Getting used to a bigger neck?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Grizz2k, Nov 11, 2020.

  1. Grizz2k


    Jun 19, 2020
    I'm a guy with smaller hands - my 5'3" wife and I wear the same gloves comfortably - and maybe because of that I've preferred my 36mm Stingray and 38mm Jazz necks. I've owned three 5-string basses previously - all low end (<$500), all resold - and didn't care for any of them much.

    That being said, I'm trying to find work as a session bassist and shopping for a P bass. I've got my eyes set on a Fender Original 60s but I'm anxious that the '63 C 44mm neck will be unplayable. It's not out of our budget but it's not an easy purchase either. Living and working conditions combined with COVID make trying one out in a shop unlikely.

    My question is whether you've been in a similar position and what your conclusion was? Is it something I would likely get used to or am I better off looking for something with a more familiar neck profile?
    JRA likes this.
  2. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 Life is short, buy the bass. Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    There are quite a few Precisions with A necks, essentially a Jazz bass neck. Find one of those or slap a A neck on a Precision that you like. Maybe build a P? That wide 60's board isn't for me either.
  3. Merlo79


    Feb 14, 2014
    IMHO if you wear your bass high and practice not really pushing on the back of the neck with your thumb, no neck is too thick, the hand size is not an important part of an equation. Of course, the same might be true for the opposite situation.
    MCF, Hounddog409 and EatS1stBassist like this.
  4. thabassmon


    Sep 26, 2013
    New Zealand
    I think along these lines, when dealing with the playability of a four string bass it's more about effective hand positioning than it is about sheer hand size, within reason of course.

    If your bass is at a height that encourages fingerboard access, and you do not wrap you hand around the neck. There no reason why you would find the p bass neck unplayable. Think about the physical relationship between you and your bass and try and make it easier for yourself to play.
  5. danster

    danster Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2007
    Connecticut, USA
    I had a 50's reissue P bass that sounded great, but I couldn't hack the thick, rounded, 1.75 width. Some folks love it.
    DTRN and dcbluesbass like this.
  6. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Learn proper technique. I’ve known two exceptional bass players with short stubby fingers who would blow you away on electric or upright.
  7. RattleSnack


    Sep 22, 2011
    I second this. I can't be sure of your limitations, but I would say that any person with healthy grip can easily adjust to any of series production bass guitars. Its just that some folk have very strong personal preferences.
    I have played or play 4-5-6 stringers, short, long and 35" scale, flat or vintage fretboard, double bass and EUB. If you have decent technique, none of those is out of your reach.
    Dr. Keebs, lfmn16 and Mili like this.
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    1) Of course, I have to say it. Practice. You'll be fine. Victor Wooten has TINY hands. My fingers are literally almost an INCH longer than his. He can literally walk under my stretched out arm without having to duck much. (I attended his camp in 2000 and he did it while we were goofing off on opening day. And I'm 6'1", not ridiculously tall.) Steve Bailey is equally as short and has small hands too. And he can KILL on both upright and 6 string electric.

    Lecture over...

    2) This is the best time ever to be a bass player. Get yourself a P bass. If you can't stand the neck, get yourself a Jazz neck to put on it. Or get yourself any number of high-end P bass clones that come with J-style necks. There's no need to be miserable with so many choices out there.

    Short version: Take a balanced approach. You "should" be able to navigate a regular P neck, even with small hands. But, if it doesn't go well, get a neck you can work with. There's just too much quality gear out there right now to stress over this. :D
    Giffro, matdras, dbsfgyd1 and 8 others like this.
  9. Vodyanoi


    Mar 24, 2020
    My hands are on the smaller side. I don't own a P bass currently, but when i tried one at the music store i didn't find it *that* hard to adjust to it. As someone who only played with Soundgears for nearly two decades, i did find the neck considerably larger than that of my SRs yet definitely playable. Not so much for faster passages, but i guess that would come through practice & proper technique. And if there's something i can't quite explain, the bigger neck felt quite comfortable though in a different way than the necks of the SRs.

