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Neck Profiles - Thick Vs. Thin - What's your preference?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by maguire, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. Fat Neck (from fretboard surface to back of the neck)

    98 vote(s)
  2. Thin Neck (from fretboard surface to back of the neck)

    230 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. maguire


    Nov 24, 2010
    NYC / Westchester
    To me a thin (shallow) neck profile is one of the most desirable features of a bass (second to tone). I can get accustomed to a thicker neck, but I always love a flat, thin, quick playing neck profile, and I have always thought that this was universally better. My belief was that a thick neck profile was a cheap way to ad strength to a neck without using an expensive laminate neck build.

    Then I got a Stingray Classic and the neck wasn't as thin as I thought it would be, yet many people love the playability. I actually kind of like it too. All the Warwick's I've played have had decently chunky neck profiles as well. So there must be something good about a thick neck profile.

    So my question is:
    What kind of neck profile do you prefer and why?
    Does anyone prefer a thicker neck profile? If you do - please enlighten me to the advantages!

    Im not talking about string spacing or neck breadth. I'm talking about the cross section of the neck.
  2. ErikP.Bass

    ErikP.Bass Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2004
    Just out of curiosity, and as a point of reference, what are you playing that you consider to be a "thin" neck?

    I had a similar thought recently as my main basses as of late have been a Fender RW P and an '81 G&L L1K. The necks just feel so comfortable to me. That being said, I think there's a sweet spot also on a J neck which is "chunkier" compared to the above referenced basses. Say, a Fender RW J for example. Maybe not a great comparison though because nut width comes into play too. I'd say the Pino I have has a thicker profile compared to the RW P or G&L but it's still mighty comfortable.

    There's definitely something to this but it's hard to put your finger on it. I find myself going through phases.
  3. mrjim123

    mrjim123 Supporting Member

    May 17, 2008
    Elkhart, IN
    My G&L JB-2 neck is the best neck I've ever played because its a little thinner front to back than most basses. But, to each his own.
  4. maguire


    Nov 24, 2010
    NYC / Westchester
    Hey Erik -

    I have a Dingwall ABZ5 string that has an amazingly thin neck. I keep going back to that as the most comfortable neck I've ever played.

    Here is a list of some basses and descriptions in order of my preference:

    1. Dingwall ABZ 5: Thin, Flat and Smooth Satin Finish. The neck is responsive and soft at the same time - tough to describe, but heavenly to play.

    2. Alembic Epic 5: Thin, and Flat, but has bit more heft than the Dingwall. Very Comortable. The finish feels a bit "gummy" at times.

    3. Hamer Cruisebass 5: the neck profile is asymmetrical so it is thicker at the B string and very thin at the G. The asymmetry creates a ledge and gives your thumb a nice place to anchor. it also offers some reference for the placement of your hand on the fretboard.

    4. Stingray Classic 5: Medium and rounder profile. Glossy finish keeps it smooth.

    5. Warwick Corvette 6: Korean Standard Series 2010: Hefty but Flat and even.

    6. Warwick Corvette 5 2006: German Chunky and somewhat flat -a bit of curvature.

    As for Fender P Basses and J Basses - I have only tried MIM, and I liked them a lot - they felt natural and comfortable, but I didn't notice a big difference between the MIM J and P.

    i'd like to somehow take a mold of all of the neck profiles so I can see them clearly! I'm kind of obsessive about neck profiles for some reason.
  5. funkmangriff


    Dec 29, 2007
    i prefer a thinner neck but a longer nut, thats the only way i can describe it! I play a Lakland 44-02 and i find a thin neck and longer nut more natural for my hands. I find a jazz bass which has a thicker neck but thinner nut spacing a bit too cramped.
  6. sammyp


    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada
    i used to be obsessed with neck thinckness as a guitar player ....i was playing thin bass necks too till i got my german corvette ....pretty chunky but i find it quite playable ....now i realize it's width that affects me most ....i don't like wide ...i like narrow.
  7. I'm just the opposite...I like wide necks that are thin front to back. I much prefer my F bass 6 string to my Warwick Corvette, at least when playing down near the nut.
  8. funkmangriff


    Dec 29, 2007
    ahhhh yeah thats a better way of describing it! i prefer a thinner neck thats wider! Its just more natural for the fretting hand rather than cramping it in. I like my fingers as straight as possible while playing.
  9. majortoby


    Jul 2, 2009
    Tampa, Fl USA
    Nice thin J neck all the way for me....my '08 MIM neck is just I like my women.....long n lean :D
  10. boristhespider9


    Sep 9, 2008

    Lakland USA necks for the Joe Osborn (Jazz), which are available on their Glaubs (P-Bass), are the best IMO. Much better than a MIA Fender Jazz. 1.5 width at the nut and the neck THICKNESS tapers you get closer to the nut. .77" 1st Fret Neck Depth and .97" at the 12th fret (though I think .95" is more accurate at the 12th). The Skyline versions have the same dimensions but definitely don't feel as nice or comfortable (except on the wallet).


