Best neck you ever played?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by zammie, Sep 29, 2019.

  1. zammie

    zammie TDPRI Member

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    A word of wisdom has it that the guitar is mostly about the neck. Which makes sense since that is the part we touch the most. Apart from the strings, but I digress...

    With that in mind I went to a major guitar store in my neck of the woods while the wife went shopping. My goal was to try the most expensive guitars I could lay hands on and discover first hand (pun unintended) what I was missing with mega dollar guitars in terms of neck feel playability.

    To cut a long story short, I tried the following: Fender American Deluxe Tele, a Fender Custom Shop 70s strat (full specs unknown), Ibanez AZ224F Prestige and AZ2402 Premium, Suhr Classic T Pro, Suhr Classic Antique, Tom Anderson Icon Classic and Tom Anderson Classic T.

    My conclusions from my quick and dirty test was the Fender necks were pretty meh in my book, and the Ibanez AZs, Suhrs and Tom Anderson's were pretty special. These 3 all had roasted maple necks (lightest roast on the TAs), stainless steel frets, satin finishes and were about 95% similar to each other in my book. They felt great in the hand and super smooth to play. The action on the Suhrs and TAs were set very low yet did not buzz. I felt the Suhrs had slightly chunkier necks compared to the TAs and in terms of preference my choice would be:

    TA < Suhr < Ibanez AZ

    Really, there is not much to choose between the Suhrs and TAs and it would probably come down to player preference. The Suhrs are around $3000 over here, TAs are around $4000. While they are lovely, exceptional even, I can't imagine myself ever owning one and find myself thinking about the Ibanez AZs ($1250-2000) on the way home.

    Some obligatory pics of the guitars. The neck close up is from the TA Icon Classic.

    IMG_20190929_152914.jpg IMG_20190929_152947.jpg IMG_20190929_153027.jpg
     
  2. denny

    denny Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    My favorite neck was a 2001 Gibson SG special faded. It had a ebony fretboard with quarter-moon inlays. The great thing was the neck was baseball bat HUGE, comparable to my classical acoustic. I loved that guitar. Sadly had to sell to pay the rent at one point. I will probably get another like it someday.
     
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  3. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    A well SET UP neck will always be my favourite neck.
    Good news is that for less than a hundred $ ALL necks can have perfectly leveled and crowned frets,a beautifully cut nut and as little relief as possible without buzzing.
     
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  4. zammie

    zammie TDPRI Member

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    Sorry to hear that. Hope that day comes soon!
     
  5. zammie

    zammie TDPRI Member

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    I guess you are right. There was a precision about those necks that was remarkable. For those of us who aren't so good with setting up a guitar knowing an excellent tech might be the key.

    This might point to changing necks or partcasters in the future but that's a different slippery hole altogether.
     
  6. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's tempting to say 50s Baja for obvious reasons.

    But great necks come in all shapes and sizes.

    For example, my G&L tribute neck is skinny as hell and feels great and plays beautifully.

    Those two guitars are well set up with good frets.

    Which leads me to believe that if the frets are in good shape, the neck is in good shape.
     
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  7. DekeDog

    DekeDog Tele-Holic

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    The best neck and fretboard I've ever played is, without question, on my Carvin SH550.
     
  8. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Doctor of Teleocity

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    '66 Telecaster - wish I still had that one!
     
  9. stinkey

    stinkey Tele-Afflicted

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    My Burns Split sound -64 with 0.0.8´s on it.
     
  10. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    Although I play Fender guitars,
    The most comfy " can't put this guitar down!" necks were on vintage Gibsons- with NO cutaways!
    A budget ES-125 thinline ( fully hollow) electric, single P-90
    And two Gibson J-45's 1950 and 1951

    Not exactly speed demon guitars, I know but they had that round profile, but not very fat ( maybe ' slim taper' ? I don't know) that just made me go " Wow! these feel and sound amazing!"
    - very inspiring to play
     
  11. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    I don't think that great necks have anything to do with high cost. There is the shape of the neck, which is 100% personal preference. Ibanez makes nice guitars, but I hate their neck shapes and would never buy one. My favorite necks are the necks on PRS guitars - and the Korean made ones are identical to the USA made ones. The second aspect of the neck that you commented on are the frets - and again that's personal preference. Finally there is the fine setup work, which can make the simplest, cheapest electric guitar play just as nicely as a very expensive one.
     
