Are contours other than standard thin worth it for tone?

heavybluesy

Active member
Messages
40
Will going from a standard thin contour to a 59 roundback even change the tone that much? How about to boat or fat? I just don't want to get a neck that I don't like playing on in hopes of getting a thicker tone. If I get a thick neck can I get used to it by building muscle memory? I wonder if boat is comfortable, the bottom of palm to the tip of my middle finger is eight inches. Thoughts and experiences, especially if your fingers are the same length as mine?

ALSO! I am double jointed so my thumb bends back a lot when it touches the neck. Any doublejointed people have thoughts on the most comfortable contour considering my finger measurements?
 

spauldingrules

Senior member
Messages
720
I tell ya what, my boatneck tele is a fat sounding BEAST.  I think the neck makes more difference than most (not here) realize.  It took some getting used to, but it really is quite comfy once you get used to it.
 

koshersteel

Senior member
Messages
190
The thicker the neck, the fatter the tone. this is an extension of the more mass = more sustain equation. Necks are a huge contributor to the overall tone of the guitar. Between the fretboard and the nut and the tuners they have much more interaction with the strings (the largest single generator of tone, even more so than the pickups) than any other aspect of the guitar. With some bridges the guitar the strings never even touch the body wood of the guitar

That being said the most important aspect of the neck is that it is comfortable for you to play. I used to prefer thicker necks but these days I seem to prefer the "standard thin" profile. It sounds like your fingers are about a half inch longer than mine so you may enjoy the feel of a fatter neck. You'll definitely notice and probably appreciate the changes to your tone and sustain.

What kind of neck and fretboard wood are you considering? What will it be installed on?
 

heavybluesy

Active member
Messages
40
wenge neck, macassar ebony fingerboard------>installed on MIM strat alder body(seymour duncan pickups).

So I am guessing boat will be that much more comfortable than the fat back? I am afraid of trying fat!

how comfortable are the boat and fat necks? Do your muscles get used to them or something?
 

Orpheo

Senior member
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2,738
heavybluesy said:
wenge neck, macassar ebony fingerboard------>installed on MIM strat alder body(seymour duncan pickups).

So I am guessing boat will be that much more comfortable than the fat back? I am afraid of trying fat!

how comfortable are the boat and fat necks? Do your muscles get used to them or something?

very comfortable. for me, its like slipping in a pair of old slippers (is that the right phrase? or did I just watch too much  'married with children'?).

about sustain/tone... I hate to admit it, but I really think that the fatter the neck, the tighter and fatter the sound will be. not that the standard thin will give you a thin,mediocre sound, absolutely not! there's still something as wood quality and tonal property. but I think it might give for some players just that little edge, that little amount of balls they were looking for that pickups weren't able to provide.
 

heavybluesy

Active member
Messages
40
I'm decided on boat contour, thanks for the input everyone. cant wait to show u guys pics in like 2 months or whenever its done
 

tfarny

Senior member
Messages
4,481
Nah, you should pick a neck that's comfortable, first and foremost. THEN you can consider tone. Last thing you want to do is feel you're "fighting" your guitar when you play it.
Look, there are a million ways to adjust your tone on a solid body electric, an electric guitar is NOT the same as an acoustic. That means that wood choices and construction techniques are not the be-all and end-all of your sound. I agree with people here that thicker necks help with sustain and fullness of your sound, but the effect won't be NEARLY as much as a change in pickups or amp. I would say that going with thicker strings probably gets you just as far in the same direction.

You should really go and play some of the different necks out there before you buy a boat neck. Here are some guitars that you could try to get the sense of how they feel:
Standard thin: American standard strat
Wizard: Ibanez something or other (help me out here metal guys)
Boatneck / fatback: Fender '59 RI tele or probably a number of the vintage reissue Fenders out there.
'59 roundback: PRS McCarty or any of the "SE" line (I'm very sure about this one)
SRV: Fender SRV Signature strat
Clapton: Fender Clapton Signature stat (NOTE: the W contour is sharper than the Fender one)
Wolfgang: Between the SRV and standard thin. I had one of these for about a week and actually thought it was really nice, though it doesn't seem to be a popular choice.

I have relatively large hands and I play slower, more chord-based stuff than a lot of these young 'math metal' guys, and my faves are the '59 and the SRV with a 1 11/16 contour. But your opinion may be different. So get to Guitar Center and start trying those necks out before you make your decision.
 

JamesL

Senior member
Messages
1,019
I'd sacrifice tone for comfort any day....

No matter how good a guitar sounds, I'll never want to pick it up if it's uncomfortable.  :guitaristgif:
 

heavybluesy

Active member
Messages
40
Man, I just don't have any of those guitars to test. I am trying to get the best balance between most wood with comfort! I have narrowed it down to 59 roundback and SRV. A couple questions

1) I am assuming the SRV is asymetric with less wood near your thumb, and more wood near the bottom of your fretting fingers...?

