Nut Width versus Neck Thickness

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

  1. Let's coin a new phrase. Neck Depth. If the neck width at the nut is a measurement from side to side, depth would be the proper measurement front to back. Maybe we can determine increments and assign them letters, so a neck might be described as an A neck Jazz (1.5" nut width) with a T depth (1.25" or whatever would be the correct number for a T depth neck). Just a thought.
  2. staurosjohn

    staurosjohn Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2010
    Nottingham, MD
    I am ‘sensitive’ to both... I have 3- J (A) neck basses of varying profile depths... and a Mike Dirnt P (all Franken’s) with a width of 1.59. Here is a link showing profiles:

    Neck profile measurements
  3. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    That makes a lot of sense to me.
  4. Ampslut

    Ampslut Supporting Member

    May 15, 2017
    With me, neck profile/nut width/scale length is directly related to the comfort level of my left wrist. My hands/fingers seem to be able to adjust to any reasonable combination but my wrist won't. I had a Lakland 5 string that I just loved the tone but my wrist hated the 35" scale so I ended up selling it.
    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  5. I like wider necks that are thin front to back.
    I'm right at home on my P.
    IMHO a lot depends on the ratio of width to depth, FB shape,
    how high you wear your bass, what kind of angle the neck is from the ground,
    hand shape and plain old personnal preference.
  6. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i have one P neck on one of my fretlesses: it's not my favorite --- like the J necks are, but it delivers and i have no problem switching, playing for hours, etc.

    some folks are 'insistent' on their specs, some just have preferences. i think most players would play the thing if handed to them --- it's not life or death. but if you've been playing a long time, you know what you like and what feels the best: so you get to have's part of the game/fun.
    RandM and Dr. Cheese like this.
  7. TNCreature

    TNCreature Jinkies! Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2010
    Philadelphia Burbs
    Both aspects matter to me, but I really wouldn't be able quote any measurements or statistics.
    My Warwick Corvette $$ feels like home to me.
    P.S. I've also recently realized that the finish on the neck makes a difference . I was playing my P last week on a humid day, and my hand was experiencing way too much drag from the highly lacquered neck. It definitely impacted my playing.
  8. Keger Jupit

    Keger Jupit Inactive

    May 10, 2018
    The Great PNW!!
    :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao:
    Dean N likes this.
  9. DavC


    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    to throw a wrench into your thoughts ...

    radius ... and backside profile

    the last few years , i've grown to prefer , for 5 strings , the Warmoth Deluxe 5 .. 1.75 , with the asymmetrical backside !!!

    make my 5ver feel like a chunkier 4 ... sort of ...!

    and i like a radius of around 10 ... if something is wide , thin with a much flatter radius , it seems to aggravate my old arthritic hands/fingers .. why i couldn't bond well with my Warrior ...

    and to small of neck , radius , nut , thickness ... also hurts my hands ... like my old Geddy , Alembic Elan II 4 stringers ..

    maybe it's just the price for playing piano/bass/gtr since the mid 60's ..!!??
    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  10. juggahnaught


    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    I wasn't aware there was a correlation between my collar size and my inseam.

    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  11. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    I think you are spot on about the shallow neck being Key to the feel of the neck. My 1965 Jazz had a 60's Shallow-C shape with a 7.25" radius. Bought it in 1966 and it was stolen in 1976. Over a three year period in the early 70's I performed with it ~750 times - I knew that neck well. Finally found another Jazz with the same neck specs in 1985 and I bought that. It's the one in my Avatar - I've had it for a few years now.

    Tried the '66 Jazz when it first came out and was really glad I had purchased the '65. 1966 Jazz had a deep U shape on the neck - terrible. Took me close to 10-years to find a shallow C-shape neck with the 7.25 radius again. P-basses really felt clunky to me because their neck was wider and deeper.

    In 2009 I bought an inexpensive 5-string and its neck is wider but it still has a shallow depth. I have no trouble playing that when a 5-string is needed It's 45mm wide at the nut and has a 12" radius. My Grandson also got a bass two Christmases ago when we were visiting in Australia. It's a Squier P-bass with P and J pickups. When I played it I was impressed. The neck was shallower than any P-Bass I'd ever seen and I could comfortably play it. And it sounded good too - far better than the piece of crap I started with. Yep! depth of neck is definitely a major consideration!

    So, yeah, I think that depth of the neck makes a huge difference.
    RandM and Dr. Cheese like this.
  12. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I bet I would like the feel of your Basses too.
    Rip Van Dan likes this.

  13. Some "OOOO" steel wool would fix that. Tape over the PU's and a light rub down to take the "shine" off it.
    TNCreature likes this.
  14. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    This is such a personal thing. I believe that hand size and playing style both are important factors that influence our preferences on neck thickness and string spacing.

    I play mostly 5 and 6 string basses when I play electric but about half the time I play upright bass. I have fairly small hands.

    The electric basses that are the most comfortable for me to play are my Peavey Cirrus basses. They have tight string spacing at both the nut and bridge and the necks are fairly thin front to back. Those basses also have superb fretwork and set up with very low buzz free action. When I play them I have nothing about the bass that distracts me from the music.

    That said, I also own a Roscoe Century 6 fretless, G. Gould ggi5 and ggi6 and a Music Man Bongo 6. The string spacing at the bridge is a little wider on the Roscoe and Gould basses but the width at the nut is comfortable and the necks are not too thick. The Bongo is a challenge for me since it is much wider at the nut than any of my other basses. The width at the bridge is fine but that wide nut takes a bit of getting use to. The 34" scale (all my Cirrus, Gould and Roscoe basses are 35") and the thin neck on the Bongo still make it fast and comfortable to play but I am aware that it would be a better fit for me if the nut were less wide.

    I also own a lovely USA G&L M 2500. It has a deeper neck but is very narrow at nut and bridge. It is a very fast feeling Just very easy to get around on and the neck sets up with low action due to the plek job (the Gould basses also are plecked and set up quite low).

    Perhaps we overthink these things. I never hesitate to play my Bongo because the neck is wider at the nut. Every one of my basses sounds and plays great and I enjoy them immensely.

    Time to practice, isn't it? Oh look, the Bongo is right here on the stand!
    RandM and Dr. Cheese like this.
  15. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I am going to practice tonight after I record my last exams for this semester today.:hyper::bassist::hyper:
    RandM, ajkula66 and Flaked Beans like this.
  16. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    Well @Dr. Cheese Cheese, if you're ever in the Seattle area, let me know and I'll see if we can't make that happen.
    Flaked Beans and Dr. Cheese like this.
  17. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis

    Sounds good, I could ride with Gaolee and check out your basses.
    Rip Van Dan and Flaked Beans like this.
  18. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    I just have the two of them, but your welcome to check them out. Be sure to let me know before you make the trip though so I'm here when you get here. Missouri is a bit farther than commute distance.;)
    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  19. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I am 10 about miles east of downtown STL in Illinois, but I get your point.:)
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
    Rip Van Dan likes this.
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