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Neck-To-Hand-Fit: Two Questions

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by cometazzi, Jan 22, 2021.

  1. cometazzi

    cometazzi Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Dec 3, 2019
    Wisconsin, Das Land von Käse und Bier
    I'm not talking about solving anger and disappointment with violence. I'm talking about solving anger and disappointment with music.

    I have two questions that I've wondered many moons:

    Question Juan: Is there a methodical way to measure your hand in many ways and determine the correct neck type, shape, profile, width, height, radius etc for ergonomity? Seems like the only thing we have is "pick up a guitar, play it for a bit, see if the feel is right". There is some fun and joy in the journey of doing this, but it would be really neat if you could just know what the 'right' fit would be, no?

    Question Too: Why don't guitars come with different neck profiles? You know, like how you can buy regular jeans, big n tall jeans, or big n short jeans. Let's say you find that perfect Telecaster or Ibanez AX-series, but the neck just doesn't work? What if you could select one with a chunkier neck if that's what you like, or the same exact guitar with something thinner, or with a different fret size, etc? I realize that this means some different manufacturing setups, but how different, really? If they have to machine a neck and bolt it onto a guitar, why not machine a few different ones? Most guitar models come in a bazillion color, bridge, pickup, etc options, why not neck?

    I think Rickenbackers are really rad, but I cannot stand the necks on them. They're ridiculously thin and I need more meat to grab with my big stupid hands. Meanwhile, once I played some plasticy-looking Apple-inspired looking Yamaha something electric and it had *the* most comfortable neck I've ever held. The rest of the guitar was fairly 'meh', or so it seemed at the time. I've known a few guys and a few ladies who were limited to what guitars they could play because they have small hands. Most 3/4-sized guitars are aimed at children and there's a quality cap there. So maybe a decent guitar with a thinner/narrower neck option would be great for them.

    Great Scotts!
  2. whoanelly15

    whoanelly15 Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 30, 2017
    "pick up a guitar, play it for a bit, see if the feel is right"

    You said it. This is indeed the only (and best) method in my opinion. Even if there was a prescribed method based on hand size, etc., I wouldn’t subscribe, and it certainly wouldn’t work for everybody because, well, nothing does.

    I have very (freakishly) large hands, and I don’t have any guitars that have “baseball bat” necks. I’ve even really enjoyed some very small and thin necks. I’ve enjoyed C, U and D shapes, vintage and narrow tall frets. 7.25” to 12” radii. I don’t like jumbo frets. Depending on the guitar, feel, weight, obviously the sound... There’s just too many variables for one method to determine what I’ll prefer above others, and as I’ve said, my preferences - even for neck specs - are somewhat broad. The way I see it, variety is indeed the spice of life.

    I think question 2 is probably more about profit and market research, so I’ll let someone who is interested in such things comment on that.
    Dan German and Ricky D. like this.
  3. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 2, 2020
    I like the modern C neck. I have been known to carve down a few necks that were too far for me.
  4. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    I'm not sure there's a standard "assumption" to be made for a ratio of "hand size/neck size". I have what I believe would be considered small/medium hands, but I'm most comfortable on fat necks. I've never played a factory Fender neck that I found comfortable. (not saying they don't exist....I've just never played one) Both of my Tele-styles have Warmoth "fatback", 1 11/16" wide necks. But how did I arrive at that choice? I played a BUNCH of necks. I came to realize on longer gigs, my hand was uncomfortable, even cramping, on smaller necks. No formula involved.....just practical experience.
    Now, I'm at the point that I simply KNOW that FAT neck GOOD.....SKINNY neck BAD. That's all I need to remember. ;););)
    whoanelly15 likes this.
  5. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

    Feb 21, 2008
    Left of the Left Coast
    I think it would be awesome if music stores had a Brannock device for your hand, and could fit you with a guitar based on that. In reality, though, I suspect it wouldn’t work. Like @whoanelly15 , I have large hands. Mine are of the gibbon variety, long and spindly. I prefer fatter and wider necks. Yet I have a Godin 5th Ave (not skinny, but certainly slim) and a ‘65 Danelectro (neither fat nor wide). My Squier Strat is a bit of a stick as well. Certainly my Logan and my 12 string are preferred, but I play the others with no complaints (except from the neighbours).

    Side note: I suspect it’s probably good exercise for me to adapt to different neck sizes, even if my go-to is the larger necks.
    whoanelly15 likes this.

    LOSTVENTURE Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 13, 2007
    Charlotte, NC
    I have small hands and long fingers, so for whatever reason, I've gotten along with almost every neck I've encountered. But I see where the OP is comming from. But, we have to take into account the cost perspective of producing a wide variety no neck profiles. While Fender's bolt on necks could be interchangeable, producers of fixed neck guitars (Gibson, Gretsch, etc) would have a much more dififficult time meeting the various neck profile demands.
    But, there is always the Custom Shop if you absolutely have the perfect neck.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
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