Why are skinny necks considered "faster"

Duane_the_tub

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Skinny neck forces thumb behind the neck, compared to blues style grips. Less neck contact and lower friction to move around.
I think this is it. My old guitar teacher used to call it "The Spider," the fretting hand shape in which the very tips of the thumb in the back and fingers on the board are the only parts of the hand in contact with the neck. He was also a shredder extraordinaire and loved to show off how many notes he could unleash with The Spider. I think it's an 80s thing that appeals to some players because that's what they learned on. Small hands maybe, but I have big ol' mitts so I don't know. I prefer chunkier necks as well.
 

mudface

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My father taught me to play when i was eight years old...... the first thing that he expressed was not to exaggerate my movements.... keep my fingers as close as possible to the strings without muting and practice scales and chord changing with only shifting the hand and spreading to reach. I did this on a fat neck Martin.

Later when i got a skinny neck 1978 Les Paul Custom i had to cup my hand more to keep my fingers at a low profile. My reach would improve but my hand would fatigue easier...... though with practice i got used to it. But when ever i switched back to a fat neck it was way more comfortable and easier.

Now at me old age i really enjoy a fat neck over the thin ones.......... i find myself not over exaggerating my movements like i do on thin necks.

Speed comes from practice and experience with the fretboard,... not so much from neck size. But that is just my opinion and experience. Everyone has their own developmental process.
 

1all's Pub

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I like them on the fatter side, but I don’t notice either fat or slim effecting my “speed” when playing... that’s just marketing BS.

Fret size... now there is something that effects my speed. The taller/narrow frets on my 2018 R8 do slow me down a bit (especially after I have been playing my 2014 R8 with its lower/wider frets). But after a few minutes I adjust for the most part... and frankly I can’t play ”fast” well enough for it to really be an issue. LOL!
 

GT40

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I 'd been wondering this too. Since the universe has presented me with an opportunity to be ar home a lot with time on my hands, I decided to try some things out.

I've never really had a problem with any neck profile and never noticed any major shift in playing one profile over another.

I lined up my M2M with a fat '57 neck, my LPC with a skiny D shape maple neck, my strat with whatever kind of neck that is and my daughter's schecter which has a paper thin shred neck.

Set a metronome to 160 bpm and played some fast runs on each guitar aiming to get each run correct 5 consecutive times, then did the same at 165bpm, then 170, 175 and so on.
Once I got to 205 bpm my hands just couldn't keep up with my brain and the metronome anymore. Maybe the schecter was slightly faster, I got 2 consecutive "perfect runs" at 205 vs never getting more than one on any of the others, but probably just luck.

So, for me at least, the neck profile doesn't seem to impact my ability to play faster. Well at least until fret access becomes a problem on the LPs.
 
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Truth011

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Thumb over player:skinny neck; thumb behind the neck:fat neck.

In the 80's we all played skinny necks.....
 

Imperial

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To me, a speedy neck has 12“ radius (or 12” to 16” compound radius), medium jumbo frets, rosewood or ebony fretboard, low (but not too low) action and Elixir strings. Neck profile or thickness doesn’t matter too much. My Gibsons all are like this and all feel as fast, but their neck profile are anything from asymmetric slim taper to a chunky 50’s vintage.
 

monstruo_loco

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I’ve grown more comfortable with thicker necks if the profile doesn’t have ridiculous shoulders, if I can’t fret with the thumb over the top then it won’t work for me. Like others have said, arthritis has made it more difficult to play an extended time on a thinner neck & I’m comfortable up to an inch at the 12th, thicker than that just doesn’t make any sense to me.
 

swampblues

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I love a fat 57, 58 neck but as someone else mentioned my favorite now due to hand problems is a 59 and 60 I play thumb behind no matter what neck Size it is
 

Ronkirn

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the size of the neck is not the determinative which establishes the speed with which one can play the guitar... the Size is the factor that determines if the neck is comfortable for the guitarist... the more the neck is accommodating to the guitarist the faster he can play the guitar.. There are plenty of legato wizards playing fat necks..

If ordering a guitar, get what feels right to ya, not what someone else plays..

r
 

pondcaster

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the size of the neck is not the determinative which establishes the speed with which one can play the guitar... the Size is the factor that determines if the neck is comfortable for the guitarist... the more the neck is accommodating to the guitarist the faster he can play the guitar.. There are plenty of legato wizards playing fat necks..

If ordering a guitar, get what feels right to ya, not what someone else plays..

r
After reading through this thread I was coming here to post basically the exact same opinion as @Ronkirn just did above so no need to rerun.

Ime, the actual differences between the 50s (sightly thicker) and the 60s (slightly slimmer) necks on the LPs I've played (and measured) are minimal at best. Now in the world of Leo, it's a bit more defined or so it seems.

For me, it's more about the shape than the width/depth.
 

Adinol

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So , if you compare a '60 Les Paul reissue with a 'slim" neck to a '58 les paul reissue with a "fat" neck, supposedly you can shred blistering pentatonic runs al-la Joe Bonamassa" ( on the slim necked '60), but the fatter neck'd '58 will slow you down & be more difficult achieve the same (blistering speed)
Just wondering what the logic of this is & if it's generally true?
This might be the beginning of a new "tone wood" debate.

I also never understood why "skinny" is "fast".
 

Guitarpete blues

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So , if you compare a '60 Les Paul reissue with a 'slim" neck to a '58 les paul reissue with a "fat" neck, supposedly you can shred blistering pentatonic runs al-la Joe Bonamassa" ( on the slim necked '60), but the fatter neck'd '58 will slow you down & be more difficult achieve the same (blistering speed)
Just wondering what the logic of this is & if it's generally true?
I never get the speed thing. Surely it's about the note you play and your phrasing. I wouldn't hire someone who can sing fast. But I would if they sang beautifully
 

CoolRene

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I have recently played a ‘64 SG reissue with a wide, thick neck. It is the fastest I have played. Skinny necks usually give me a bad grip and make my hand cramp. The only thin neck I feel comfortable with is a ‘59 Strat: thin, but round and wider than the usual profile.
 

Pete M

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Thin necks are easier to play. :dunno: Skinny nuts are weird though.
 

Guitarpete blues

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Joe seems to have no problem with his 50s necks.
If you can't sound good on 50
Personally, I can "shred" as well on any good neck.
I just prefer chunkier necks because it feels better for my arthritic hands.
The smaller necks make my hands fatigue faster.
i agree. Plus if you can't sound good on a 58 base ball neck historic Gibby, time to take up another instrument maybe
 

gkelm

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Party of it might be that when shredding picked up steam in the 80s, most of those guys were playing thinner necks.
 

Japri

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Personally, I can "shred" as well on any good neck.
I just prefer chunkier necks because it feels better for my arthritic hands.
The smaller necks make my hands fatigue faster.
this is true... I used to comfortable with the wizard neck profile, and later finger pain came. first on the join of the ring finger, and then the thumb... chunky neck really helps. because i don't have to grip my thumb so close to the palm. it really helps.
 

gitapik

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Don't see a lot of flamenco players on thin neck guitars...but they don't play much above the 14th fret, either
 
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Ace1

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I guess I'm the opposite of most of you guys. I prefer skinny (slim taper) necks. Fat neck cause me fatigue after a while in the cowboy chord area.
 


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