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what shape is your neck?

3/9/2004 6:08 PM
Mark Lavelle what shape is your neck?
... Turkey? ;)  
Seriously: I've been a Fender guy for ages so I'm very used to the standard thin style, but I've always had trouble with left hand fatigue, and even cramping in my fingers. I've seen it suggested that a different neck shape can alleviate that for some people. Anyone have any personal experiences or conspiracy theories they'd like to share?  
I just built myself a parts guitar with a Warmoth "boat" neck and I'm finding it disorienting (it's also 24.75" scale), but not uncomfortable. It'll be interesting to see how I feel about it in a couple of months...
3/10/2004 6:29 AM
Steve A.

I just built myself a parts guitar with a Warmoth "boat" neck and I'm finding it disorienting...  
    I think that we sometimes forget that the neck plays an important part in the tone and sustain of a guitar, and I wonder about those superfast ultrathin necks. That might be irrelevant if you are plugged into a high-gain shredder amp... how much sustain do you really need if you are playing 16 notes per second? ;)  
    As for the cramps, do you take anything for your joints? I've been taking glucosamine for a few years now and swear by the stuff. I used to have a great "blob" for exercising my fingers but I haven't seen them around anymore. :( It was a thick rubber balloon filled with a mixture of corn starch and glycerine (or maybe just water) and was much better than the soft foam balls they sell these days. I bet that some website would have instructions for mixing the cornstarch...  
Steve Ahola
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3/10/2004 6:41 AM
Steve A.
Squeeze ball!
I bet that some website would have instructions for mixing the cornstarch...  
    Hmmm... I guess it is just cornstarch with no liquid added at all. The trick is using a strong helium balloon (the one I had lasted 10+ years before it finally started to disintegrate).  
Squeeze Ball  
(Not for children under 5)  
Have you ever noticed that kids can sit for the longest time, fascinated by some new squishy or slimy toy. This activity is a home made version of a common toy for older kids. Also, great to keep one by the computer desk to exercise your hand after working to long with the keyboard and mouse.  
You'll need :  
Latex Balloon (strong helium type is best)  
Blow up the balloon to stretch it, but do not tie the end! Use a funnel inside the opening of the balloon to poor cornstarch inside. When it feels tight, without stretching the balloon too much, you have enough. Tie the balloon securely and you are done. The more the ball is squeezed, the softer it gets!  
Steve Ahola
3/10/2004 6:08 PM
Re: what shape is your neck?
How to say this without appearing to dump on Tommy at USA...he said that the EC neck evolved over the years. I can't comment on that because I don't know, however I have played several EC strats in stores over the last 12 years. Each felt the same and I loved that feel. It's a thin, soft V that opens up near the nut to a non-V shape. USA "offers" an EC shape. What they really offer are a lot of options. I ended up with a .850" soft V which is not much like the EC shape, however it's the biggest neck I have. It seems to have more wood to it and maybe a stronger tone. Getting used to it hasn't been that bad. It's not like that boat neck though. I've played those and they're just too big. It's like my left thumb has adhesive on it.  
I have a wormoth standard neck and a 70's Fender that feels a lot like the neck they put on the '57 RI. It's kind of a fluke. Most 70's necks I've played are a kind of U shape.
3/15/2004 9:10 PM
Mark Hammer
I've got a few different sorts on necks on my current guitars and ones I've owned over the years. Indeed, this was the basis for a thread I posted a few months back on what makes for a "fast" neck.  
I have an ancient (mid-1930's Kalamazoo archtop with a very pronounced "boatneck". I love it. The "keel" fits right in that little space between index and thumb so that you can relax your hand a bit and not have to rely on muscle tension alone to maintain the structural rigidity of your chording hand. You can bar chord until the cows come home and never feel it.  
At the same time, one has to recognize that:  
a) it is being used with *acoustic* strings of a much heavier gauge and different action than I'd use on an electric  
b) it is being used for different types of music  
c) it is not only a different profile but is a different width and thickness and different resonance (by virtue of being mahogany instead of maple)  
I have a pair of maple Tele necks; one a La-Si-Do or Saga neck I bought from Victor Litz in Maryland, and the other the neck on my Turser Tele. The Litz-bought neck has less taper from the nut on up so that it feels a bit too thick below the 5th fret. The Turser feels much better, though neither is flatter than the other.andboth have a C-shape. I also have a fairly flat Aria neck that plays really fast but seems like it will be hell to bar chord, and an Epi Coronet with a very narrow 23-fret neck whose taper is fine, and profile is fine but is so damned narrow that it only starts to get as wide as most normal necks by around the 12th fret. Very uncomfortable to chord on. Another guitar, a late 1950's Epi Windsor, had a luxuriously wide neck with a "lazy C" shape and was a pleasure to chord on as well as dig into individual notes.  
Another thing that may be overlooked is the role that the neck finish and fingerboard may play in the impact of different neck profiles. For instance, old mahogany necks like my Kalamazoo, are not only boat necks, but will have a rosewood fingerboard and a different texture to the neck finish than a maple neck would have. I can't discount those different sources of "traction" as playing a role in how I think the neck feels to me. I had stripped down the neck on my Coronet many years ago, and had come to hate it. Once I relacquered it, though (with nail polish of all things), I learned to love it again and it wasn't nearly as uncomfortable.  
Finally, I wouldn't doubt that string thickness can also play a role in whether you like a neck or not. The tactile feedback from a string's vibrations against the neck when sustaining it with finger vibrato really help to guide your fretwork and finger pressure. If I couldn't feel the string through the neck against the palm of my hand, I'm sure my finger vibrato skills would be less. The neck profile + construction materials will serve to convey or impede these vibrations, depending on the string gauge. Thicker strings will of course be felt more through the neck, where thin ones won't and will rely on a flatter neck to be detectable by the other side of your fret hand.
3/19/2004 1:41 PM
Nathan Noel

U shaped, 1-3/4" - 1-11/16" nut not too thin though Jackson has it closer than anyone on their american made guitars, I like them a little thicker though, Ibanez RGs are a little too thin, I've got one and it plays great but not quite my ideal neck. I like a wider string spacing at the nut than most people that I know also.  
Asymetrical is a nice too with a little etra thickness at the bass side of the neck.  
4 of my 7 guitars have hand shaped necks, I made two and ordered two.  
I've given up on short scale necks as well. "HATE THEM". I buy a Les Paul every 5-6 years cause I love the tone and looks but end up despising the overall "feel" I keep hoping that my tastes change to like them ut they never do. I sold my last Les Paul about a year ago and hopefully I'll not go that route again and waste my time.
3/19/2004 8:31 PM
Mark Lavelle update & picture
Now that I've had almost two weeks to get used to it I'm finding I like the fatter neck a lot. I can tell I'll have to change my ways a little bit (hand angle in some positions), but it's really comfortable. It may be the combination of the fat neck with the short scale, but it's the higher notes that I need to adjust to most...  
Mark: Neck "speed" isn't something I ever think about (I'm an all-around slow guy ;)), but I'd also never thought about the effect of feeling the vibration through the neck on vibrato – you really opened my eyes, there.  
Next time I do this I just may order the fattest neck available and shave it down to a custom fit...  
Oh yeah – here's what my "Less Paul" looks like (click to enlarge):  
It's all maple with half a dozen coats of shellac.
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