#1
Hello

I'm a hobbyist guitar player with some education in classic guitar and violin. Up to now I've played acoustically (nylon and steel strings) and I want to buy my first electric guitar.

I have big hands and I'm rather tall (1.90). I play finger style and I want to keep playing finger style as much as possible, even on electric. I've tried some guitars extensively (even a PRS, which goes as being quite wide) and I've found their width at nut frustratingly narrow. I can't play an A major properly - I don't have enough space.

So, I want a rather cheap, decent electric guitar with wide nut. By "wide nut" I mean at least 45 mm - 47mm (1 7/8) would be perfect.
I know Warmoth are doing some great customizable stuff, but they're out of my league.
I also know Brian May guitars are wide at nut (45 mm) but they are rather expensive for me and they have a short neck (24 inch). I'd feel more comfortable with the longer Strat neck (25.5).

So, I've narrowed down my choices to:
http://www.biglouguitar.com/ - Big LOu's Stratocaster (called Cobra) - 319 $.
http://zarleywideneckguitars.com/electric-guitars-category/zarley-player-series-electric-guitar/zarley-player-series-st101bkw.html - Zarley Stratocaster (called Player) - 299 $.

Some questions for the members of this community:
1. Do I have alternative to these options, in the same price range (max 400 $/Euro)?
I'm from Romania, Europe, and the shipping is going to cost some more, so that's my upper limit for guitar alone.
2. Which of the two guitars you'd recommend?
I'm most interested in the quality of the neck (nut and fret work). Zarley have an all maple neck+fretboard, which tempts me - all others are maple neck+rosewood fretboard. I've seen various video reviews for the Big Lou, none for Zarley. There were some complains about the frets on the Big Lou (not Jumbo, buzzing) - I know nothing about Zarley.
3. The body of these strat guitars (Big Lou and Zarley) are the same as normal strats? I mean - can one change the pickguard with a preloaded pickguard without big hassle? Will the dimensions and holes fit?

Additional info that might be relevant: I want to play classic rock, alternative, classic metal, blues & basic jazz. I'm a big fan of Dire Streets, Smashing Pumpkins, Led Zep and Queen - I'm expecting them to be the most significant part of my repertoire. I'd like to play some classic metal as well.
I want a strat because I noticed that there are these prewired strat pickguards widely available, and I dream of getting a Billy Corgan prewired pickguard at a point, after some progress.

Thanks a lot!
Last edited by buligas at Nov 27, 2013,
#2
Pickguard shouldn't be too much hassle. Actually, if you get a prewired pickguard like you want, you can just take the pickups and harness off and put them on the current pickguard. Looks like they would fit, though. If anything, you may have to snip the neck heel a bit on the new guard.
As far as the fretboard material, it's a lot of preference. People say the rosewood makes for a warmer tone and the maple is a little sharper.
With either guitar, you may need to get them set up when you get them. I can't imagine a sub $300 guitar not needing a setup. (I am a firm believer in this price range, though. Most of my guitars started out there)
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#3
There are several companies that make wider (at the nut) necks; Agile makes a "wide" version of quite a few of their guitars that features a 1 3/4" nut. Soloway Guitars makes a neck version they call the "fingerstyle" that starts with a 1 13/16ths" nut (about 46mm) and they maintain that extra 1/8" down to and including the bridge.

Ultimately, you're simply going to have to redo your technique a bit to learn how to accommodate the narrower necks you'll find on 99% of electrics.
#4
@dspellman
It's not only a matter of undoing my technique. I'd really like to integrate waht I've been trained in classic guitar into my electric playing. 1 3/4 is the PRS that I've tried and I find it rather narrow. But Jim Soloway was quite a finding, thank you! I've listened to his album as well, I've looked for him on youtube. He is really an inspiration, and his guitar as well. Sadly, his guitars are much beyond my budget, but 1 13/16 seems ok for me.
#5
Quote by buligas
@dspellman
It's not only a matter of undoing my technique. I'd really like to integrate waht I've been trained in classic guitar into my electric playing. 1 3/4 is the PRS that I've tried and I find it rather narrow. But Jim Soloway was quite a finding, thank you! I've listened to his album as well, I've looked for him on youtube. He is really an inspiration, and his guitar as well. Sadly, his guitars are much beyond my budget, but 1 13/16 seems ok for me.


you just need to adapt. you will be uncomfortable for a few days then you will be fine.

hate to be the one to say that.

i can go from a preistige wizard neck to a 50's gibson carve, to a strat with no issue.
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#6
Quote by buligas
I have big hands and I'm rather tall (1.90). I play finger style and I want to keep playing finger style as much as possible, even on electric. I've tried some guitars extensively (even a PRS, which goes as being quite wide) and I've found their width at nut frustratingly narrow. I can't play an A major properly - I don't have enough space.


Irrelevant. That makes you the same size as me and I get on with standard electrics perfectly well.

Quote by buligas
I'd really like to integrate waht I've been trained in classic guitar into my electric playing.


Unwise. Playing electric guitar is a very different physical and mental approach than playing classical guitar is. With electric guitar you'll want to concentrate more on pick hand muting so the notes don't ring together horribly with gain, you'll spend more time with your thumb over the top of the neck for the big rock vibrato, you'll be fretting less with your finger tips to enable fret hand muting again to help with the gain.

It's a completely different beast and being good at one certainly doesn't make you good at the other.

You're having trouble with thinner necks because you're not used to them. Practice more.
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#7
Zaph has it right, basically, but if you remain unconvinced, other options include:

1) buying a baritone
2) tracking down a Buckethead Les Paul
3) looking for a metal guitar- as in, made of metal- because some of them have necks that do not taper
4) buying a neck from Warmoth
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#8
Well, I persevered with playing on the borrowed PRS and it seems that I start coming to terms with the 1 3/4 size. But indeed it's an issue of approach, and here's the problem. I'd thought I'll be able, with my background, to be an autodidact in playing guitars. But it's not the case, and some lessons to get me acquainted with the technique and ergonomics of electric guitar might be more than welcome.

It's interesting, though, that nobody on this forum seems to use any of the guitars that I've pointed to, nor to recommend the wide nuts.
Thanks everybody for the input!
#9
Quote by buligas
It's interesting, though, that nobody on this forum seems to use any of the guitars that I've pointed to, nor to recommend the wide nuts.
Thanks everybody for the input!


They're very rare, no major production company makes a wide-nut guitar so most people will literally never see one.

It's not necessarily that they're not recommended, you're just trying to find a solution to a problem you have in the wrong place.
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#10
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
They're very rare, no major production company makes a wide-nut guitar so most people will literally never see one.


LTD/ESP's Will Adler signature is 1 3/4" at the nut. At least the LTD wa-600 and the ESP model are, don't know about the cheap one. I prefer my Agile Wide or would, if it weren't 10 lbs. and didn't play hell on my right shoulder that I broke in 3 places years ago (next guitar is going to be a used PRS SE Korina, damn the string spacing).

If you're looking for 1 7/8" guitars (being 6 foot 7, I know where you're coming from), then you'll have to deal with Warmoth or a custom shop. Sucks.