.65" nut width as well.

    My 2020 Gibson SG Standard has a 1.69" (1.685"?) nut width and feels fairly similar.

    It's just a little over 1/32" difference, which isn't too much of a leap in my book...


    `
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021 at 11:02 AM
    Namelyguitar and GeorgeGilmour like this.
  4. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    45
    Messages:
    4,154
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2018
    Location:
    Murfreesboro, TN
    I'm in the same boat. For me, the difference between an Affinity (40.6mm/1.6") and the one on Squier SE, MIM standard, Squier Bullet and others (42mm/1.65") is significant--even though it's only a 1.4mm/.05" difference.

    It is my understanding that early Fenders had a letter stamped on the heel of the neck to indicate nut width:

    • A = 1½"
    • B = 1⅝"
    • C = 1¾"
    • D = 1⅞"
    It is my understanding that B (41.275mm) was the most common. My acoustic has a 1.75" nut so I guess it would be a C. My classical has a 2" nut, which I suppose would be an E. IDK whether Fender offers guitars with C & D necks anymore, but I will be watching to see if anybody knows a model. I'm guessing if you want wider you'll have to go with an aftermarket neck.
     
    GeorgeGilmour likes this.
  5. train

    train Strat-Talker Silver Member

    Messages:
    327
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2015
    Location:
    L.S.D. Chicago
    Warmouth - super wide 1-7/8 stainless steel frets
     
    StratMike10 and GeorgeGilmour like this.
  6. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar Silver Member

    Messages:
    6,638
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2018
    Location:
    North Central North Carolina
    I have similar trouble with narrow necks, @GeorgeGilmour. On my old Strat with a really narrow nut, I can't always finger a string on the low frets without contacting a neighboring string. It's not a matter of practicing for me, my fingertips are just too wide unless I play everything with my pinky and ring fingers.

    I found that a 1-3/4" nut width cures the problem without requiring too much readjustment going between my guitars. 1-3/4" is a standard option at Warmoth, and so far I have two necks of that width. The second one I bought is bare roasted maple with an Indian rosewood board and big stainless frets. It quickly became my favorite neck. It was about $250 + shipping, without the nut and tuners. Not needing a sprayed finish saved money, and I love the feel of the very smooth bare roasted maple.

    Here's that one:

    warmoth_squire_strat.jpg

    photo005.jpg
     
    GeorgeGilmour likes this.
  7. GeorgeGilmour

    GeorgeGilmour New Member!

    Age:
    58
    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Monday
    Location:
    The Mountainous West
    Thanks so much to everyone for your answers! I really appreciate all of your thoughtful responses.
    The Warmoth neck route could be the answer (BTW, that sea foam green strat body is absolutely gorgeous). I will check them out, although putting one of those on an Affinity might be a case of overkill-- too nice of a neck for such an inexpensive body. Plus, Affinities have skinnier bodies, I think, which could pose a problem.

    Maybe the answer is to just go with the 1.65. I visited one of our local guitar shops today. They carry Fenders and Squiers, and I checked out the CVs, Players, Vinteras, and maybe one of the Americans. The first three had 1.65 inch nut widths, and they seemed quite playable compared to the Affinity and I think I could make that work. I really liked the Player as compared to the CV due to the smooth back of the neck (no lacquer). The Players are going for $749, which is kind of high for someone with my limited skills, but worth saving up for, I think.

    Anyhow, thanks again for all the responses. You've been very helpful and welcoming to this noob. :)
     
    Triple Jim likes this.
  8. StummerJoe

    StummerJoe Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    48
    Messages:
    3,371
    Joined:
    May 10, 2020
    Location:
    Washington
    Welcome to the forum! You already have some good answers so I'll just skip to the part of - WE WANT PICS OF YOUR CURRENT GUITARS! (price of admission):)
     
    GeorgeGilmour likes this.
  9. Hudman_1

    Hudman_1 Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    51
    Messages:
    526
    Joined:
    May 12, 2018
    Location:
    Gibraltar Michigan
    I wish I could offer you some helpful info on Fender nut width. I never paid attention to the nut width specs. I go back and forth between my Gibson’s, Fender’s and acoustic with no noticeable difference between nut width. The guys on the acoustic forums stress non stop over nut width. I focus on neck thickness and profile. I find those two factors have the biggest impact on playing comfort. Nut width and radius are far less important to me.
     
    Stratoskater and GeorgeGilmour like this.
  10. EXTRABLUE

    EXTRABLUE Strat-Talker

    Age:
    74
    Messages:
    282
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2020
    Location:
    visalia ca
  11. stratocarlster

    stratocarlster Most Honored Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,386
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
    Location:
    Telephone Road
    It is a strange quirk of the Fender lineup that you have to buy an American Performer to get the 43mm nut.
     