    In any case, i wouldn't shop without trying one first, but there's always a return policy that you can take advantage of. Do check what the terms are, if you decide to order one.
  10. Mili


    Nov 14, 2015
    You say small hands, I hear bad technique!
    Go check Instagram, full of 7 years old kids with a fiver and they play very hard lines.
  11. I kinda agree, people with small hands can play 6 strings or upright bass. Don't see issue with a pbass, but with that being said, there are many options for thinner necks, Just got to try them out.
  12. inthevelvet

    inthevelvet Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2012
    Washington DC
    Technique can help, but if you prefer a smaller neck maybe that's just your thing. I keep trying to bond with a 1.75 but if I'm honest with myself it's just a bit too wide for me. I'm an average size guy(5' 9") with average size hands and 1.625 is just home for me. No extra effort required to be comfortable, it just fits. Could I strive for perfect technique and use a 1.75? Probably but seems like common sense to just go with what works.
    groove pump likes this.
  13. I can share my experience, I'd say I have average hands and fingers, not too big or small. I had only played a Deluxe Jazz Bass for the last 20 years! With its awesome comfortable neck. Lately I really wanted a Fender P and I could test at the local store the Am Professional, the Vintera and The AO. The professional's neck was a bit easier to play, but the sound and feel was nowhere near of the AO. And it was surprisingly easy for me to adapt, I went to the store a couple of times, and only the first the neck felt a bit weird; it is "wide" meaning tall, but the "depth" is very manageable. The second time I played it I was cool with it, now I'm loving it as I've ever loved any bass...

    I am so happy with it, it's an awesome instrument, and in my case the difference in price with the Am Pro was little more than 200€, I didn't give it a second thought.
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  14. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i prefer narrow, skinny necks. but i can play any of them. i think that's true of everyone: play 'em all, prefer what you like. also: p-basses don't get you studio work. chops get you the callbacks!

    it's good to get what you want. it's better to play what you get. good luck with your hand size! :thumbsup:

    FWIW: you can build the 'perfect' ax, on a budget, from choice parts (your preferences!), shipped to your door, and all you need for assembly is a few common tools! if you can do your own setups = you're there!
  15. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv

    Watch anyone really good play a string bass and you'll realize that size doesn't matter - for basses anyway. :D
  16. Bassdirty


    Jul 23, 2010
    Don't most P/J basses have J necks?

    Maybe that's just been my experience.
    My squier P/J does.

  17. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Same. I have average-sized hands and "can" play on fatter or wider necks, but I see no reason to do so when average-to-small necks are more comfortable for me. Life's too short to waste time on solving a problem that is not a problem.

    Specific to the OP's question, when I decided that I wanted to have a p-bass, I built a parts bass out of a Fender body and a replacement jazz-style neck, and it works great for me.
    Davbassdude, EatS1stBassist and JRA like this.
  18. Thombas

    Thombas Guest

    Apr 28, 2009
    There are some nice p's with j necks out there - G&L LB-100 comes with a j-sized neck option, AFAIR. It's so tedious when someone asks a legit question about gear, and people start yelling JUST PRACTICE MORE. Get something you feel comfy on and makes you play your best, and practice on that :)
    Kubicki Fan and obieito like this.
  19. Grizz2k


    Jun 19, 2020
    Getting a lot of weird feedback here.
    I'm not sure where people are getting confused - I'm not concerned about physical capabilities. Like I mentioned, I played a five string neck in a gigging band. My issue was (almost a decade ago) that it wasn't comfortable, not that my technique was so poor I couldn't play it. It's like having a car that sits lower than you're used to - you can still drive it, but it's not your preference.
    Hopefully this clarification brings in more constructive opinions.

    Reminder: The question is whether you have personally been able to get used to very different neck sizes or if you're only comfortable with one size, regardless whether it's large or small.
    John Stephen and CallMeAl like this.
  20. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    Look for a MTD CRB. It is a Precision bass as far as electronics, etc. but has an asymmetrical neck, which makes a world of difference. Many people simply swap necks and use a Jazz neck with its slimmer profile.

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