Benefit of a big neck?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by GlowingTubes84, Nov 14, 2020.

  1. Kimex

    Kimex Strat-Talk Member Silver Member

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    I have two techniques I can switch between. None of them I master well
    For strat modern C i use my thumb. For classic guitar, I keep my thumb under the neck. Even with chords.
    I have more than 20 guitars, three basses, two ukuleler all with different necks.

    That's not an issue for me.

    I prefer the guitar where I can find a good tone and which inspires me.

    My first impression I preferred thin neck. I have a Tanglewood with a thin neck. And my newer Gibson felt a bit tough to play. But now I always play the Gibson guitar. And I feel no problems
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2020
  2. gretev

    gretev Strat-O-Master

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    Honestly, in my opinion the variable that matters most is comfort/preference. The mind can go a long way in convincing you what feels good or not. For example many people will convince themselves that they can „shred“ faster on a thin neck. Many people will proclaim that a fat neck rings louder and has more sustain. Yet, wether or not any of these ideas are actually true and to what degree they are true I think will come down to perspective. What matters is your perspective. If you feel better playing a thin neck and for whatever reason this resonates with your feelings you should play a thin neck or apply the same to fat necks. The longer I play the more I can get used to different guitars with different necks. Every guitar has a different „mojo“. I love fat necks and have big hands but some of my favorite guitars have thin necks. The only scientific/physical benefit of a fat neck is they tend to be sturdier and less likely to break. Yet a harder piece of thin wood might be just as sturdy as a soft piece of thicker wood. Then the question remains; how sturdy should a guitar neck really be? You won‘t use it for baseball. I think most of it comes down to the placebo effect and your personal psychology. So choose a neck that feels good to you and you will convince your mind that it is the right one.
     
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  3. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Most Honored Senior Member

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    I've got a collection of guitars that run the gamut from Ibanez thin to ball-bat thick - I have long fingers (one comment on a YT video of mine said my fingers were so long that I could pick my nose while playing; ) I also have a double-jointed thumb on my left hand, so between the two if I had to choose I would lean toward a thicker neck. With thin necks it feels like there is nothing to grab onto, and barre chords become painful pretty quickly - especially with the double joint thing.
     
  4. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Strat-O-Master Silver Member

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  5. Johnlads

    Johnlads New Member!

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    I've always gravitated to smaller C-shaped necks due to my small hands; and they've always felt comfortable. Two weeks ago I got one of those new Epiphone '59 Ltd Edition Les Paul's which has a really beefy neck. It took me a couple of days, but now I actually prefer the feel of it and I've been playing guitar for 39 years. Not only are my hands now used to it, I feel like the tuning stability is better.
     
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  6. marknix

    marknix New Member!

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    Big neck, big deck. ;-) Haha!!
     
  7. Srini

    Srini Strat-Talk Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Oddly enough, I have relatively small hands (no tiny hands jokes, haha!), but for years I've played USACG guitars with C-carve fatback necks (1" deep the whole way). I find them to be incredibly comfortable, I think, because the neck completely fills up my hand leaving no gaps, if at all. I personally find I can play them longer without cramping up. At the moment, I'm in India waiting to return some time in January (covid permitting), where I have an Epiphone ES-339 to play. It has a very thin D-carve neck which I find extremely tiring to play - very counter-intuitive indeed.

    There is, of course the added benefit of stability with bigger necks; and some say bigger tone as well, although I'm not completely convinced of that. My sense is that much of the comfort of a neck is also due to the carve. I'm having trouble feeling at home with the shoulders of a D-carve, and much prefer a nice, uniform C-carve.

    Srini
     
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  8. Guitarzan5150

    Guitarzan5150 Strat-Talk Member

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    For me, it's not so much fat as it is shape. I like something that's nice and round. I used to have a Jackson back in the day and remember enjoying it quite a bit. I had been playing Les Pauls mostly since then and had found a decent deal on a used Jackson. I figured, why not for nostalgia sake. I couldn't get rid of it fast enough. Can't do the thin/flat neck anymore. My two favorite necks I've ever played are a Wolfgang, small'ish but nice and round and my American Special Tele.
     
  9. bluesguy62

    bluesguy62 Strat-Talk Member

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    My favorite neck is the nice fat "50s Rounded" one on the 2014 Gibson LPJ I used to own. Next to that would be the mid-'60s "C" profile neck on my Cray Strat. Fat necks just feel more comfortable to me.
     
  10. ntscbars4262

    ntscbars4262 New Member!

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    I have hands that are on the bigger side but I actually prefer a thin neck, as thin as I can get. This is probably because I learned to play back in the seventies on an Ibanez professional which has a very thin and very narrow neck. Since then I’ve always leaned toward thinner necks. In fact, several years ago I decided to look at possibly buying a Paul Reed Smith guitar. I didn’t know much about them so I ran to guitar center in San Jose’ CA. to try one out. It had a “wide thick” neck profile. Earlier someone posted about the neck on a classical guitar and that is what the PRS I tried out felt like to me, a classical guitar with round wound steel strings on it. To be honest I hated it.
    I gave it back to the guy at GC and he must have been able to read it on my face because he said “neck too thick for ya”? I said “yeah” then he said “hang on, I zone with a much thinner neck for you to try”.
    He went and grabbed a custom 24 with a thin neck carve on it. As soon as I played the first chord I fell in love it was awesome and I bought it on the spot after several minutes of bonding with it of course. So for me thin, thin, thin.
     
  11. TheGASIsReal

    TheGASIsReal Strat-Talk Member

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    It has an effect on the tone, and it's comfortable when playing with your thumb over the neck.
     
