#1
Greetings, 

I'm looking to possibly upgrade my guitar, I own an Epiphone Les Paul. I love it. I think it sounds fantastic, but I'm still learning (took a ten year break). I'm focusing my playing on improvisation/lead getting around the fretboard quickly. I've gone to guitar center and played a few different types of guitars I'm amazed at how thin the guitar necks felt compared to my Les Paul.  It's tempting me to get something with a thinner neck. What are your thoughts on this? Is having that fatter neck hurting? helping? Is it worth getting something new? My budget is most likely no more than $600.

Thanks for any feedback!
#3
Quote by Will Lane
Get your Epi properly set up ($60ish USD) and see if you still feel the same way.

Sorry bit of a noob, but can you tell me what properly setup entails? I had it setup at the shop I bought it from back in 2002. So I guess its been a while.
#4
Quote by streetbl
Sorry bit of a noob, but can you tell me what properly setup entails? I had it setup at the shop I bought it from back in 2002. So I guess its been a while.
2002? Yes that is quite a while. A setup does a few things, you could look at it as making it play optimally. They adjust string height, get the neck straight, adjust intonation, etc.
#5
Quote by Will Lane
2002? Yes that is quite a while. A setup does a few things, you could look at it as making it play optimally. They adjust string height, get the neck straight, adjust intonation, etc.

I suppose I'll do that. Thanks, should i go do it myself, or local shop or guitar center? Guitar center scares me! I don't know a whole lot about Amps, but I did some research and went in to go buy one and the sales people were telling me all kinds of thing that were completely incorrect. Glad I did some research. 
#6
yes get your guitar set up first...
but there's nothing wrong with a thin neck. i love thin necks.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#7
Start with a good setup.  That alone can change everything. 

That being said, Traditional   Les Pauls and Strats are plagued with designs that benefit sound quality somewhat at the expense of playability. Many other types of guitars are much more playable.  If I compare my American Strat to my Silhouette Special from Musicman, the neck is huge and clunky in comparison - you can't play play as fast and furious on the Strat - plain and simple.  However, the Strat excels at open chords and the tone is big.  

The same applies to Gibsons - the neck is pretty awkward compared to a really ergonomic modern guitar like a Musicman Silhouette  etc.  However, you get that tone.  With  enough practice the differences in playability of respective professional guitars becomes largely irrelevant - it's not like Bonamassa and Slash are having difficulties flying all over the fretboard on their Les Pauls...
#8
Quote by reverb66
Start with a good setup.  That alone can change everything. 

That being said, Traditional   Les Pauls and Strats are plagued with designs that benefit sound quality somewhat at the expense of playability. Many other types of guitars are much more playable.  If I compare my American Strat to my Silhouette Special from Musicman, the neck is huge and clunky in comparison - you can't play play as fast and furious on the Strat - plain and simple.  However, the Strat excels at open chords and the tone is big.  

The same applies to Gibsons - the neck is pretty awkward compared to a really ergonomic modern guitar like a Musicman Silhouette  etc.  However, you get that tone.  With  enough practice the differences in playability of respective professional guitars becomes largely irrelevant - it's not like Bonamassa and Slash are having difficulties flying all over the fretboard on their Les Pauls...

Thanks for that input. I thought the same thing, specically about slash, he seems to be doing fine on a Les Paul.  I assumed it was a good thing to learn on a fatter neck as it would be easier to transition from that than starting on a smaller neck and going to a bigger neck. Anyway, I think I will get my guitar setup properly, although I'm so used to how it feels now that I'm kinda scared to change  anything lol! 
#9
My $.02 - neck thickness, neck profile, and fret size can dramatically effect how a guitar feels.  

A good setup can also affect how the guitar feels and how easy it is to play - especially the string action.  
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#10
streetbl Learn to master your specific instrument - if you practice on a Les Paul - you will tame it!  It isn't a good strategy to learn on one type of neck in order to get good on another type - practice the on the one you plan on using. 
#13
It's about preference but ultimately It doesn't make much difference. I have an Ibanez Jem which has a very thin flat neck, I often play my buddies Suhr Telecaster which has a very thick more vintage shaped neck and I can play equally well on both, infact I'd argue for a lot of rhythm stuff his neck feels nicer and for lead stuff it makes no difference at all, for me the frets themselves make more of a difference, in terms of size/height and the quality of the finish.

