The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #1

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    I have a few different guitars that I play regularly, and I find myself cycling through preferences of neck shape/size. For example, I'll play my Tele, which has a chunky rounded profile, and think it's the ideal size and shape. Then, I'll play my Strat copy with a Thin-C neck and 15" fretboard radius, and wonder why I play bigger necks. I have another guitar that I play that has a neck that is somewhere between the two. Point is, I can't ever really decide on what I feel is the "ideal" neck.

    My question is: Do most of you have an ideal neck size and shape that you gravitate towards? Personally, I think it's good to be able to adjust to different necks.


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    For me, it's gotta be pretty thick, "C" shaped necks. I've tried so many times with Jackson Soloists, ESP Horizons, Ibanez GB-10s, RG-550, Jem, 60's Gibson profile on reissues, Gretsch 6120 reissue, all kinds of Gibson archtops and semis, some Guild archtops, and more, and only the fat 50s C profile feels comfortable to me. Gibson 50s reissues are perfect for me. It's odd, because I have short stubby fingers! 0.86" to 0.90" depth at the first fret and 1 11/16" nut width with a "C" profile makes me very, very happy!

  4. #3

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    I find I prefer a bit more shoulder so D shape .85” to 90 first fret and a .70” to 1” taper to 12 th fret is my preference. Although I should include large frets and flatter radius is also important

  5. #4

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    Slim C or slim D for me. Gives me a freer hand, my hands are tiny. Gibson 1961 and Ibanez Prestige necks are usually perfect for me.
    Though I started out on acoustic (folk, 12 strings etc.) guitars, so it took me a while to adapt so thin necks, strangely enough...

  6. #5

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    I really like the small dimensions on the Yamaha Pacifica 012. It's 25.5 scale length, but small in every other dimension. Probably because the guitar is an entry level instrument maybe marketed to kids? Feels good to me though. Radius is around 14. I find the Fender 9.5 and lower to be uncomfortable. I like the Gibson 12.

    It's not my main guitar, although I've gigged with it quite a few times. My main guitar, a Comins GCS-1 sounds better. That said, the Yamaha sounds pretty good.

    I love the sound of the Tele, or should I say, various sounds. But, every time I put my hand around the neck of one, it feels too big.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 04-05-2024 at 03:47 PM.

  7. #6

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    I like a deep neck with a round profile and a taper. Over the years I have found what I consider the perfect neck for me. Fortunately I made that discovery prior to ordering my custom to smith special. That guitar as the absolute best neck for my preference.

  8. #7

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    I can get along with most shapes, except a thin or narrow neck.

    On electric solidbodies, I like standard Fender and Gibson vintage necks, because that's what I'm used to.

    On acoustics, I like 1-3/4" and even bigger. I have a 1927 Martin with a thick, 1-7/8" neck and bar frets. It is fabulous for fingerpicking.

    And the other week I got an archtop with a neck 2-3/64" wide. I am quickly getting used to it, and now my other guitars feel a bit cramped.

  9. #8

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    Your preferred neck shape may depend a lot on your thumb position.

    A good practice exercise is trying to play with little and no thumb pressure on the back of the neck.

    Your guitar needs to be in a stable playing position for this exercise.

    After a while, you will begin to notice that you need very little or no thumb pressure on the back of the neck.

    At the moment, I'm sat here playing with no thumb on the back of the guitar's neck. It feels fine after 10-15mins.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by GuyBoden
    Your preferred neck shape may depend a lot on your thumb position.
    And how much pressure your set-up requires (i.e. how high your action is and how deep you dig into your strings with the right hand). Plus hand size/finger length, inevitably. I've come to the conclusion there must be a sort of continuum; the larger hands/longer fingers and/or the bigger the pressure you need to exert, the thicker your neck must be for ergonomical reasons.

  11. #10

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    I have guitars that range from quite slim to quite thick (plus a couple of nut widths). It doesn’t make a difference to me, and I find them all comfortable to play. I should add the "slim" ones are still normal (1-11/16") nut width. I don't like narrower nuts/string-spacing.
    Last edited by John A.; 04-05-2024 at 10:49 AM.

  12. #11

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    Is there any other accurate way to measure a guitar neck than using one of these ? I really wonder how the early luthiers settled on a neck shape, design and size, and then duplicated it.

