Neck depth tapers - what is true to expectations of vintage models

jbinici

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I own 3 Nash and 3 Fender Telecasters; my Nash 52 has a slight taper in girth the two 60’s models are considerably skinnier at the first fret Vs the 12th fret.

My fender ‘52 Hotrod has a fat neck compared to my 72’ USA originAl reissue and my Brent Mason. But it’s mostly consistent in girth Up and down the neck.

I love the 52 hotrod (fat with hardly any taper in girth) and the Nash 52 (about as fat as the Fender 52 but with a slight taper in girth).
But here are pics of one of the Nash 60’s models. Both 60‘s models have such a huge difference in girth it used to bug me. But heck if I’m not warming up to it. I am. So what’s the deal here? Did Nash just do this difference in girth tapering to be different or are the originals like that too? I’ve never played the originals. And why did this style take hold. It’s taken me a while to appreciate it but I’m not sure what advantages it has other than chord up on the lower frets is easier. I’m not yet sure soloing on the high frets is more convenient. It does make you slow down and think. That’s good I guess.

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ahiddentableau

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The straightforward answer is that Nash uses Allparts necks and I'm pretty sure they are all tapered except for the baseball bat type. They come that way from the factory in Japan.

Why does Allparts taper their necks? I don't think anybody can say for certain, but it's likely because players associate that taper with vintage Fender necks. And indeed, if you look at measurements of vintage Fender necks from the "golden age", they are typically tapered. Fender seemed to move away from the taper as the company got older, and by later years there were lots of Fender necks that were pretty much the same thickness from the 1st to the 12th fret. My 90s strat has a thin neck that is the same thickness all the way up the neck, and there are a lot of them from that period like that.
 

TimTam

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Tapering is hard to appreciate/compare other than when you can feel necks directly, but also because neck specs are rarely presented by manufacturers in ways that facilitate easy comparison. Fender's typical neck cross-section diagrams (1st/12th fret) don't make it very easy to compare across more than a few necks, for tapers and comparative depths. Several years ago I plotted the FCS neck specs to make that a bit clearer. You can easily see which necks have significant differences in depth between 1st and 12th frets ('Difference' in red) and which don't. Maybe someone would like to do that for the Allparts necks from their listed specs ? ;)
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Bendyha

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As to the reasons for the taper, well, here are two possible explanations that come to mind.
(I just copied these drawings from the web somewhere, so they are only representative of what the curves could or should be, but they are suitable for expressing the explanation)
1659859883670.png
If there is very little, or no taper in thickness, as the neck gets wider, the edge angle tends to get smaller, meaning the feeling on the hand is constantly changing.

1659859913924.png
If, on the other hand, the same, or at least a similar edge shape and feeling is to be maintained moving up the neck, then the neck needs to get thicker.


The other reason that comes to mind, is most apparent with small radius fingerboards. If the neck blank remains a constant thickness, then we will still taper being added by the fingerboard as it gets wider, as one tends to keep the edge thickness of the fingerboard constant for optical reasons. This effect is very apparent on violins and cellos, where the fingerboard curve is extreme. Sometimes one even sees instruments where someone has tried to limit the taper by thinning the neck out, and the end result is that the maple actually ends up getting thinner as one goes up the neck.

With a bit of cutting, pasting and drawing I can illustrate this here, where the fingerboard curvature radius is constant. If we were to use a compound radius, where the fingerboard radius is flatter at the bridge end and increases towards the nut, then this tapering effect is lessened.
1659863848983.png
 
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nickmm

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I've never played an original 50 or 60 Fender that has the ridiculously large profile some Custom shop necks have.
And I've played a fair few. Some are very slim.

My guess is Friday evening necks are the current fashion, Fullerton reissue profile were the Monday morning ones.
 
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netgear69

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The neck on my 62 AVRI strat is 21mm at the 1st fret and 24mm at the 12th fret
compered to a blackguard partscaster I have that has a 1# profile neck
the strat neck feels much better the tele neck is like a plank but each to their own
 

Kevin Wolfe

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Looking over the published spec’s, (Banos), I've notice that neck specs were all over the place. As one would expect with anything hand crafted in those days.
 




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