If you feel you prefer the thin neck then go for it, but I don't think it gives any particular advantage or disadvantage personally.. All about preference, no harm in owning a couple of guitars just to suit your current mood either. I personally bounce between a bunch of guitars and they all have very different neck shapes.
Cornford Hellcat
Peavey 5150
1994 Ibanez Jem 7V
#14
streetbl Get it setup by a professional. Try to go to a small independent shop if you can. They are far less intimidating and won't overcharge you.
#15
Tastes change over time.  I started out with very thin 60s SG necks and have since gravitated to more substantial Strat/Tele USA necks.  My heaviest/widest neck is a 55 LP Jr. and it is a tree trunk.  My SG and 335 have very thin necks with narrow nut that feels confining these days with my big fat fingers.  There is no right or wrong, just choose the one that feels best for your playing... or buy a dozen guitars so you have a little of everything.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#16
Gibsons have big fat necks, all the ones i've played. Thats not a bad thing at all. Try an ibanez wizard neck, they are sweet. Its all about finding a neck that feels right. No sense in saying fatter or thinner is better. Its also the radius and shape.
#17
I'm in the same boat as you OP.  I used to play a lot around 2000-2005.  In the past ten years I've probably picked up my guitar like 5 times a year but I'm trying to get back into it now.  I've played every day for the past week.  GOOD LUCK!

As for your question.  The 50's Les Paul neck is IMHO horrible, but the 60's neck is not bad.  I'm a Jackson guy mainly so I like my thin necks, though not Ibanez thin, but I don't have any issues on my Martin D-15 acoustic which is pretty fat. 
#18
I say get the LP set up and playing at it's best for sure. If you like the feel of the thinner necks then by all means get one but keep the LP if you can nothing wrong with having more than one guitar.
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

Come and be with me
Live my twisted dream
Pro devoted pledge
Time for primal concrete sledge

#19
We don't know which 2002 Les Paul the OP owns, so we can't assume that it's a fat 50's neck or a slim taper 60's style. If you're in the store and find necks that play better, that might be a good move anyway. For $600 and even much less, you can find some decent guitars. Yes, a set up might get you where you need to be, but it might not, and you won't get your $40-$60 investment back for trying it. Try some other Les Pauls and see if they feel like yours. Look up the specs on your model to see if you have a 50's or 60's style neck before you spend the $$ for a set up.

You can find Gibson Les Paul Tributes and faded Studios used in your price range if you want to stay with the Les Paul style. There are also Stratocasters that might fit your feel. As mentioned above, the Wizard II neck guitars from Ibanez are very popular. There are so many possibilities and no guitar can be left out of any genre.

Best of luck.
#20
Personally I love a thin neck. My early 90's USA Jackson's and late 80's USA Peavey's have some of the thinnest and flattest necks I've ever put my hands on it.  So much so that it even makes my ESP M-1 feel like a baseball bat if I immediately switch over to it from one of the aforementioned.  But after a couple minutes, i'm used to it enough.

Everyone is different in tastes and abilities.  I started out on Strats and LPs.  Once I found out about thinner necks, I never looked back.  They're just a joy to play for me.  

If you like your LP so much, but are itching for a thinner neck, check out the Epi LP Prophecy.  It has a 24 fret neck and is MUCH thinner.   
#21
Xander_X I prefer thin wide necks as well, Jackson is my favorite brand and their necks suit me just fine.

I have relativly short fingers so thick necks can be an issue, although I own a couple of guitars with thicker necks that are not as wide as say the Jackson or Ibanez wizard necks and they feel fine and cause no playablity issues for me.
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

Come and be with me
Live my twisted dream
Pro devoted pledge
Time for primal concrete sledge

#22
Evilnine  If you like thin but "wide", pick up a late 80's USA Peavey if you never have (Tracer, Destiny, Vandenberg, G-90), particular ones with a 24 fret neck.  They're all short scale with a 15" radius.  Very thin, flat, and wide-ish.  