  12. Isca

    Isca Strat-Talker

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    I reckon neck thickness is one of THE most important factors for me in whether I enjoy an instrument or not. For 20 years, many guitars have come and gone but my main guitars have invariably been a pair of late 90s Teles with very thin, fast necks. My main bass has always been a Jazz, just an old MIM job, also very thin and fast. I still have a nice Les Paul that I love the sound of, but rarely pick out because of its round, fat neck. Once upon a time I owned a Musicman Stingray that I loved the sound and look of, but felt uncomfortable actually playing because it felt like holding the fat end of a baseball bat. I kept my cheapy MIM Jazz because it is just so much more comfy for me. My hands are kinda square, relatively wide with proportionately shorter fingers. I guess what works for an individual comes down to a combination of the relative length of your fingers, palm etc along with the way you hold the neck.
     
  13. roneysam

    roneysam Strat-Talker

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    I like bigger necks for 2 reasons. First, the palms of my hands are huge... like catchers' mits. Filling in the space more behind the fretboard with a larger back curve creates less stress on the tendons in my wrist when I play, so the comfort allows me to play longer without my grip getting tired. You might not have considered it, but depending on the size or proportions of your hand, your wizard neck may very likely fit your palm size about the same as my .90-1.0 tele neck fits mine. As for being "a sign of virility" as the other guy commented, IDK, but there is that old saying about big hands... I hear Marco Rubio digs wizard necks too;).
    Second, they affect tone and the "feel". Thicker necks resonate so that the strings vibrate longer for more sustain. The way they resonate with a Fender gives the tone a huskier, throatier quality, which seems to involve better low end resonance and a sweetened top end. Newer teles with thinner "modern C" back curves, for instance, tend to sound thinner and often harsher on the top end than vintage and replica versions with thicker necks. Try the bridge pickup on a tele with a deep 50's U neck through a cranked vintage or RI Tweed Bassman some time. Or a blackface deluxe reverb. Or a JTM45. You'll get tones that thin necks just don't do with any type pickup.
    If you're into mostly ultra high gain shredder stuff, none of those tonal differences may be apparent to you because such subtleties are moot beyond a certain level of gain. People whose main body of experience lies in that area may consider all of the tonal aspect hogwash and say that nothing beyond the pickups affects tone. I'm not trying to get that tired debate rehashed here. Strictly from their perspective and parameters of application, they're probably right, but wood makes a huge difference in more traditional classic rock, blues, roots, or country music oriented applications.
    I don't always go for the thickest neck that'll fit in my palm, but I never like necks so thin that they are uncomfortable to me, like wizardish thin. I don't even like Fender's current Modern C standard. I do range from really thick maple necks to comparatively thinner fender mid 60's C(still somewhat thicker than modern C), such as is on Fender's American Original series 60's models, which is similar to 65/66 Fender necks. Within that range of thickness, my preference depends on the tone I'm going for.
     
  14. Bonefixr

    Bonefixr New Member!

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    Guitar necks are like wine and liquor, your hands, your feel, your neck of choice.
     
  15. afireinside

    afireinside Strat-Talker

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    I started with a 1992 Ibanez RG770 (Still have it) loved it. Had a ton of 80s and 90s Ibanezes over the years. Eventually bought a 60s Gibson, felt even better! Then progressed to 50s Gibsons EVEN BETTER! Now if i go back to a slimmer fender neck/ibanez's my hand cramps almost immediately while playing.

    So back to my bigger G&Ls, Gibson 50s necks. I will always keep the RG770 for nostalgic reasons since i sold it and was able to track the owner down and buybit back one time.
     
  16. errikwong

    errikwong Strat-Talker

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    So far my preference for necks falls firmly in the “chunky” range, even though I have no problems with the 60s-esque Gibson neck profiles on the Nighthawk and Les Paul Standard, both from 1996.

    I definitely cannot handle the tiny necks on modern Squiers; they make my hands cramp up. The Epiphone D and Fender modern C are tied for 2nd least favourite. Never attempted to get along with wizard necks.

    Lastly, it seems like i actually enjoy the MIA and MIJ Charvel neck profiles. The MIM stuff is pretty much a shallow D.
     
  17. Engine Swap

    Engine Swap Strat-Talker

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    Lately, I've been playing my LP Special clone which has a fairly chunky neck. At first, it always feels too thick compared to a strat, but after 10 minutes I adjust. It feels comfy, but I wonder how much of a role the shorter scale and lower tension play. It also has medium-jumbo frets vs. the strat with jumbos. I do like how substantial the LP neck feels, seems to resonate more - maybe because it's a set neck. Probably multiple factors beyond thickness at work here.
     
  18. Scott Baxendale

    Scott Baxendale Strat-O-Master Gold Supporting Member

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    Big neck, big whammy.
     
  19. kjatexas

    kjatexas Strat-Talk Member

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    I generally like the old American Standard, modern C, neck on my Fenders, and the slim '60s on Gibsons. I have guitars with fatter necks, and the only plus to these, is it is easier to do hand vibrato, on them, at least for me.
     
  20. kilroy

    kilroy New Member!

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    I learned to play on a Les Paul copy, then bought a real one and played it for many years, so that's the type of neck I grew used to (still have that LP). I now have a Jeff Beck Strat with a Modern C, a Prestige with a Wizard, and a Godin Freeway, whose neck is most similar to the LP. I've gotten used to the modern C, and absolutely love the tone, but I still feel like I'm holding a baseball bat. The wizard neck is fast and sleek, but the Godin is actually my favorite to play.