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

bottlenecker

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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 don't care about ease or comfort much. It's never been an issue for me. When people talk about how comfortable a neck is I tune out. They may as well be telling me about their orthopedic shoes. I'll play anything to get a sound I want, and the most ergonomic guitars I've played have been the worst sounding.
 

P Thought

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Agreed. I got into building a tele because I wanted fat baseball bat neck.
Me too. And five or six builds later, with different woods, bodies, and pickup configurations, widefat necks are the common denominator.

And nobody talks to me about guitars, except for you all I guess.
 
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dreamingtele

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After getting a Strat that on paper I dont like.. I got shocked how good a V neck is..

so now I keep myself open to any neck shape.. I almost can get used to any neck now given enough time..
 

stantheman

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1" Thickness D-Shape with Big Shoulders
is my FAVORITE. I E-Mailed Musikraft about a month ago and Parts Shaman
told me that none are being made currently. I can do a 1" C Shape and I like
the PRS Wide Fat too.
But that D-Shape Musikraft is just a teence* bigger than the 1st Generation
Jeff Beck Signature.

* The Gentleman who sold it to me has
a few of The JB's and this Neck was a
Teence* too much. Sometimes The Sun
HAS to shine on every dog's behind.
And I got Sunshine.

** Teence: less than a Grundillian.
 

985plowboy

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Over the years I’ve sold two very nice guitars solely because I couldn’t warm up to the way the neck felt.
For the curious, a Larrivee D-60 Custom sunburst acoustic and a TV yellow Gibson Double Cut Les Paul Special(worn finish).
YMMV.
 

srblue5

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I used to be pickier about neck profiles/feels. It's still important to me but less so now.

I used to only like fat neck profiles. I used to dislike my MIM Classic '50s Strat neck because it felt too thin to me (it still kind of is but I've learned to adapt).

The turning point for me was when I briefly own a CS Strat with a "boat neck". It was nice and thick. But the rest of the guitar was completely uninspiring to me -- weak pickups, poor build quality and finish, etc. -- that the neck profile alone didn't cut it. Sold that guitar and I've never had an iota of seller's remorse. By contrast, despite it's thinner neck, I still like and use my MIM Classic '50s Strat.

I still prefer larger neck profiles for comfort (especially during long sets) but I mostly look at the big picture these days. Does the guitar as a whole inspire me to play or not? I recently tried out a friend's Vintera '70s Tele Custom and despite the neck being smaller than what I'm used to (and me not loving the finish), I couldn't put it down and am seriously considering getting one.

I probably wouldn't like an Ibanez wizard neck by a long shot but I can adapt to most Fender/Gibson/Gretsch neck profiles that I've tried/owned.
 

AAT65

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Agreed, if the neck isn’t a comfortable profile and thickness I won’t buy the guitar.

After many years of guitar-playing and just playing what I had there were two negative experiences that brought this home to me:
1) I was convinced I wanted an Epiphone Les Paul (the Gibson’s were out of my price range). Went into the shop, confidently picked one up expecting to be walking out of the shop with it an hour later — and put it back after 2 minutes. The neck felt wrong immediately - the spec said “60s C” but it felt all shoulders. (I ended up with a PRS SE245 with a Wide Fat neck).
2) about the same time I started to find that when I played my old MIK Squier Strat my hand would cramp up really badly. When I compared it to the very comfortable SE245 I realised how much thinner it was.
So from then on I knew I wanted something C-shaped and fairly chunky. Wide or narrow frets don’t worry me, scale length doesn’t worry me, but the profile has to be rounded (in the lower frets - further up it can change, as the Elite necks do) and overall decently thick.
 

effzee

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I agree 100%.

I always find YouTube reviews of electric guitars mostly useless because they focus so much on the "tone", the one aspect that is infinitely variable and if you really don't like it, you can easily swap a few components and there you go. And also make adjustments in your amp and pedals etc.

But the neck/frets/fingerboard are really the the most intimate part of the instrument and for me have by far the biggest effect on how I play (which then also affects the tone, in ways that are not simple to adjust after the fact).
 

robistro

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The neck preference is probably dependent on the players age.
When I was younger the neck profile never bothered me, didn't even give it much thought.
Now as an old dude, with some arthritis, the neck profile is more important.
My hand cramps if the neck is too thin, so I prefer a fatter, more oval shaped neck.
 

cousinpaul

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I've got a touch of trigger finger in my left hand. My guitars include a Warmoth hardtail strat with a 1" boat and 12" radius. I'd describe it as a fatback with less shoulder. I also have a parts-tele with a chunky Allparts compound radius (7.25" to 9.75") neck. I've had both for 12 years or so but lately have noticed myself pressing harder with my first finger on the strat with it's flatter radius and favoring the tele. Allparts' take on compound radius absolutely works for me and I've got my eye out for a similar neck for the strat that won't cost an arm and leg. In the meantime, gettin' old sucks.
 

Lou Tencodpees

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I stumbled upon my favorite neck profile during my first partscaster build. I have passed on or sold a number of guitars because I couldn't get along with the neck profile. Yes, for me the single most important part of an electric guitar.
 

Tricone

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For me, the neck is the most important part. It is where the tone starts.
Big C, flat radius, 25.5" scale, 1 3/4" nut width. Maple and ebony preferred but like Indian rosewood fingerboard also.
 

Hodgo88

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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.

Agreed, a great setup is necessary. I think the neck dimensions helps define the "personality" of the guitar. A wide, skinny neck might inspire me to play more fluidly, whereas a big fat neck pushes me to play more thumb over and dig in harder.

I think having a variety of neck profiles is just as handy as having guitars with different pickups.
 




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