The early 90's USA Jackson aren't known for wide necks.  My Fusion has a very thin and VERY narrow neck.  
#23
Quote by Xander_X
Evilnine  If you like thin but "wide", pick up a late 80's USA Peavey if you never have (Tracer, Destiny, Vandenberg, G-90), particular ones with a 24 fret neck.  They're all short scale with a 15" radius.  Very thin, flat, and wide-ish.  

The early 90's USA Jackson aren't known for wide necks.  My Fusion has a very thin and VERY narrow neck.  


I have a 93 MIJ King V and an 89 Charvel Fusion Custom I do not see a big difference in width between those and my later MIJ Jacksons. I have a friend that had and sold and now has another Peavey Tracer they are indeed great guitars and the Kahler Spyder is a damn good tremolo system. I have 15 guitars currently so I am trying to slow down buying any although I did recently aquire a an MIJ DK2M I didn'y need it but I just love the look of the black Jackson logo and black fret markers on the maple neck with the body in white, plus I got it cheap from a friend for $200 and a brass big block that I had sitting around.

I'd definately grab alate '80s Peavey if one was available when I wasn't broke.
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

Come and be with me
Live my twisted dream
Pro devoted pledge
Time for primal concrete sledge

#24
Evilnine having had many MIJ Jacksons as well, while build quality is still exceptional, the necks are much different in profile on, not ALL, but many of the USA models.

For instance, my MIJ Fusion Std, while stil thin and narrow in relativity to the vast majority of guitars on the market, might as well be a 2x4 compared to my USA Fusion.
#25
I found the neck on my schecter 7 a bit thick but manageable , but my playing style greatly improves using a more slimmer neck profile on my carvin dc727 especially for leads. Honestly a smaller neck make a big difference . 
#26
How the action is set up is also key as others have stated.  And as I mentioned above, my ESP has a thicker neck profile than my other guitars, but it's action is set so well that the change in neck profile doesn't effect my playing.  It has a VERY low action.  
#27
The neck is not going to make that much of difference in your playing.. not like your going to magically be able to shred by switching guitars.. it is more about feel and what ur used to.. if you want to change necks it's going to feel weird at first but you will get used to it.. you can shred on a les paul you've just gotta own ur les paul..
#28
Xander_X I had a used USA soloist in layaway at Guitar Center I did notice the difference in the neck and overall build quality it was a great player for sure the single coils had been swapped and the clear coat was lifting over the Jackson logo on the headstock, when I went to pay it off it was really bugging me about the clear coat on the headstock because it looked like crap. GC was really busy that day so I was walking around waiting to be waited on and ran across a Mesa Roadster 2X12 combo that was on clearence for $1100 brand new (list price $2600) with the full 5 year warranty in the end I walked out with the Mesa instead of the USA Jackson.
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

Come and be with me
Live my twisted dream
Pro devoted pledge
Time for primal concrete sledge

Last edited by Evilnine at Mar 30, 2017,
#29
Do you find the thinner necks more comfortable? If so, go for it. No reason fighting the instrument as you learn. God knows I've sold enough guitars because I didn't get along with the neck. 
Current Gear:
LTD MH-400
PRS SE Custom 24 (Suhr SSH+/SSV)
Ibanez RG3120 Prestige (Dimarzio Titans)
Squier Vintage Modified 70s Jazz V
Audient iD22 interface
Peavey Revalver 4, UAD Friedman BE100/DS40
Adam S3A monitors
Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
#30
Quote by metalmingee
My $.02 - neck thickness, neck profile, and fret size can dramatically effect how a guitar feels.  

A good setup can also affect how the guitar feels and how easy it is to play - especially the string action.  


I totally agree. I'd also add to that the observation that whether a feel is good or bad is a totally subjective thing. Personally, I like the "medium" feel of the necks on my Epiphone Dot and Dean Boca 12 string. But some guitarists I know and whose skills I respect swear by really, really thin necks. Others, who are equally skilled and respected, prefer a neck that's narrower but "chunky" like a baseball bat. So, I suggest testing several. I also believe that you'll discover that no matter what you play, the longer you play it the more you'll get used to it and the more comfortable it will feel to you.