Hey Guys,

Got a beautiful Taylor 414ce for a great price the other day. Played it for a little bit before purchasing, but now I've realized something. The neck is so thick. I thought I'd love it, but I'm feeling some sort of pain in my hand from my thumb down to my wrist. It's not unbearable, just a little uncomfortable and it obviously hurts a little more the more I play it. I'm wondering if anyone else has had an issue like this but adjusted to it? Is there anything I can have adjusted on the guitar?

Just wondering for some input here, sorry if I sound like an idiot!

Well, when you change the plane or distance of motion with any type of exercise, there's bound to be some discomfort. Grabbing a guitar neck in a different way is no exception.

Oddly though, you must be used to electrics exclusively, since Taylor is sort of notorious for slim, (in the acoustic realm) necks.

I think what you're describing is "joint shock" (my personal description), where I believe the cartilage between your thumb is being compressed from squeezing, (too hard, possibly?).

In any event, you'll likely get acclimated to the guitar.

Things you can try first. Do a setup!. While Taylor likes to claim their bolt-on necks make shaving the saddle obsolete, (IMHO), Taylor is full of shit. The bolt-on neck's shims are more for rough adjustment, as when it's time to reset the neck. The shims do no good, making adjustments from side to side, as in lowering the bass strings, while leaving the trebles and the same height.

A similar thing happens to me if I lay off for a while. I get pain in my knuckles from the side to side shock of strumming. We're all different, I suppose. Then the other day, I tried to squeeze something between my thumb and index finger and pain shot up my arm. (I was trying to use those two in a "different plane of motion", and didn't realize how stressed my hand was , from attempting too much 12 string. Oh well, it's like they say, "you gotta suffer to play the blues", as it were.

So, check your setup. You could also string the guitar a bit lighter, until your hand toughens up a bit. I don't think you'll find anything too much thinner in the way of acoustic necks.

You know, some Ibanez "Prestige" (I think prestige), models have necks so thin, some players complain that they make your hands tired.

This is a very similar issue to auto vs truck steering wheels. Cars tend to have thin rims, while trucks have fat ones. Ostensibly, the fatter steering wheel rims are to prevent hand fatigue on long hauls!

So, set up the guitar, string it lighter, bear with it until you get used to it. That's all I got.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Aug 26, 2016,
OP: I suggest you sell the Taylor to me, at a heavy loss. Best not to take chances with your health.

Regarding Cranky's knuckle pain: probably it's more related to extreme old age than guitar technique....

Do Taylor really claim that their shims eliminate the need for saddle adjustments? I wouldn't have thought they would try and stretch it that far. As you say, they eliminate expensive resets, not saddle adjustments.

Guitarxlife, your problem is interesting, because Taylor first got their toehold in the market, in the face of savage competition, but using a neck that appealed to electric guitarists. As CC says, do a set up - but make sure that the neck relief is right before you do the measuring and saddle adjustments. FWIW, I use 4/64" body fret, treble side, and 6/64"bass side
Quote by Tony Done
..[ ]...Do Taylor really claim that their shims eliminate the need for saddle adjustments? I wouldn't have thought they would try and stretch it that far. As you say, they eliminate expensive resets, not saddle adjustments.
I seem to keep running into people who believe that you don't need to sand Taylor saddles, you shim the neck. Perhaps they're uninformed, brainwashed, or plain old naive.Or never actually tried to set up a Taylor.

This brings us back to the Ovation bolt on neck issue. I had a sneaking suspicion that Ovation would be using bolt-ons, simply by virtue of the difficulty associated with gluing dissimilar materials. The first video I found about resetting an "O" neck, sure enough, there it was, a bolt on neck.

What fascinated me was, Ovation never pitched it as a feature, it was just sorta the way they did shit. It does make sense. You built platens into the bowl, drill two holes, and with matching holes in the neck, you're there. Look ma, no clamps.

Ovation had the whole, "lookie thar, a plastic geetar", paradigm to contend with. Let alone float that, combined with the bolt on neck concept to contend with.

The only hurdle Taylor had to get past from a marketing standpoint was the common assumption that bolt on necks don't sustain as well as ones which are glued on.

I don't know how far they carried that sales pitch, but people seem to have assimilated the belief that shimming is the only way to set one up.

OK, keep in mind I don't know if all Ovations are bolt on necks. I am making a few suppositions I can't prove. So, fact check me if you must. Although I do find it difficult to believe the one I found was a, "one in a million lucky guess".
Last edited by Captaincranky at Aug 26, 2016,

I don't suppose you have a link to the Ovation bolt-on? It is the first I've heard of it, and such things interest me.

Meanwhile, I'll do a little Google research.

I'm surprised how many folks still think that glue will make a better acoustic joint than bolts - provided they are done properly of course. I might have mentioned before that the tone of my Bourgeois went badly off a couple of months ago. Half a turn on each of the neck bolts fixed it.
I always liked Ovation's necks, I just hate that damn bowl. Always wants to slide out of my lap.