2) (((The site is lame for not showing a picture of what the 59 contour looks like exactly at the 12th fret, because the picture isnt representative of the .97 height at that point.....))) so....which is more comfortable near the 12th+ frets for playing, SRV or Roundback(I play fast blues with bends)? I can't tell from the picture how thick the sides are in the roundback, so I don't know if it would be comfortable for my fingers. I hope somebody understands what I am getting at here. I want to compare the feel of these two near the 12th fret to my mexican strat.

The distance from the bottom of my palm to my middle finger tip is 8 inches. Should I be worried about how either one of these custom contours feel? Judging my MIM strat I could say I could use more wood, but don't know which one is more comfortable, srv or roundback.  I want more wood in my neck, I am just afraid of paying $700 for an uncomfortable neck. Thanks for reading this far if you made it all the way through.

Again, I have no guitars to test, I just want to hear experiences.
 

heavybluesy

Active member
Messages
40
I should just ask, considering the length of my fingers, do you think its likely I would get a 59 roundback and possibly regret it because its not comfortable? The picture looks like its not thicker on the sides, Im just not sure if its like that near the 12th fret!?
 

blue313

Senior member
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2,824
Unfortunately without having your hands and preferences at my disposal...its really hard to make the call.  Both the 59 and SRV will have just a little more wood, but the difference kind of comes down to the asymmetry.  If you just want more wood, I'd say the 59 is a safer bet.  Your hands sound like they're about the same size as mine, and both the PRS SE and Fender SRV are both comfortable to me.  IMHO I'd rather wear a neck into an asymmetrical shape over years of bare left handed 'tooling'.

There's no pawn shop or friend or music teacher where you could play a Gibson, PRS SE, etc?  I know you said you don't have the easy access some of us do. But considering how much concern it is to you, can you arrange something?

Have you played anyone elses guitar and liked it, either acoustic or electric?   Pictures are nice, but are no substitute for that feeling when you grab a neck for the first time and strum a few.  :guitaristgif:
 

tfarny

Senior member
Messages
4,481
Both are good, imho, the 59 is a bit thicker feeling, and the SRV has that assymetrical thing. I didn't notice anything weird at all, thought it felt very natural, but somebody on here once complained about it. But look, nobody here is going to be able to give you a real answer as to whether one of these will feel comfortable to YOUR hands. I did recently sell a vintage-type strat with SRV to a shredder guy - initially he thought it was weird but later sent me an email saying he couldn't stop playing it and was getting rid of his ibanez things.
 

V-P

Active member
Messages
30
Alright, first post!
Dude, you have large hands!
The reason I felt that I needed to answer is that I also have a "double-jointed" thumb.
I thought for a long time that I was a thin contour-guy but in the last couple of years i've reallized that my thumb hates thin contours!
Before, it wouldn't take long before i had to take a break while playing, especially when playing larger chords because of my thumb fatiguing.
Now, when I'm almost exclusively playing fatter necks, thats all gone.

I really enjoy the SRV contour alot. It has a fat feel and if you want it to be a bit thinner, just move your thumb down slightly.
Otherwise I would definatly go for a fatback if I were you, as said before, you large hands!
BTW I'm seven inches (fingertip to palm that is).
 

GoDrex

Senior member
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3,619
Does double jointed thumb mean that your thumb bends back really far? I have the exact opposite condition - I can't bend my thumbs back at all. Still I'm thinking of trying a fatter neck than the standard thin. I can't really decide what kind of neck I like.
 

heavybluesy

Active member
Messages
40
Yikes, so maybe boat and fat are back in the picture. So I have to decide between fat, boat, srv, and 59. yikes!

So, luckily, a shop nearby has PRS SE's. So is the 59 actually based off of the PRS. What I am trying to actually find out is how similar the 59 is to the PRS SE neck, all around and ESPECIALLY near the 12th fret and on. Just in case I like SE neck I want to be sure that ordering a 59 will get me the same exact thing if not similar enough.

Please bare with me everyone! I have the all the woods and options decided, once I figure out the contour im going straight to ordering the neck. This is my last chance to figure things out. 

Thanks again to everyone who has helped me so far.
 

heavybluesy

Active member
Messages
40
My thumb bends back a good 60-70 degrees. So I am also wondering if the SRV is more comfy for the thumb than the 59 or boat, because thumb comfort is very important.

Could I maybe get a tally of how many people have thumbs like this or are double jointed, and what contours you find comfortable. I haven't heard from many people with the fatback, are these uncomfortable for most people or something?
 

Steiger

Active member
Messages
86
My left thumb is double jointed and I'm deciding between fat, boat, srv, and 59 as well.

With my bad technique I usually have my thumb hanging over the top to help with single double bends and various chords as that's the most comfortable and useful place for it to be.

I'm interested to see how I'll fare with a large neck - I have large hands as well.
 
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