  12. jackal

    jackal Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    While most of my partcasters have MIM tele necks, I took a chance on a relic Chinese no-name for cheap on the bay. It's kinda fat with vintage style frets and has a special feel that I like so much it wound up on my #1 tele. I just happened to get lucky for once.
     
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  13. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    Maybe I focus more on the whole guitar than one part. Neck on my 82 Les Paul Custom is kinda thick, while the 78 Tele and 65 ES-330 are thinner. I pick one based on what it'll do for me sound wise, or depending on my mood. Not because I like the neck on one more than the other.
     
  14. Boxla

    Boxla Tele-Meister

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    It took me 31 years and many guitars but I have now found the best necks in business and they come from Ernie Ball Music Man. I believe all of their necks would be considered the superior over just about every guitar out there but I can say my Axis SS neck is the best neck I have ever played or held. The only complaints I've heard about the Axis necks, including the Eddie Van Halen ones are that they can be a tad narrow for some hands. It's perfect for mine. If you've never played a Music Man, I suggest you grab one just to try it the necks time you're out.
     
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  15. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    "Best neck" is a purely subjective term. Even when one says they like a "fat" neck, that neck may not be fat to me. For years, my favorite neck was the one on my 1960 Les Paul Jr, but I couldn't easily explain why.....I just knew it was "chunky" and felt full in my hand. Almost every neck I played after that one always felt "skinny". After ordering a custom Warmoth neck three years ago, I can now be specific about my preference......I now have a "Gibson scale" Telecaster neck, called "fatback", meaning 1 11/16" wide at nut, and 1" depth from nut to heel. I would actually like to try something a little wider (maybe 1 3/4" nut) and even deeper, but those are just impossible to find, or affordably custom order. But in vague, general terms, I like "FAT".
     
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  16. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

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    1992 MIM Std

    Neck isn’t gigantic but it is for a MIM Std.

    Flamey too.

    So good I had it refretted.

    So good I’ve kept it for years - which is rare for me.




    I’ve played Suhr guitars and they’ve all been very good.

    I think the people that own them are the people that have the money to buy them and - also do not mind the headstock.

    I always very carefully put them back on the rack and walk away.
     
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  17. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    Tfarny speaks truth.

    The profile is a personal preference thing, and everyone has their own. I've had thin and wide on a 62 LpSg Custom, thin narrow short scale on a Byrdland, a fat V Allparts, a fat C allparts , and I could go on and on. I liked them all for various reasons, but the fatter ones the best. I have an Epi LP Standard with a great neck, a fat C.

    But the make-or-break is the setup. Nut slots, fret leveling, relief, and saddle height make all the difference. Find a luthier who has been doing it full time for a living for twenty years and pay what he charges. Get that pro setup one time and live happily ever after.

    I've been playing for over 50 years, and did my own setups for most of that. Thought I was pretty good. Built a partscaster and just couldn't get it right, so I took it to Tony Mellichamp. Best thing I ever did. I ended up taking all of my guitars to him, and the difference was astonishing. We can all twirl a screwdriver, but an old pro knows a lot more than most of us.
     
  18. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    My oldest daughter's MArtin 00-15M has the best neck I've ever played.

    My Tele has the Modern "C" neck with a rosewood fretboard, and it plays great after I spent the time to do a proper setup.
     
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  19. Coxon2323

    Coxon2323 TDPRI Member

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    The best neck I've played is either on the Gretsch White Falcon or on The new Gibson SG Standard. Pure guitar playing heaven.

    I especially like the neck on the SG because it is slightly chunkier than the slim taper neck, but it is still very comfortable in the hand and makes playing an absolute pleasure.
     
  20. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    I am all about feel.
    I really am enjoying the big 'ol fat neck on my 2019 Les Paul junior singlecut.
    It is very comfortable in MY hand.
    My '86 J-100 is my fave acoustic neck.

    Conversely, I sold a LPJ DC because I didn't like it's neck.
    And it broke my heart to sell a Larrivee D-60 Custom because I could not find love for the neck profile.

    I don't like necks with a flat spot on back.
    Makes me feel like I'm playing a grill cheese sandwich.
     
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