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Does the neck effect the tone?

Hamerfan

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Dec 20, 2004
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737
I had two 1976 Strats on my bench. One was a dud, sounding dead and lifeless. Did everything adjusting, measuring, comparing, new strings and so on. Then I asked the owners and swapped necks with each other and a Schecter neck I had.
One of the Fender necks was the culprit and caused all the trouble. The bodies did not make too much of a difference.
 
Joined
Feb 25, 2021
Messages
72
brandtkronholm,
It's hard maintaining a view and defending that conviction when the majority disagree with your position. Respect..

So., reading through your posts, I'm trying to encapsulate your primary point. This appears to be that with two necks, one slim, one fat,( IF) both share equal properties of weight, mass and density, et al.. Thay will sound the same despite the difference between them mentioned above.

Have I got where your coming from, or have I missed it completely?
How is that possible?. If the density and the weight is the same, then the volume of wood MUST also be the same. A fat neck will obviously have more wood in it, unless wood is removed elsewhere. For instance by making a bigger route for the trussrod. But if that is done, then it would be like comparing a hollow neck (Weissenborn anyone?) to a solid neck, which will obviously affect the sound.
 

sleepy Tee

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Mar 17, 2021
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11
The neck is the single most important factor in primary tone. Thin necks are not brighter, they tend to be thinner. Hard to make geral assessment for size as stiffness is the important spec. Truss rod, fingerboard and neck joint have big effect as well as headstock. Variables in construction have big effect. Alltogether it makes for a structure that has a huge impact on a guitars primary tone.
The neck is not the "single most important factor" in tone.
Body type (hollow/solid), pickups, bridge type, string gauge, tuners and body material are all more imortant than neck thickness.
Tap the brakes a little when you start talking about "single most important factor for tone" because the amp is way more important than any single factor about a guitar.
If anything the neck thickness affects how you play (which is the most important tone factor) more than how it sounds. Anyone with small hands who reads this: Don't listen to any malarkey about how your tone is going to suffer (or sound brighter or "thinner") if you get a 60 slim neck.
Also, spend big money on a really good amp before you buy a custom shop Les Paull because it's more about the amp when it comes to tone anyway.
 
Joined
Feb 25, 2021
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+1 on 'everything'

Everything affect the tone - but can we point to several recordings of Gibson electric guitar tone and say "it must be the skinny/geek // fat/baseball bat size of the neck" as THE critical component of the tone? Is it even a minor component of the tone? I've never ever heard any evidence to support the size of the neck as the prominent (or tertiary) component of the sound. I've never heard anyone say "that guitar would sound better if it had a skinny neck, 'cause that's where the tone is." I've never heard anyone say "I swapped the thin neck for a baseball bat because I didn't like the sound of the thin neck."

The only way I know if Duane Allman is playing his 'Burst (big neck?) or his SG (skinny neck?) is if someone tells me. - Also true for Dickey.
I can't tell the sonic difference between a full-necked 1964 ES335 when compared to a wafer-thin-necked 1961 ES335. For sure, they'll sound subtly different, but is it the neck? Maybe it's the Grovers, or the pickups, or the nylon saddles...

The size/thickness of the neck does not affect the tone of the guitar.

DutchRay described his experience with 1960 vs 1959 'Bursts in an earlier post which is very interesting, but my experience is the opposite. Others might use different words to describe any perceived difference.
You´re right, that many great sounding recordings have been made, with both skinny and fat necks.
And yes, you can have to otherwise identical guitars, except for the neck size, and one can sound clearly better to you than the other. And then you can have another pair of guitars, that are also identical except for the neck size, where your preference is different.
But I´ve owned over 50 guitars (Most of them long term, so I got to know them well), and I have of course treid a LOT more. And when I think back on which ones sounded good when I played them, there are very few with skinny necks I think of, and not that many with medium sized necks either. The vast majority have been guitars with big necks. Does that mean that guitars with big necks sound better?. Mayby it does, and maybe it dosen´t. But it certainly means that big necks sound better when I play the guitars. Big necks are simply much more comfortable to me, and that means that my playing is slightly less mediocre when I have a big neck. And THAT no doubt makes it sound better.
 