    So, I'm willing to pay 3x as much as a MIA Fender for a Lakland USA Joe Osborn and Bob Glaub (with the JO neck) due to the neck profile and a number of other reasons.

    It would also be nice if more bass manufacturers published neck thickness dimensions like Lakland does. Some do, some don't.
    StrangerDanger likes this.
  11. D.M.N.

    D.M.N. (O)))) Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    I like a really shallow vintage C shape. The AVRI 62 Precision and Jazz necks are perfect for me. The deeper U and more modern P-neck shape doesn't do it for me. I mean, I can adapt, but it isn't nearly as comfortable. Depth of the neck bugs me way more than say, nut width.
  12. Engine207

    Engine207 Losing faith in humanity...one call at a time.

    Jul 10, 2008
    Higley, AZ
    I might be the cat you're talking about. I like thick (front to back) and wide (old P-Bass size). Interestingly, it's not because "that's what I learned on" or "I grew up playing". I'd had a Ric 4001 as my only bass for most of the time I've played. It's only been since I stumbled across this damn place that I started spending money on different basses!

    Once I started playing other people's basses, I played an old fat-necked Precision and it filled my hand better, giving me a more comfortable grip. I find that my hand isn't struggling to 'fill the gap' between the neck and my palm. I also like the wider spacing, because my fingertips are proportionally as big as my hand, and I make fewer fingering flubs.

    My main fretted is a Fender 70s Classic Jazz. I like it specifically better than the Geddy, which, to my knowledge, is the only other modern Fender with 70s spacing. The Ged's neck is very skinny, which is exactly what many of its users love about it, but for me, it was a dealbreaker. I'd settled on a Highway One, until I found the Classic. I know... it's 1-1/2" wide, but if it were 1-3/4"... it'd be perfect.
  13. Foushi


    Jan 7, 2012
    ahhhh yeah thats a better way of describing it! "i prefer a thinner neck thats wider!" Its just more natural for the fretting hand rather than cramping it in. I like my fingers as straight as possible while playing. <<<<<< I totally agree with this statement. I just started playing the bass about a month ago and yes a thinner neck that's wider is more comfortable to me also.
  14. ErikP.Bass

    ErikP.Bass Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2004
    This is an interesting point. I'd be curious to see how the different manufacturer specs lined up. It may be a little obsessive to make it into a science but it's certainly one of the most important factors I consider in buying an instrument.

    I've been thinking a lot about it lately so I was happy to run into this thread. There's so much that goes into a neck in addition to profile as some have noted....frets, finish, radius etc. I guess I should focus more on playing though!
  15. I also prefer a thin (shallow/wide radius) and narrow (low fretboard width) neck. I have smaller hands and play with the bottom of the neck resting in my thumb pocket. Doing this on a jazz profile is always easier then a fatter P. The bigger radius and wide board pushes my thumb futher back and I strain to get up on the E string. My Jag neck is based off a jazz and is incredibly thin and narrow, it's even a little bit too small! Like I have big gorilla hands, but it's a joy to play.
  16. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    I prefer 1 and 1/2 to max of 1 and 5/8 nut and I've found medium thick rather then thin or fat for back of neck to top of fretbaord, works best for me.
  17. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I prefer a very narrow neck such as a Hofner, Kay Truetone, Vox Hawk IV, or Performer of medium depth.
  18. ExaltBass

    ExaltBass Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Twin Cities, MN
    My '59 P-Bass neck is perfect for me - Thin/Shallow & Wide (1-3/4 nut). All of my basses are 1-5/8 to 1-3/4 wide at the nut and towards the thinner profile... it works for me and is comfortable on longer gigs. I also love the asymmetrical neck on my Joiner P-J (also Thin/Shallow & Wide)
  19. I like chunky necks.
    MY '78 P is perfect, probably the biggest Fender 4 string neck I've experienced. I haven't measured the depth but it's quite a lot deeper than the stock neck from my Fender Frank Bello signature modern C neck.
    Speaking of which I have just replaced the neck on said Frank bello bass with Warmoth, and even though it has a J width at the nut it has quite a deep, chunky profile. I would liken it to a Spector NS bass if anyone has ever tried one.
    So for me I like chunky necks.
  20. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Whatever is on my Jazz bass. I like it very much.

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