Guitar Necks. How Important to You? To Me ..... The Most Important Part of an Electric Guitar.

arlum

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When I find someone talking about a new guitar they've purchased the focus of their post often targets brand, finish, body style, resonance, tone, bridge and tuner type or brand, etc., etc. As a very long term electric guitar player I'd like to say that nothing is more important to me than the specs of the neck. The most important part for electric guitar / player interaction is the neck. The ease of navigation. The fret size the player is most familiar with. The scale length, fingerboard radius, and the shape of the back of the neck. String spacing and action. Acoustic guitars are truly dependent on body woods, bracing, size, shape, glue, etc.. so the body is the most important part. Electric guitars can, through pickup choices, etc. deliver wonderful tones less dependent on the body wood, shape and so on. In my opinion nothing is more important in the purchase of an electric guitar than the way the neck and the hand of the player fit and work together. The better the match the better the results of player and electric guitar delivering excellence. Yes. We can adjust to make this or that work but the results will never be as good as when an electric guitars neck and the hand of the player playing it are a dead on perfect match. I'm not listing my preferences because, while they perfectly meet my needs, they could be far off the mark for your use. The main thrust of this thread is to get folks looking to buy an electric guitar to spend more time playing than looking. Finishes are impressive. They won't contribute to the music you create and deliver to the listeners. The interaction between the guitars neck an your hand will make or break the results you're going for. Focus on the neck
 

Killing Floor

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Amen!

All the guitars and all the basses I play have 63 style C neck profiles. I don’t even worry that much about a mm difference in spacing. It’s the back curve I care about. I have thin shredder necks and LP and other shallow necks. I play for a little while and my hand is uncomfortable. So I go back to my C. Color and pickups are important but my searches now always start with the profile. Took me a while to figure it out.
 

11 Gauge

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All of my guitars have bolt-on necks. Most of them are 25.5" scale. It's not uncommon for me to either swap necks between guitars, or build a new parts guitar with the intention of moving a favored neck to it.

As such, I don't really have favorite guitars as much as I have ones that I favor the necks on.

I'm also not big on guitars with fancy finishes, so whatever the slab of wood that a Tele or Strat body is made out of honestly doesn't matter so much to me.

I don't like excessively thin/shallow necks, but do somewhat favor the big & beefy ones that are approaching 1" deep down at the first fret. I'm not very picky about fretwire, and even don't care if the radius doesn't exceed 12" to maybe 14" in some cases.

Really the only thing that irks me a little is that most of my favorite necks have maple fretboards, which means that a refret will also necessitate it being refinished. I need to find some nice necks with either a rosewood board or are roasted maple, or similar.
 

nojazzhere

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When I find someone talking about a new guitar they've purchased the focus of their post often targets brand, finish, body style, resonance, tone, bridge and tuner type or brand, etc., etc. As a very long term electric guitar player I'd like to say that nothing is more important to me than the specs of the neck. The most important part for electric guitar / player interaction is the neck. The ease of navigation. The fret size the player is most familiar with. The scale length, fingerboard radius, and the shape of the back of the neck. String spacing and action. Acoustic guitars are truly dependent on body woods, bracing, size, shape, glue, etc.. so the body is the most important part. Electric guitars can, through pickup choices, etc. deliver wonderful tones less dependent on the body wood, shape and so on. In my opinion nothing is more important in the purchase of an electric guitar than the way the neck and the hand of the player fit and work together. The better the match the better the results of player and electric guitar delivering excellence. Yes. We can adjust to make this or that work but the results will never be as good as when an electric guitars neck and the hand of the player playing it are a dead on perfect match. I'm not listing my preferences because, while they perfectly meet my needs, they could be far off the mark for your use. The main thrust of this thread is to get folks looking to buy an electric guitar to spend more time playing than looking. Finishes are impressive. They won't contribute to the music you create and deliver to the listeners. The interaction between the guitars neck an your hand will make or break the results you're going for. Focus on the neck
I absolutely agree, although overall weight can "make or break" my choice. The neck HAS to be substantial and fat for me to be comfortable playing it.....but if the guitar is too heavy on a longer gig, that will be an issue. I have definite other preferences, but they can vary somewhat, and still make the guitar acceptable.
I'm currently only playing my Godin Multiac Encore nylon guitar, which, while wider than a typical electric, is not quite as wide as a typical classical. Haven't measured the depth of the neck, but I'm guessing around .75"-.80"......I wish it was a bit deeper. My two Teles, with custom Warmoth necks, are a full 1" depth.....more to my liking. ;)
 

regularslinky

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The neck is by far the most important part of a guitar. I like 'em round and big (to quote Sir Mix-a-Lot) but I can deal with a standard C. Anything smaller makes my fretting hand cramp up.

My all time favorite neck is on my Rick Kelly T-style. It's a bit smaller than a Warmoth Fatback, and a bit bigger than an MIM 50's Esquire, which are probably the 2nd and 3rd favorites in my stable.
 