    I guess the tough part when a sale or build is involved would be not every buyer or seller would have access to one of these and necks are tough, if not impossible for a non-woodworker to measure. Or they sure were for me.

  13. #12

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    My telecaster is Deep-C and measures 0.82 to 0.93. That's just about pretty good. Could go a tad bigger and still be happy. But only a tad. I dislike skinny necks. That much I know.

  14. #13

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    I never understood the term Deep C from Fender. To me that would be at least .90” to ? neck depth. What it actually is a normal average small/ medium neck depth.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by jads57
    I never understood the term Deep C from Fender. To me that would be at least .90” to ? neck depth. What it actually is a normal average small/ medium neck depth.
    Agreed, .82 at the 1st fret isn't "deep" anything. I would use the term deep to denote .87 and up. Then again, perhaps they are talking about the shape? Admittedly, I haven't played too many American Fender necks in the past 10 years or so.

  16. #15

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    I’m sure with CNC machinery tolerances on all but bespoke guitars are really close to each other. I like when Gibson and other companies would offer a choice 50’s chunky or 60’s slim shapes.

    They don’t have to offer more than that, and I’d be happy!

  17. #16

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    Ok I'll bite. What's the difference between a deep C and a D?

  18. #17

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    Always preferred the Fender type necks, narrow nut width and my fav. 60's oval neck profile (or medium C?). But I can't stand the wide necks, like nothing wider than 1-11/16. The narrower the better. And the round fingerboard radius, at least 9.5. Therefore never play any Gibson, even thou I like how they sound. Unfortunately for me most people request the wide and flat necks so I don't have much choice, but it's ok, my tele has all I need to make music.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz4Four
    I have a few different guitars that I play regularly, and I find myself cycling through preferences of neck shape/size.
    You’re lucky ;-). I have this not just with neck shape but pretty much every other aspect too. I can totally love a guitar today, then hate it for a week, then love it again. So I’m cycling through different guitars because there’s always one that inspires me to play. I am slowly homing in on about five or six different guitars that work for me and am thinning the herd accordingly. But I don’t expect to ever get below five.

    Neck-wise I’m not as hyper-picky as I am with a guitar’s sound. I need some string spacing at the nut and I do not like a thunky, non-flattened D-shape. My favourite necks are PRS plus the Ibanez GB10 plus the Eastman 580CE.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sleeko
    Ok I'll bite. What's the difference between a deep C and a D?
    These articles have pictures (each worth a thousand words, of course!), and the last is Warmoth-specific.

    Guitar neck profiles explained: find your perfect playing partner | Guitar World

    Just a moment...

  21. #20

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    So again Deep C seems like it should be at least around .90” to 1” give or take a few millimeters. And U shape seems much akin to a D shape only larger.
    But again Marketing is a fickle thing, Lol!
    Last edited by jads57; 04-08-2024 at 02:19 PM.

  22. #21

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    I agree - marketing is fickle. Knowing an actual neck depth of a guitar I was purchasing sight unseen would make life so much easier. I really dislike the qualitative descriptors "deep", "medium", "comfortable", etc.

    I've learned that the 50s Gibson shapes used on their reissues is perfect for me, even as there is some variation across lines.

    I've always interpreted part of the "D" shape as a flatter back than a "U" shape, but again this type of language is imprecise!

  23. #22

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    That wonderful, but rare, occurrence, when you pick up a guitar in a shop, wrap your hand around and its as though it had been bespoke made just for your hand size and shape.

    Everything else is a compromise once that has happened, but generally, despite having smaller hands, I find larger necks more comfortable and less fatiguing.

  24. #23

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    We all have different size hands and fingers. Obviously there will be preferences for different neck sizes and shapes.

  25. #24

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    I think I like a thinner, wider neck than most people seem to like.

    Maybe you guys can help me understand better when I'm looking at specs of possible buys. Here's dimensions for 2 of my archtops, at 1st and 9th fret.

    A) .80 to .94 is that considered skinny or medium?

    B) .97 to 1.0 is that considered deep?

    Both were described at sale as D shape. When I put a profile gauge on them, trace and compare they both look like a C. Maybe it's a D? Hard to say.

    I like A and thinking about selling B. It feels a lot bigger in the hand. Am I in fact a skinny neck guy?

  26. #25

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    "Here's dimensions for 2 of my archtops"

    What models of guitar are they?