Nut Width versus Neck Thickness

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dr. Cheese, May 11, 2019.

  1. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    @bgartist posted in my NBD thread about my SB5000 that Carvin has a nut with of 1.75” while my Pedulla is 1.875”. My old Lakland is 1.81”. This was an eye opener because I cannot imagine a bass playing more easily than my Carvin. The thing about the is despite of relatively narrow nut, the neck is very thin front to back while my Lakland was a fairly chunky C profile. My Pedulla has a neck profile that feels perfect to me too. It has that wide 1.875” nut with a wide and super thin neck. Sadowsky has the same 1.875” nut for five strings and a neck profile that feels identical to wide-spaced Pedullas. The Carvin, however, is making me challenge my assumptions. That narrow nut did not phase me at all. It plays as comfortably as my Pedulla. My guess is that I like the look of a wide nut, but the thing that really makes a bass most comfortable to me is the front to back thickness of the neck.
  2. I notice front-to-back thickness a lot more too. Nut widths are interchangeable to me, I can go from narrow to wide without really noticing.
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  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    ha! i'm more or less the opposite: i can love various front-to-back thicknesses (not too chunky) if the nut width is that 1.5 (like a J --- for 4 strings).
  4. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    central coast
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    I have loved the sound of the Smiths I've had, but in the long run the neck profile had too much "shoulder" to it for my taste (more like a D rather than C). Neck profile and string spacing make or break it for me. I always thought I'd be better off with a bit narrower nut and bridge spacing on 5 or 6 string (though not as tight as an Ibanez). Turns out after a lot of experimentation that the neck profile trumped those, and my Fodera 6'er is more towards the aircraft carrier wide of things (19mm bridge). But I can navigate it easily and everything is where it should be - in part due to the perfect (for me) neck profile.

    Only downside is my YYD 4-string feels like a toothpick, when I swap mid-set :D
  5. I've just moved from a '05 Jazz Dlxe 5 > 19mm Bridge to a G&L Trib L2500 > 17mm Bridge. The Trib neck is slightly larger front to back and about 3mm less wide at the nut, haven't measured mid neck but know it's not as wide as the Jazz.

    At 65 my hands aren't as supple and for me the slightly more "open" feel between
    thumb and palm of my fretting hand and the slight reduction in width has made it much more comfortable : )

    Cheers Maurie.
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  6. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    You sound a bit like me.
  7. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    I prefer modern jazz necks, but I'd rather go wider than thicker. I can get along on a modern p bass ok, but I have a dean acoustic that feels like I'm playing a can of coca cola. Only good for 1-5 thumpin'.
    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  8. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Wider than thicker is the way to go!
  9. I have found out that in my old age I've become far more sensitive to neck thickness and string spacing. The neck can get *somewhat* wider as long as it doesn't get really thick, but my preferences have definitely shifted towards narrow string spacing overall.
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  10. I got to play a Carvin JB5 last year, and that neck felt super comfortable and very familiar. It was the best thing about the bass! I’m pretty sure the SB5000 has the same profile. If I had $800, It would have followed me home.

    But when you’re splitting hairs on nut width, those numbers you posted are between .065” and .1” difference. I honestly don’t think that anyone will really feel the difference.

    I have only recently started to think about but width and how it translates to string spacing at the neck heel. On a 19mm bridge, I like a 1.75” nut. On 18mm, I go for 1.875. On a bass with a 17.5mm bridge, it has to be as close to 2” as possible (my L2500 is 1.9375 or 1-15/16”). All these combinations keep a static string spacing at the heel or “slap zone” of about 16.5mm.
    Combine a 17.5mm bridge with a 1.75” nut, and it starts getting a bit too tight for my fingers.
    Last edited: May 11, 2019
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  11. mbell75


    May 23, 2016
    Not a fan of the toothpick necks on Jazz basses, prefer P nut width and spacing but sometimes they can be a little too wide and flat and I recently realized I’m not a fan of modern C shaped necks although I’ve always played them. Found a neck on a P Bass I love, and it just happens to be on a dirt cheap $69 bass, go figure! It’s a 1.65” (42mm) nut width with a chunky U shaped neck. They don’t list the radius but whatever it is, I really like it! It might be under 9.5 because it’s more rounded than flat.

    Best news is their Jazz bass has the same neck, I ordered one immediately after getting this one. Been looking for a fat, chunky neck with a wide nut width on a Jazz Bass that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg forever. So I guess I like wide nut widths and chunky necks front to back but not really flat and wide. Also picked up an Epiphone Thunderbird today and really like the neck on that one too.

    89CD53D5-EBF8-4F43-9D76-F0C051D41AB1.jpeg 79815BE5-1B8A-4270-9687-EACC28EDCC9B.jpeg
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  12. Flaked Beans

    Flaked Beans

    Sep 9, 2005
    As a professsional Doublebasist I almost don't understand these problems with bass guitar players. Was that fodera/ fender/.... too thick neck? Excuse me doc but I have no any problem with any bass neck on the surface of earth.
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  13. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Finding cheaper Basses you love is a serious win win proposition!:bassist:
  14. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    That’s cool, but some accomplished double bassists are fairly picking about bass guitar necks too. As long as everyone ends up happy, it’s a good thing.:)
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  15. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    I don't understand why people equate thin neck with comfort. A P, for example feels much more comfy to me than a J.
  16. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    That’s why all Basses are not alike. Different people like different things.
  17. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    I like a wide nut and relatively thick necks. Mostly however I want a neck to be at uniform thickness throughout.
    rollie 55, wmmj and Dr. Cheese like this.
  18. BBQV


    Feb 13, 2010
    Uppsala, Sweden
    I like big, fat necks. My all time favourite is a ’68 Telecaster Bass neck, 1 3/4” wide and nearly an inch thick. If I have to choose I’d go for thickness over width, but I would rather have both...
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  19. I find the width of the neck has more effect on a basses playability for me than the thickness. My P Basses are 1.65 necks and for a long gig , I find them more comfortable than my Ibby which has a 1.50 neck. All the necks on my basses are about the same thickness but I did have a couple of 6 str. Ibbys , one with a thin neck and one with a thick neck. I found the thicker neck was easier to play. Not by much and not a game changer but noticeable. Sold the thin neck one.
    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  20. ThinCrappyTone

    ThinCrappyTone Guest

    Oct 1, 2011
    i prefer a thin neck made out of thin sounding tonewood
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