Necks -Thick or Thin ? Which works best?

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Necks -Thick or Thin ? Which works best?

Post by amezcua » Sat Dec 24, 2016 5:33 pm

The crossover subject from Steel to Nylon hinges on two or three topics . One popular one is neck thickness. Not neck width for now that`s a bit different. The thinner necks on steel type machines seems to cater for vicelike grips needed for bending strings . But there is a view that on classical guitars the thumb has a gentler more relaxed and passive action when playing . Also the idea of closing the hand more to touch the neck on a thinner model tends to move towards a cramping tendency .in the hand muscles .. One of the things to learn in violin playing with busy fingers is to think of the thumb as a separate unit from the fingers.

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Re: Necks -Thick or Thin ? Which works best?

Post by celestemcc » Sat Dec 24, 2016 7:20 pm

Depends on the player, frankly... and the shape of the neck as well (in cross-section). It's just so different person to person, and thickness and width have to be considered together... is violin hand position similar to mandolinists'? Because the latter is SO very different from guitar...!
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Re: Necks -Thick or Thin ? Which works best?

Post by edwardsguitar » Sat Dec 24, 2016 7:31 pm

I have played all varieties, and for me thinner is much better. Thicker necks produce more discomfort and cramping in my experience.

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Re: Necks -Thick or Thin ? Which works best?

Post by Beowulf » Sat Dec 24, 2016 8:17 pm

What do you personally consider thick or thin? 25mm...20mm? Also, what profile are you thinking of...C...D?
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Re: Necks -Thick or Thin ? Which works best?

Post by Ramon Amira » Sun Dec 25, 2016 2:25 pm


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Re: Necks -Thick or Thin ? Which works best?

Post by Jack Douglas » Sun Dec 25, 2016 3:03 pm

For me a thicker neck is desirable. I have some left thumb arthritis and thin necks exacerbate the arthritis trouble.
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Re: Necks -Thick or Thin ? Which works best?

Post by souldier » Sun Dec 25, 2016 4:10 pm

This is highly personal. It's like asking whether a large shirt is better than a medium. Whether a person prefers a thick or thin neck depends on the persons hand size, technique, etc. I have small hands, and so I tend to like thinner C-shaped necks while others here prefer thicker D-shaped necks. To know what you like, your best bet is to try two guitars side by side. A good common example of thin/C shaped are Cordoba guitars like the C5-C10. An example of the more traditional necks would probably be Yamaha guitars.

I'm come to discover that neck thickness and shape has huge playability consequences and has a greater effect than scale length. A guitar with a comfortable neck with a 650 scale will be more comfortable and easy to play than a 630 scale with an uncomfortable neck.
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Re: Necks -Thick or Thin ? Which works best?

Post by Bill B » Sun Dec 25, 2016 7:19 pm

I like thick necks, but don't think it makes that big a difference in my ability to play. Im not really sure what it is I prefer about a thick neck either. Its probably all in my head. I don't think this would ever likely be the deciding factor in evaluating two different guitars. I recently had a strange experience that I think is related. I had an electric guitar, (still do actually) electric 12 string that I don't really like much about. Its crazy heavy, and the sound is not great, (its fine if your into playing classic birds tunes, or maybe led zeppelin) but it had a great feel to the neck. it is a 1960's fender villager neck reemployed on this electric guitar body. Anyway, I remember liking the feel of the neck so much I was considering cutting the head down to use it as a six string. I didn't. I put it in my closet for a year or so. I got it out a couple days ago. The neck really doesnt feel like anything special to me now. When I first put this frankenstein together I had convinced myself how awesome this neck felt. Its just a neck. If the fretwork is good, and its got good action, it'll work. Probably the feel of the finish is a bigger deal than the thickness to me.I think that you can probably adjust to a thick neck, thin neck, whatever profile, etc, just fine if you want to. Peoples preferences, especially relating to minor details, are funny things.
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Re: Necks -Thick or Thin ? Which works best?

Post by drmlyung » Mon Dec 26, 2016 2:09 am

Thin neck tend to make my left hand more relax, and much smooth hand movement.

