Which neck (profile, radius and nut width) for smaller hands? Bridge and frets?

MidnightMinstrel

New member
Messages
8
As the title suggests, i'm looking for your suggestions on what neck may be best for me. I come from smaller instruments (smaller necks) and I'm transitioning to 6 string. i'd really like to put together a Warmoth custom 7/8 body strat with a Mustang/jag 24 " scale neck. By the way, is there a real difference in quality between the Fender and CBS?

I just returned a Fender Player Series Mustang for a number of reasons, one being it had a fret buzz and was a tad uncomfortable to play. I like the idea of having a Mustang neck on a Strat body.

My hands are relatively small: From tip of my middle finger to base of palm is 7", my middle finger is just under 3 inches long. My span from thumb to pinky is 8.25 inches if im really stretching, 8 inches if im relaxed, middle finger tip is half an inch long but my middle finger near the base is 13/16s of an inch wide (my fingers are a bit chubby).

That being said, here's what i'm thinking.

For neck profile my choices are between standard thin and wizard. The modern "C" profile of the Mustang I had was alright, but maybe it felt like I could go thinner. Apparently the thickness of the Fender Mustang necks are supposed to be 8.20 - 9.00. I think I could do well with a thinner neck.

Nud width is where I have trouble, because my fingers are kinda fat, it would make sense to maybe have a wider nut, but because my hands are small it'll make for a longer reach as well. So im not sure what I should go with here, will 15/8 have my fingers too close to the other strings? Make it harder to play? Should I go with 1 11/16? The Fender Mustang I tried was 1.650 apparently, but it kinda felt like I needed more space, but also I come from instruments that have wider string spacing because they have less strings on them, so maybe I just wasnt used to it?

The there's neck radius, I'm thinking Ill go with the compound 10-16, I think I would prefer a flatter radius for lead playing, but also don't want to sacrifice comfort for chords and rhythm... 10-16 seems like a decent compromise, although will it create fret buzz? I like a really low action with ease of play / soft touch, so flatter makes more sense and I really hate fret buzz, so want to do everything I can to prevent it.

Lastly, and this doesnt concern my hands as much, but what bridge and fret size would you recommend, I really have no idea what to go with here, except that maybe a larger fret would make for softer touches ? In terms of a bridge, there are a lot of choices, some of which i've never heard of.. What's the standard ? What will prove to be better in the long run / less issues?

Anyways thanks for reading my wall of text, im hoping I can get some suggestions from yall. Im really looking forward to putting together a guitar i'll love.
 

kucoyote

Active member
Messages
33
I’ll try to hit all the items you mention.
Small hands: shorter scale length means smaller distance between frets so will be easier to stretch your fingers out for chords.

Neck thickness: this is more subjective. That being said, a thinner neck means you can wrap your fingers farther around than a fatter neck, however I think this is probably have the least impact with small hands.  Try some styles out at a local guitar store and find the shape that is right for you.

Nut width: you are right on here.  With thicker fingers the extra spacing with a wider nut will make it less likely to touch other strings.

Radius: fret buzz is more an indication of needing a fret level than the radius, with one exception.  If you get into the smaller radii, like the original fender 7.25”, when you bend it can cause buzzing. The 10-16 is good all around allowing good bends for lead but comfortable rhythm playing.

Frets: a good all around size are 6150 at the larger end and 6105 at the smaller. Again, these are all around sizes.  Getting into even larger sizes requires a lighter touch unless you are trying to bend the string all the time and kinda want thicker strings to go with.  Even smaller sizes want thin strings. I highly recommend getting a fret level done by a luthier if you are not comfortable doing it yourself.  There are threads discussing it here in the forums.  The frets don’t come leveled from the factory.

Hope this helps.

Mike
 

stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,481
Welcome to the forum.

1.650 sits between 1 5/8 - 1 11/16.

Other than that I would just recommend getting a standard thin profile in 1 11/16".

Bridge... are you looking for a fixed bridge or tremolo?


Now I am going to make a comment on the last post about fret size.

Getting into even larger sizes requires a lighter touch unless you are trying to bend the string all the time and kinda want thicker strings to go with.  Even smaller sizes want thin strings.

As you say this was mentioned in a thread the other day. But it is not factual. It is nonsense.

If you have larger frets where poor technique can cause things to be out of tune it is the player, chords, bends or otherwise.
Regardless of fret size you should not be trying to press the strings down to the wood.
Fret size does not dictate string gauge.
 

Logrinn

Senior member
Messages
3,597
Here are my thoughts and opinions ...

I realised after many many years that I like the shorter 24" scale (or as I like to call it, the normal scale - it's the Strats and Teles that have a long scale).
I found Warmoth when looking for high quality 24" guitars and got a 7/8 Strat with a 24" Mustang neck.
The first neck for this was a Standard Thin, 1 11/16" nut and 6105 SS frets.
After playing this for a while I realised that my hand hurt because of what I felt was a too thin neck profile.
I then got a new neck with the 59-profile and that's the one I've gotten on all my other necks since.

On one neck I had 6150 SS frets and I started questioning my fret choice. The difference between 6105 and 6150 is not the height (they're both .047" high), but the width (the 6105 is more narrow at .095" and the 6150 is wider at .104")

So for another neck I orderd 6130 frets. These are not available in stainless steel, but I felt that this wasn't a bad thing, quite the contrary.
The reason for this was that I grew up playing a Gibson SG (from 75 that I bought new), that had these low frets (6130 are lower at .036" and actually wider at .106").
And I immediately felt like I had come home. So these are my frets of choice now.

The next neck was also a 24" Mustang, also with 6130 frets, also with 59 neck profile, but this time I chose the new offering from Warmoth - the 1.650 nut width.

And NOW my neck is the way I want it.
These are the choices I'll be making for the necks I'm buying in the future (and for the neck I'm waiting on), ie 24" scale, 1.650" nut width, 59 neck profile, 6130 frets.

BUT - all of this is a matter of personal preferences and choices based on such things - as in my case - what kind of guitar I grew up with.

So - YMMV - and all that.

Good luck :eek:ccasion14:

 

VinceClortho

Senior member
Messages
104
Some very good replies in this thread, and that is coming from someone with hand measurements nearly identical to yours.

The setup I've settled on is a 24.75" scale, Wizard profile, 10-16 radius, 6100 frets, and a 1 11/16" nut.  Seems to be the best balance of comfort, feel, and sound for me and what I play.  The Standard Thin was just a little thicker than I liked and made doing the already difficult thumb-over fretting more challenging.  The narrower 1 5/8" nut felt good but as you said it feels a little cramped.  The fret choice is mostly familiarity because I'm coming from '80s shredder guitars.

However, I have recently had the opportunity to try a Clapton profile w/ a 1 5/8" nut and am surprised at how comfortable it is.  I could easily get used to it, especially for rhythm stuff.
 
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