#1
Hi guys, I'm a fairly new player and am in the process of exploring different neck styles and shapes to find what I like most but I wanted to get some input from experienced players about the width of necks and how it might affect play.

I have medium sized hands with average sized fingers and I'm most interested in rock, metal, and lead guitar type playing. I'm comfortable with all 5 shapes of the pentatonic scale and can move throughout them across the roots, though I'm not very fast yet.

I do realize that at the end of the day, neck shape and width really come down to personal preference and feel, but I'm curious if there are any reasons that would make one more preferable than the other for the style that I am learning. What do you guys think?
#2
Nope, it really is all about preference. Almost every style of music and playing is played on just about every style of guitar so above all else what you want to be accounting for is how it feels in your hands.
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#3
I figured as much, I guess I was just getting caught up with some things I've read about wider boards being less prone to errors due to the extra string spacing and therefore easier to play on.
Conversely though I've read about the narrow boards while they might require more accuracy, they do provide for more speed because the strings are closer.

Is there any truth there or does that still just come down to personal preference?
#4
Not so much. The reason a lot of shredders love thin necks is because there is less contact with the palm, and therefore less friction, which facilitates fast playing. However, the neck doesn't make as big of a difference as some think it does. So yeah, personal preference. But the finish on the back of the neck (satin vs gloss) makes a much more tangible difference.
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#5
i have 4 electrics all with different neck shapes, widths and 3 out of 4 have different fretboard material. you get used to it. none really offer any true advantage. all about comfort which you will have to determine.
#7
Wide necks are ok, I prefer narrow. Thick, from strings to back where my palm is, no way. I Have to have a thin neck, which is why I can't play most Les Pauls. A thick neck will have my hand and wrist hurting in 15 minutes.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#8
I've found a guitar that I really like but it has a wide fat neck (PRS). I love the guitar but the width of the neck feels like I'm playing on a 2x4. I miss the strings a lot on it. I have a cheap squire strat and epi les paul which I have no problems with. I didn't think the extra little bit of neck width would make that big of a difference, but I've not been able to get used to it. It's a friend who's selling it so I'm able to play it a lot, but so far it's been pretty frustrating.
#9
That's what I was referring to. Feels like a baseball bat. CAn't play it, I Have to have something thinner. Wide, top to bottom as you're playing it, is not that big a problem, but fat too won't work. I prefer thinner both ways...

If it's uncomfortable, don't get it. I usually have to play one twice, about 20 minutes or so each time, to make up my mind. If it's too fat I know in 30 seconds...
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#10
I've played it more than a handful of times and even after a half hour or more I still miss strings with both hands. I wouldn't say it's super uncomfortable to play, I just can't play it if that makes any sense. The vertical thickness doesn't bother me and I don't notice much of a difference since my thumb typically rests on the middle or even forward a bit.
#11
Yep, makes sense. That's what I was getting at above. I just can't play a fat neck. I don't have any trouble hitting the notes I want, it just hurts my hand.

I'd say if you've played it and still have trouble after a half hour it's probably not a good idea to get that one. Pass it by and keep looking. I would...
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#12
Many of the guys over at the Acoustic Guitar Forum seem to be very, very sensitive about neck width, especially the fingerstyle players.
Others, not so much. I've never payed all that much attention. I learned to fingerpick on a standard "dread", and now play fingerstyle jazz on a semi-hollow electric that certainly does not have a wide neck.
I bought a classical guitar for this purpose, but the very wide classical neck, coupled with the guitar's (a Takamine) rather chunky neck profile...Didn't work for me.
#13
It appears that I have a different problem. I have a number of electric guitars mainly Fenders and Gibsons of which I really love the neck on my Gibson ES355 except that it's neck as well as all of the others measure about 1 5/8 "(43mm) across the nut. Is there a quality preferably known brand guitar that has a nut width of 1 3/4"(45mm). I have virtually given up playing my Rickenbacker 330 twelve string as I have great difficulty playing it.
I have read that with practice I will get used to the narrow neck but after 40 years of playing I'm still not that comfortable with those narrow necks.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
#14
Quote by Michael Breeman
It appears that I have a different problem. I have a number of electric guitars mainly Fenders and Gibsons of which I really love the neck on my Gibson ES355 except that it's neck as well as all of the others measure about 1 5/8 "(43mm) across the nut. Is there a quality preferably known brand guitar that has a nut width of 1 3/4"(45mm). I have virtually given up playing my Rickenbacker 330 twelve string as I have great difficulty playing it.
I have read that with practice I will get used to the narrow neck but after 40 years of playing I'm still not that comfortable with those narrow necks.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.



You could get a guitar with a bolt-on neck and replace the neck with a wider one from Warmoth or USA Custom. If you've been playing that long I'm guessing that you woud mind spending on something that you won't recover on resale. - Though you could always keep the old neck, and reuse or sell the wider one separately.
#15
I've found that asymetrical necks (ie Les Paul Standards) are a fairly nice compromise between the two.

Maybe it's just me but, I find chording to be easier on beefier necks, while I have more control with solo-ing, sweeping, & bass lines on thinner necks
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