Thin vs. Thick Neck Guitar: Know the Differences


When choosing your guitar, you will have to choose between a thin and a thick guitar.

That’s an easy task if you don’t know how big of a difference this part of your guitar makes.

Unfortunately, you may not like the tone or playability of the guitar you choose.

That’s why it is important to understand the difference between a thick and a thin guitar neck.

Such information ensures that you choose the neck that’s right for you.

For instance, thick necks facilitate great sustain while offering a relatively substantial feel.

On the other hand, guitarists with small hands find thin guitars easy and comfortable to play for obvious reasons.

This thin vs. thick neck guitar discussion will help you choose the right one.

A Comparison of Thin vs. Thick Neck Guitars

When it comes to thin and thick guitar necks, they compare in different ways.

On one side, guitars with thick necks have a large string spacing.

The fretboard radius is large, thus increasing the chances of hand cramping.

It also explains why it is an ideal choice for guitarists with large hands.

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On the other hand, guitars with thin necks are ideal for beginners.

If you have small hands or would like to play faster, a thin guitar neck will serve you right.

Expect the guitar to be relatively light too.

What Are the Advantages of Thin Guitar Necks?

Guitar players choose guitars with thin guitar necks for the following reasons;

Ideal for Beginners

Since a guitar is already a foreign object, it is advisable to use one that’s relatively manageable.

A guitar with a thin neck often fits this bill.

Nevertheless, you don’t have to settle for the thinnest guitar, but the thicker ones aren’t ideal until you get used to handling one.

You can choose the ideal thickness once you get used to guitar playing.

Allows Guitarists to Play Faster

Some guitar players find it easier to play faster if the guitars have thin necks.

It even gets better if the guitar’s neck is wide but also thin.

In other words, the neck is thin, whereas its fretboard is relatively wide.

Consequently, your hands get into a classical position, and playing single notes fast gets easy.

Suitable for Relatively Small Fingers and Hands

You will enjoy playing a thin-neck guitar if you have small fingers and hands.

That’s not the case when using a thick guitar neck since it is uncomfortable to hold and hard to play under these circumstances.

What Are the Advantages of Thick Guitar Necks?

On the other hand, thick guitar necks also have their advantages, including the following;

Their Strings Bend Easily

Does your guitar-playing style involve your thumb going over the guitar’s top?

If you are nodding, thick guitar necks are the most suitable for this style.

It is worth noting that their strings also bed quite easily.

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They Offer Ample Support

The hand supports a thick guitar neck offers more than what you get from its thin counterpart.

It explains why rhythm guitarists love thick guitar strings when chording.

They Reduce the Chances of Hand Cramping

Holding barre chords can be uncomfortable if your guitar neck is extremely thick.

Consequently, there are high chances of developing hand cramping since the grip becomes too tight.

Fortunately, that’s avoidable if you choose a thicker guitar neck.

What Should You Consider When Choosing a Guitar Neck Thickness?

If you want to choose the right guitar neck thickness, consider the following factors;

Level of Guitar Playing Experience

This often applies to beginners who have yet to master barre chords.

Unlike a thin guitar neck requiring less effort, a thick guitar neck makes it challenging.

Your Hand Size

For people with shorter fingers, guitars with thin necks suit them as they are comfortable.

Thin guitar necks allow the thumb to lie on the neck easily; hence you can reach the guitar with minimal effort.

Your Playing Style

Guitars with thin necks allow you to play fast; hence they are suitable for players in jazz and metal genres.

Thick guitar necks make it possible for you to relax when creating chords making them an excellent choice for rhythmic styles of guitar playing.

Will the Guitar’s Neck Thickness Affect Its Tone?

First, it is good to remember that various factors affect the tone of your guitar.

For instance, fretboard radius, neck width, and neck shape.

That said, the guitar’s neck thickness does indeed affect the tone.

A thinner neck usually sounds a bit sharper, while a thicker neck generates more sustain giving the guitar a resonant quality.

What Else Matters Besides Guitar Neck Thickness?

Whereas considering the thickness of your guitar neck is essential, you should also ensure that you consider other factors as well.

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Neck thickness, also called depth, shouldn’t be your only concern.

On the other hand, you should also consider other factors, including the following;

Fretboard Radius

It refers to how curved the guitar’s fretboard is.

Ensure that it doesn’t compromise your playing experience or the guitar’s playability in any way.

Neck Width

Equally important, how wide the guitar’s fretboard is can also make a huge difference.

Consider the size of your hands when choosing the most suitable neck width.

After all, the width should allow you to hold your guitar firmly and comfortably as you practice or perform.

Neck Shape or Profile

There are various shapes of guitar necks available.

Common options include V-shape, U-shape, D-shape, and C-shape.

It narrows down to your style, hands, preference, and playing techniques when choosing the most appropriate shape.

These features are meant to help you choose the most convenient guitar.

Considering them ensures you settle for a guitar you are comfortable playing, even for long periods.

Therefore, focus on them, too, lest you get a challenging guitar.

What Are Examples of Guitars with Thick Necks?

If you are looking for a guitar with a thick neck, consider the following options;

  • PRS Pattern Vintage
  • Gibson Rounded C
  • Fender Soft V
  • Fender Early ’50s U

What Are Examples of Guitars with Thin Necks?

If you are looking for a guitar with a thin neck, consider the following options;

  • ESP Thin U
  • Fender Modern D/ Modern C
  • Ibanez Wizard
  • PRS Thin Wide
  • Schecter Ultra-Thin U or C


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