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FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / Which neck shape for me?


Glendale, NY

Nov 6th, 2017 09:10 AM   Edit   Profile  

Hi again, I stated in another post, so long ago, that I bought a Yamaha Acoustic beginner package, had trouble playing chords and notes. My instructor told me necks differ and I found a no name acoustic I traded for. Immediate difference. Took a few months of lessons with no problems. Then my wife, at the time, bought me a MIM Strat I wanted. Bad move, because I couldn't play many chords on the neck comfortably. Some not at all. My mistake, not learning from my acoustic experience. Recently I found the no name acoustic, in my garage attic. Again, an immediate difference, SO comfortable even simply holding the neck moving my fingers up and down, not even playing. I would like to now get another Strat to practice on. Sorry for th crazy question. Can I bring this acoustic to a local shop, and then have someone who plays, or a setup tech, look and play the neck, then be able to recommend something to me? Or I must try many guitars on my own? I know Strats have the D, C, V, etc. I wish I know what this acoustic isto narrow my search. All I know it is pretty much almost flat, and wide. Thanks in advance for any advise.

(This message was last edited by AlohaEd at 11:12 AM, Nov 6th, 2017)



Why do I keep fixing things that work?
Nov 6th, 2017 09:23 AM   Edit   Profile  

It almost sounds like you may want something more of a thicker neck, like a 59 profile. It's called a boat neck and has a larger overall thickness, somewhat like an acoustic guitar.
But this is just a guess not knowing the guitar you are playing now.
You really need to try a few guitars and find the one that feels best to you, because it is a very personal choice and must be felt.
There are so many variables and to not have the sample guitar you are playing would be a poor guess for me to advise you.
So, go to a music store that has many instruments and find the one that feels best to you.

Contributing Member


the downtime
Nov 6th, 2017 09:55 AM   Edit   Profile  

How can two guitar necks look the same, but have completely different levels of playability?

Half of it is actual dimensions, and the other half is feel. I have no science to back up that claim--but it's how I think about these kinds of neck questions.

Whenever a player brings me a guitar and says they'd like all their other guitars to feel as good as this one, I always start by measuring the neck. You can do this too; it gives you hard numbers that go a long way to explaining what is good about it, as well as a starting position in your search for a similar neck.

Use a dial or digital caliper. Slacken the strings.

Write the following on a note pad:

5th fret
7th fret
12th fret

Zero the caliper in the closed position, and then take measurements.

For width, that's simple. Measure across the fretboard, from one side to the other, and record the results.

For thickness, make sure the caliper is capturing the distance from the enter of the back of the neck to the center of the fingerboard, and record the results.

Lastly, use the little depth stick on the end of the caliper to measure fret height. Take at least 15 measurements at random places on the neck between the nut and the 12th fret, and average the result. There will be variances, but they should all be in the ballpark with each other. Fret height has a lot to do with how a guitar feels in the hand and how easily it plays. There is no 'best' fret height. It is a very personal thing.

How to measure fret height: Lay the guitar face up on the bench. Use the caliper's thumb wheel to roll the depth stick out about a half inch. Hold the caliper vertically, at 90 degrees to the plane of the fingerboard. Place the depth stick on the fretboard next to a fret, and gently press down on the caliper to drop the end of the unit onto the fret's top. Read and record the result.

Once you have the specs of a neck you love, you can narrow your search based on guitar makers' advertized specs.

How to use a caliper

Contributing Member


the downtime
Nov 6th, 2017 10:02 AM   Edit   Profile  

The "feel" aspect comes into play based on the neck's carve, or cross-sectional shape.

This is something that's hard to measure, but it makes a big difference in now a neck feels in the hand.

Not only is the carve of the back important--equally important are the 'shoulders' (sides of the neck where it meets the fingerboard), as well as the 'roll' (how the sides of the fingerboard are sanded).

Here's an example of back carves

from Warmoth's site



Nov 7th, 2017 09:42 AM   Edit   Profile  

All good general information posted here.

However, we don't really know anything about the problem......or you.

How long have you been playing?
Your age?
What styles of music?
Do you do a lot of fingerpicking?
Barre chords?
Gauge of strings?
Etc etc etc.

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Nov 7th, 2017 09:52 AM   Edit   Profile  

I think the issue here is setup not really neck shape. I would think the Fender Standard USA or MIM neck with a C shape would be acceptable for 90% of players and has proven to be just that.

If the issue is nut width and fingers having to move into a tighter space, practice is the issue. Muscle memory will fix the issue. Finding a guitar with a wider nut may help.

Bottom line is get the advice of a good tech. Play the guitar in front of him/her and explain your difficulty. This can be fixed.


Glendale, NY

Nov 7th, 2017 10:45 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks for your replies.

"However, we don't really know anything about the problem......or you."
I haven't really played. Back in 2002, I took some lessons on this acoustic I like. Did well, mainly switching between chords, that's it. Yet wasn't happy with my instructor. Then PTSD from 9/11 set it, i stopped. Years later I had my wife get me my MIM Strat. Modern C neck. Again, had trouble fingering certain chords. Other issues, I packed it in. Months ago I tried again, having problems. Took out the acoustic, am very comfortable with most chords. I DO understand the longer I practice and play, I should have no problem. Yet this acoustic neck is a whole different feel than the strat. The rest, finger picking, Barr, etc, I guess doesn't apply yet. I agree on string gauge and the rest will make a difference eventually. Music, if a miracle happens, bluegrass, blues, NRPS, Dead, TP, etc.


Glendale, NY

Nov 8th, 2017 11:37 AM   Edit   Profile  

I stopped by Sam Ash today and held some Epiphone and Gibson SGs and LPs. Duh!!! That's what I'm looking for. Damn that SG is a wide, flat feeling neck. But comfortable. Didn't get to the Strats, as they were all behind the counter. And without buying anything, was not sure of having the salesperson handing my guitar after guitar. YET, when I am ready to buy, I will. Want to find a Strat with that nice wide neck. Not to mention those LPs weigh a ton, compared to a Strat.

Contributing Member

Broke Down

in the Brassicas
Nov 8th, 2017 02:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

Sounds like you're getting closer. Funny you should find the SG's. When I read your post I thought of an Epiphone SG in Pelham Blue I tried in a store one time. Beautiful looking guitar, but the width and flatness of the neck were not to my liking. But if that's your ballpark, you won't easily find that in a strat. Possibly one of the signature models for the rock players, I know the Eric Johnson has a 12" radius but it still has a 'vintage' Fender nut width. Maybe somebody else here knows. Or, as has been suggested, Warmoth, or USA Custom Guitars, for a replacement neck.

FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / Which neck shape for me?

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