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Big Al

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Apr 24, 2002
Messages
14,197
The neck is not the "single most important factor" in tone.
Body type (hollow/solid), pickups, bridge type, string gauge, tuners and body material are all more important than neck thickness.
Tap the brakes a little when you start talking about "single most important factor for tone" because the amp is way more important than any single factor about a guitar.
If anything the neck thickness affects how you play (which is the most important tone factor) more than how it sounds. Anyone with small hands who reads this: Don't listen to any malarkey about how your tone is going to suffer (or sound brighter or "thinner") if you get a 60 slim neck.
Also, spend big money on a really good amp before you buy a custom shop Les Paull because it's more about the amp when it comes to tone anyway.
My post was regarding PRIMARY TONE generation in solidbody guitars.

Even so, it should be abundantly clear that secondary tone remedies can't fix primary tone deficiency. Or to put it in terms you might better understand, You can't polish a turd. As for amplification I'll pass on this nugget of wisdom told to me by Seymour Duncan after we sat through a painful set from a band at the F.U.B.A.R., "You know, the only thing worse than shitty tone is loud shitty tone".

The neck is the biggest influence on primary tone.
 
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AA00475Bassman

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Apr 26, 2016
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A quote Joe Bonamassa ( I can plug a $150,000 guitar into a s**ty amp ,its going to sound s**ty right off the bat .
If you only have a 1,000 to spend find the cleanest newest Hot Rod Deville spend the rest on a Mexican Strat or Squire .

I take Joes opinion as gold !
 
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Jan 11, 2020
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Bigger neck Like , Slim neck = Hee-Haw .
Funny you mention Hee Haw. I just got a new TV and it has some internet TV stations built in. One of them is "Circle" (Grand Ole Opry network) and they show HeeHaw reruns several times per day. The attempt at comedy is laughable--but the music is very, very real. And the guitars they play are amazing. Leon Rhodes (Texas Troubadour) is on nearly every episode and worth watching. Roy Clark is pretty good, too!
 

LeonC

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Aug 30, 2002
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Funny you mention Hee Haw. I just got a new TV and it has some internet TV stations built in. One of them is "Circle" (Grand Ole Opry network) and they show HeeHaw reruns several times per day. The attempt at comedy is laughable--but the music is very, very real. And the guitars they play are amazing. Leon Rhodes (Texas Troubadour) is on nearly every episode and worth watching. Roy Clark is pretty good, too!
Minor point, but I think what you meant was, "...The attempt at humor was not all that laughable..." hehehh. Yeah, there was some crazy-good guitar playing on Hee Haw.
 

ourmaninthenorth

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Tone.

A word liberally thrown around like so much confetti. The idea that it can be empirically measured, and therefore homogenised is an idea I've never embraced.

My definition of tone exists in the ether - it is a complex and interdependent combination of actions ultimately translating to a single emotional response. Mine.

I either feel it, or I don't.

At the risk of repeating myself, I make my earlier assertion once more. The neck of any guitar is the umbilica that joins me to it. If it's not happening at first touch, then it's not happening.

Therefore in a prima facie way, the neck of any guitar is either an open doorway to the magic, or a direction untraveled.

I can't think of an absolute descriptor of something affecting tone more than an unplayed guitar. I like to keep things simple.

A little oblique? Of course it is, if it were as simple as some suggest, we'd all have cracked it within our first year of playing. I must be a slow study, I'm in my 45th year of playing, and have all the ideas of a pissed up teenager.
 

El Gringo

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A quote Joe Bonamassa ( I can plug a $150,000 guitar into a s**ty amp ,its going to sound s**ty right off the bat .
If you only have a 1,000 to spend find the cleanest newest Hot Rod Deville spend the rest on a Mexican Strat or Squire .

I take Joes opinion as gold !
Out of anybody Joe Bonamassa knows what he is talking about ! Also when you play a good Guitar you can feel the resonance in the neck and the body . There is no mistaking the feel = tone .
 

El Gringo

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Big Al is one of the most knowledgeable folks on this forum . Try listening to his wisdom and surprise you might actually learn something . Big Al has helped me out so much and so many times that I am that much more educated and enlightened .
 
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El Gringo

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This issue about the neck affecting tone of a guitar seems to come up pretty often and some still don't get the importance and significance of the magnitude of how important the neck is to the tone of the instrument . In addition to being heard thru the amp this is something that has to be FELT in your hands . This is one of the major factors on guitars costing big bucks .With experience comes wisdom and knowledge of the mechanics of how the guitar works . Both solid body and semi hollow bodies and acoustics . Any wanker myself included can pick up any guitar and go to town and either make noise or music . It is another world when one knows what he is doing with said instrument and amp and effects and then goes on to make beautiful music !
 