JohnnyThul

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I'd say setup is most important to me. And that doesn't mean a certain string height or the like. It just have to make the guitar work.
When I build guitars, I carve neck profiles freehand with no specific profile in mind, other than roughly a C shape. If the neck is thick or thin, both is fine. Scale matters, yes, but only in the long run, meaning, I can play whatever scale the guitar has, but for playing the rest of my life, I'd prefer a shorter one.

Thinking about it, the only thing I really cannot find a way to make it comfortable for me are vintage frets. At least medium jumbo or more. And I prefer light gauge strings, but could manage heavy ones for a gig, if necessary.

When I have finished a guitar, I play it exclusively for a few weeks and then I get to know it and tweak it a little to make it comfy to play. But that can mean for example any string height, high or low, as long as it fits the specific guitar.

It's maybe a purely psychological thing, but the guitars I build feel so much better even without a proper setup, than any guitar in a guitar store, no matter what price range.

So neck specifics wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me (besides fret size maybe). But bad looks? Nah, no way! :)
 

viking

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The thinnest 80s shredder type necks , thank you but no....my hand cramps up

The fattest baseball bat necks , no thanks , it slows me up big time , and Im all thumbs..

Everything in between is ok for me.....I dont even notice the difference

I have no idea why internet wisdom these days dictates fatty necks for everyone , LOL

Must be a macho thing .....like string size.....
 

deytookerjaabs

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Not me. Started playing young and the neck thing was what the sales guys kept harping on back then. I didn't really have the choice of trying a million guitars when I wanted one to do something different. I had a 2 figure priced classical with a square-ish neck, a then "cheap" Gibson early 60's archtop with a thinner neck, had a 70's Tele Deluxe with a big neck etc..

And nothing has changed since then. I hate the giant uber boutique necks though, yuck. Anything from big to not insanely slim is fine. A few mm won't keep me off a great guitar.
 

naneek

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The thinnest 80s shredder type necks , thank you but no....my hand cramps up

The fattest baseball bat necks , no thanks , it slows me up big time , and Im all thumbs..

Everything in between is ok for me.....I dont even notice the difference

I have no idea why internet wisdom these days dictates fatty necks for everyone , LOL

Must be a macho thing .....like string size.....
I think it's more a matter of form-
do they arch their hand away from the neck like classical form, or do they wrap their hand around the neck for support like a blues form?

People who play with the classical form, hand off the neck, anchored at the back of the neck by the tip of the thumb, will like wide thin necks.

People who wrap their hand directly around the neck for support or use their thumb to fret the low E will want a deeper thicker neck that fills their palm.
 

Freeman Keller

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When I build a guitar for someone else I ask them to bring me a guitar whose neck they really like and I duplicate it.
And as much as I like certain profiles and dimensions I find I can play equally poorly on most shapes.
 

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kuch

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My best illustration of this is in the early 2k's, I really wanted to have a AVRI 52 Tele. I got one and I really didn't like the 7.25 R and the vintage frets.... and my 1st guitar was a 63 jag back in the day. So, I sold it and a couple years later decided I had to try again and got another one. I had to sell it because of the "feel". Forward a couple of years, and I found out that the 52 Hotrod has a 9.5R neck and medium jumbo frets. I finally found one in good condition and for a good price and I've been happy with it ever since. Well, I bought and sold a couple of them because of the market being so good, but the one I have now will be passed on to my son/grandson if they want it.
 

Slim Chance

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This is a timley thread as I am considering a new guitar purchase. The model in question is a Vintera 60s Modified Telecaster. I usually play necks that are fuller such as an AV '52 or '64. My reason for the Vintera is that it's seafoam green with a dark board (PF), a color combination I have been lusting over for years. I tried one for about 30 minutes in a shop and definitely felt the difference in neck shapes. I'm pretty sure I can get used to it, though.
 

Dan German

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I’m not married to a particular neck profile, but I know what I like. I have gangly gibbon hands, so thin necks are right out. I think my Logan is a medium C, and I like that a lot, but my Danelectro is fairly skinny, and that works fairly well too. I would say that I need to really love the guitar to deal with a thin neck, but a chunkier one allows me to like almost any guitar.
 

RolandG

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To misquote Meghan Traynor: “it’s all about the neck”. In recent years I’ve taken to making my own because no one makes the dimensions and profile that I want. At one point I was shaving down the back of a neck with a cabinet scraper whilst it was bolted to a body. I could feel the whole guitar come alive as the neck approached my preferred thickness.
 

voskarp

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Yes, the neck is the most important part of how a guitar feels and plays.

I like soft V's the most. Not a boat neck fat one, but a decent substantial V (around .9" deep). Hard V is horrible!
 

brookdalebill

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I agree.
I won’t own a guitar with an uncomfortable neck.
I prefer them substantial, long scale, with wider nut widths, flatter radius, 22 bigger frets, and an ebony or rosewood fingerboard.
Slim, narrow, short scale necks need not apply.
How is sounds is next important to me.
Looks are important, too.
I’m Shallow Hal!;)
Luckily, all my guitars have great necks!
 




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