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Re: Necks -Thick or Thin ? Which works best?

Post by nnovoa » Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:25 pm

As far as I see it, is better to talk about numbers instead of concepts regarding the thickness. I have slightly short and thin fingers, so I like 41.5 - 42.5mm space between strings, but the palm of my hand is big, so 21.5mm thickness (which I regard as "thin" but not too much) is great as thickness in the first fret. I tend to agree with the view that slight differences in thickness could be annoying. I own a guitar which is 20.5mm and find that too thin; I can play - no problem - but while practicing some pieces sometimes I get a pain in the first phalanx of the thumb.
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Re: Necks -Thick or Thin ? Which works best?

Post by DTut » Wed Dec 28, 2016 3:48 am

Unread postby Jack Douglas » Sunday 25 December 2016, 09:03 am

For me a thicker neck is desirable. I have some left thumb arthritis and thin necks exacerbate the arthritis trouble
What he said!

I like a nice thick vintage Ramirez neck which keeps the hand comfortably open. A thin neck forces the left-hand into a tight little shape and can cause pain . To me, a thick neck feels so much better and secure.
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Re: Necks -Thick or Thin ? Which works best?

Post by amezcua » Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:16 am

I have only used a few guitars but the answers here show a decent spread of preferences .Maybe the adverts stress thinner necks as a selling point .So mostly caustic comments you can read about thicker necks (not here btw ) are no fault of a good guitar . Something for everyone is a good feeling with guitars . Both thick and thin players hint at cramp though .That`s surprising for the mostly slower finger movements on a guitar. Slower than on a violin I mean .I used to get cramp doing plastering but now no problem .I can recommend those small electronic Arm Toners to tune up muscles .They work like magic . Use them for a continuous 2 pages of double trills on a violin .

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Re: Necks -Thick or Thin ? Which works best?

Post by robert e » Wed Dec 28, 2016 5:16 pm

I've been thinking a lot about necks lately because I've been working on my left hand, including giving the thumb the attention it deserves and never really got from me.

Like most people, I tend to find the familiar more comfortable, sometimes more so than something that is better for me physically. I used to prefer thin "C" shaped necks, possibly because I spent more time playing steel string guitars, and I felt that chunky classical necks got in my way and/or my hand was too small (I do have smaller than average hands). Today, though, whether because I'm more focused on classical, and taking it more seriously, have better classical LH technique, older hands, or all of the above, I prefer a slightly thicker and more "D" shaped neck.

These days, my main concern with necks is effortless placement and leverage for the thumb. Given good hand posture, if I have to use any muscle tension to put thumb on neck at the best spot, then the neck isn't working for me. I've also learned that proper thumb position varies a great deal more than I'd thought previously, which makes me more aware of how the "right" neck size and shape can facilitate effortless leverage in different situations.

That doesn't necessarily mean that only one exact size and shape will work for my hand, though. More likely, a range of size and shape combinations can give me what I want. But it probably does mean that I'd have to try a few necks, with an open mind, to find a "right" one.

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Re: Necks -Thick or Thin ? Which works best?

Post by MalcolmB » Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:20 pm

I have massive hands and for me.. it's thicker every time.. otherwise I either end up fretting the low E with my thumb, cramp in my hand, thumb joint bent at an angle clearly not conducive to a long playing life, half my hand over the fretboard like a massive spider, etc etc

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Re: Necks -Thick or Thin ? Which works best?

Post by amezcua » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:48 pm

On a guitar in the lowest fret position there is no physical barrier to stop your thumb/ hand going too far. On a violin there is a curve in the neck. To create some useful landmarks for fret positions I stuck on some plastic bumps designed to stop drawers from banging. The glue keeps them in place for a few weeks and then they have to be renewed again . Experiment with positions so there is a light contact with the thumb ( left or right of the thumb ) but not so they get in the way . Just grazing the top edges of the thumb works best . The hand soon learns where fret one or nine or five is without looking. The thumb does a more useful job as a fret position monitor than a gripper. I never used to think about neck thickness before all these crossover articles . If you don`t look at the fretboard you can allow the guitar to face away from you more which effectively will make the neck seem thinner.

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