El Gringo

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Tone.

A word liberally thrown around like so much confetti. The idea that it can be empirically measured, and therefore homogenised is an idea I've never embraced.

My definition of tone exists in the ether - it is a complex and interdependent combination of actions ultimately translating to a single emotional response. Mine.

I either feel it, or I don't.

At the risk of repeating myself, I make my earlier assertion once more. The neck of any guitar is the umbilica that joins me to it. If it's not happening at first touch, then it's not happening.

Therefore in a prima facie way, the neck of any guitar is either an open doorway to the magic, or a direction untraveled.

I can't think of an absolute descriptor of something affecting tone more than an unplayed guitar. I like to keep things simple.

A little oblique? Of course it is, if it were as simple as some suggest, we'd all have cracked it within our first year of playing. I must be a slow study, I'm in my 45th year of playing, and have all the ideas of a pissed up teenager.
Very wise and very well said ! Bravo
 

sleepy Tee

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Mar 17, 2021
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As I always will feel the tone is in the hands of the player. With that said how many feel that possibly the neck effects this as well? Example being a 58’ chunky against a 60s thin? And I’m not going down the pick up rabbit hole.
Joe Bonamassa plays a 1960
"The internet tells you 'you gotta love a big, fat neck. ' And if anything that I know, over the years, everything you read on the internet is true -- and believe it, wholeheartedly, regardless of your personal opinions."

From https://tinyurl.com/pmffryxs

Seventy percent of the strings’ vibrations travel along the neck. Yet, since the neck is a lot smaller than the body , the neck vibrates and supports the vibration of the strings in much greater measure and because of this the influence of the neck on the sound of the guitar is noticeably greater than that of the body itself.

This is why the choice of wood with which the neck is made, its thickness, its tendency to resound, its specific density, the type of truss rod used, the way the truss rod is installed, the shape and build of the headstock, etc, are factors which have a decisive impact on the sound of the instrument.

So when you look at the size difference in a 58 neck and a 60 slim taper it simply isn't the most important tone difference.

Here's 60 things that are higher in the order of good. brown tone than neck thickness between a 50s and 60s neck -- from Scott Marquart at Ultimate Guitar

As I always will feel the tone is in the hands of the player. With that said how many feel that possibly the neck effects this as well? Example being a 58’ chunky against a 60s thin? And I’m not going down the pick up rabbit hole.
 

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JoeC

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To me it's the other way round. I've built many Partscasters where I swapped necks with all other parts being equal and the general rule of thumb I've found after much experimenting is a fat neck (=more mass) is more stable and doesn't vibrate as much. Vibration means damping the actual vibration of the string and since overtones have far less energy than fundamentals they are the first that got lost when dampened.

So a fat neck with more mass and more rigidity means less damping which means more overtones. That equals a brighter response.
Then we can talk about fretboard material making it more or less rigid?
 

El Gringo

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Joe Bonamassa plays a 1960
"The internet tells you 'you gotta love a big, fat neck. ' And if anything that I know, over the years, everything you read on the internet is true -- and believe it, wholeheartedly, regardless of your personal opinions."

From https://tinyurl.com/pmffryxs

Seventy percent of the strings’ vibrations travel along the neck. Yet, since the neck is a lot smaller than the body , the neck vibrates and supports the vibration of the strings in much greater measure and because of this the influence of the neck on the sound of the guitar is noticeably greater than that of the body itself.

This is why the choice of wood with which the neck is made, its thickness, its tendency to resound, its specific density, the type of truss rod used, the way the truss rod is installed, the shape and build of the headstock, etc, are factors which have a decisive impact on the sound of the instrument.

So when you look at the size difference in a 58 neck and a 60 slim taper it simply isn't the most important tone difference.

Here's 60 things that are higher in the order of good. brown tone than neck thickness between a 50s and 60s neck -- from Scott Marquart at Ultimate Guitar
The list of 60 things are a basic 101 primer on guitar . Now having said that you still have to have a solid guitar to make music . Which to the tone chain starts with the guitar . Sometimes I think some are trying to reinvent the wheel , instead of taking the wheel (guitar) and building around it .
 

El Gringo

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Some people need a basic primer.
Can't argue with that logic . The guitar for me is such a journey filled with ups and downs and learning and still learning each day as I can never ever know enough . That simply is the challenge for me and keeps me inspired to continue to learn .
 
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