    GeorgeGilmour likes this.
  12. 66musicmaster

    66musicmaster Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    54
    Messages:
    921
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Mount Airy, North Carolina

    Good luck finding a wide nut neck. I have same issue and concentrate on doing the best I can. My fingertips are all at least 3/4" wide, so making pretty cowboy chords can be a chore. My fingers are also not as long as a lot of better players. Like playing with vienna sausages. But you can do it with more practice. You learn to move your fingers around somewhat and compensate on things like A chords to use 2 fingers instead of 3.

    And please measure your body thickness. I'm not 100% sure on body thickness on those. I may have to look for an affinity just to be able to prove what the body thickness is. Or at least that's my excuse.;)

    Even so, a nice expensive neck can stay with you. Put it on the Affinity, play the crap out of it. Save the old neck. When you get ready to sell, put the Affinity neck back on and move your Warmoth to a new body.
     
    GeorgeGilmour likes this.
  13. jwj1701

    jwj1701 Strat-O-Master Silver Member

    Messages:
    698
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2012
    Location:
    Minneola Fl
    Or almost any American model.
     
    GeorgeGilmour and stratocarlster like this.
  14. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar Silver Member

    Messages:
    6,638
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2018
    Location:
    North Central North Carolina
    I figure that the neck is about 90% of the guitar. I liked the Bullet body, and despite the fact that I bought it for $40, I think it's totally worthy of the Warmoth neck.

    As far as the skinny body, the Bullet body is skinny. It measures 40mm, or about 1.57" thick. The neck went right on with no shim required, and the saddles are in good mid-adjustment settings. To me, a thin body is lighter and more comfortable than a full-thickness body.
     
    GeorgeGilmour likes this.
  15. GeorgeGilmour

    GeorgeGilmour New Member!

    Age:
    58
    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Monday
    Location:
    The Mountainous West
    I can't imagine anyone on this forum would be pumped to see my acoustics (?), but I promise to put up pics of my spindly stable of electrics in the next few days!
     
    StummerJoe likes this.
  16. GeorgeGilmour

    GeorgeGilmour New Member!

    Age:
    58
    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Monday
    Location:
    The Mountainous West
    Don't know why, but nut width is noticeable to me on acoustics. The 1.725 on my Gibson feels great to me, the 1.75 on my Larrivee is noticeably bigger, but still fine to play. I once looked at a used Gibson B25 that was 1 5/8, though, and that was too cramped for me.

    Once I decided to dabble in electrics, I first got a Les Paul (1.69) and it felt perfectly fine to me. Then I got a Harley Benton TE-52 (1.65) and it was noticeably narrower, but still fine to play once I got used to it. It was the Affinity Strat that got my attention-- somehow, that 1.6 is a bridge too far. :thumbd: I wish this didn't bother me, dang it.

    When you say neck profile, is that radius? Or does that refer to the shape of the back of the neck , like C or D or V? I should know this...
     
  17. GeorgeGilmour

    GeorgeGilmour New Member!

    Age:
    58
    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Monday
    Location:
    The Mountainous West
    It that can work, that's a great idea. The funny thing is that I really like the neck on this Affinity a lot. It feels great, and the back is smooth with no lacquer on it, and it's great for barring chords. Some cowboy chords give me trouble, though.

    I measured what look to be the thickest parts of the body (the thicknesses vary a lot here and there, as you know), namely the upper horn and also down by the output jack, and got a reading of 1.6755 inches. Don't know how that compares with a typical stratocaster body. I will check out Warmoth necks and see what they say about how thick the body needs to be. Hopefully it'll say something about that on their website.

    Thanks for the response. This might just be the ticket.
     
  18. GeorgeGilmour

    GeorgeGilmour New Member!

    Age:
    58
    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Monday
    Location:
    The Mountainous West
    This gives me hope! If I'm measuring the right place, this Affinity body is a skosh fatter than the Bullet. Awesome.
     
  19. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Fuzz Meister General

    Age:
    45
    Messages:
    9,045
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Location:
    Running with Scissors
    We love a acoustics too. We have a section of the forum just for them. I actually play my three acoustics triple the amount I play my electrics.
     
  20. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar Silver Member

    Messages:
    6,638
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2018
    Location:
    North Central North Carolina
    Just be aware that even a top quality custom neck will need some care installing the tuners, and it's not out of the question that a little shimming could be needed. I like to level the frets too. Of course that all applies to a Fender neck too.
     
    GeorgeGilmour likes this.