Miscellaneous Rumbles

Most Important Part of Guitar to You?

1

There are so many aspects of a guitar that sum up its overall value in your mind, but is there one of them that overrides all others?

For example, I have an absolutely beautiful US made guitar, with great sounding pick-ups, and very light and comfortable to wear ... but I find the neck shape / radius is prohibiting me from playing it as often as I play other guitars that have neck profiles that are more comfortable and easy to play. Is this sufficient grounds for trading it?

2

I love many sorts, designs and brands of guitars but neck size and shape are the most important aspects to me as well. I like a round solid C with some shoulders.

And yes, for me this is a reason not to keep a guitar unless it has humongous sentimental value.

P.S. Alternative answer to your 1st question: The amp.

4

The neck and fingerboard is one of the dominant factors in playing a guitar. Add in pickups on an electric guitar, but it still requires the neck. Everything else is subservient.

5

I guess that you can't really claim that tone is a specific part of a guitar, but it's the baseline that a guitar has to have before I'll start considering what else I like or don't like about it. I mainly care about these things in this order:

  1. Neck: profile, fretboard radius, nut width, and fret size
  2. Bridge: How it feels and what the string spacing is like (I've passed on guitars with too narrow string spacing)
  3. Control placement: knobs and switches
6

As long as the neck sticks out to the right, we'll probably get along just dandy.

7

With my small hands and arthritis in the left thumb I need a thin, narrow neck and the headstock cannot bend back radicly, Few guitars fit the bill, my takamine 360, the white Penguin and my 1958 6120 work OK, altho I fear my plinking days are numbered. When that happens they ALL go to someone else.

8

As long as the neck sticks out to the right, we'll probably get along just dandy.

– ade

That's about how I feel. I think I've only ever encountered one guitar with a neck shape and size that I just couldn't get past, and it was one I really wanted to like. My '57 Country Gent with a wide (1 3/4" at the nut) flat D-shaped neck and 25.5" scale. I know I've had other guitars with each one of those elements that didn't bother me, but for some reason the combination felt very unpleasant.

To me the answer is pickups. I would love to like Gibsons. They have so many models that appeal to me on just about every level but the pickups. I flat out dislike the humbuckers and despite a couple attempts to bond with P-90s, I just don't particularly care for them.

9

The guitar has to sound good. If it doesn't sound good, I have to think it would sound good with pickup replacements or other easy mods. If it doesn't sound good after tweaks, nothing else matters: it goes.

Nothing else is quite entirely disqualifying. If it was so ugly I couldn't stand it, I wouldn't have considered it in the first place.

I'm probably as tolerant of necks as Ade - though too-narrow string spacing, too flat a radius, or too thin in section from front to back can be disqualifiers. (They cause cramping.) Despite small hands, fat wide necks don't bother me.

I guess impossibly high action that can't be fixed would disqualify a guitar - but I wouldn't have considered such a guitar in the first place.

Just recently, a combination of bad neck profile, slightly intransigent action, and uninspiring tone combined to send a guitar back.

So, as in all things, there are few hard-and-fast rules. Combinations and synergies, devils in details.

10

I don't get along at all with v-shaped necks --- they hurt my hand. Gotta be rounded, and I prefer a slightly wider fingerboard, but can manage with a spectrum of widths.

I have to like the way it looks --- seeing it should make me want to pick it up and play it.

I have to like the way it sounds --- but since I like such a broad spectrum of music, I like the way a LOT of guitars sound in their proper contexts, from big ol' jazzy archtops to bluesy semi-hollows to spanky single coils to creamy woman-tones to chiming 12-strings.

Some of my guitars don't get played a lot, but they have a certain unique thing that makes them perfect for certain songs or styles, so I wouldn't part with them even though they are "specialty tools" rather than all-purpose instruments.

11

Its gotta feel good in your hands, there is nothing better than a comfortable guitar that just feels right.

Everything else is just aesthetics and parts swapping.

12

I simply can't get along with Fender style guitars. The too close together 6 on a side headstock guarantees my fat fingers will bump the tuners on either side of the one I am adjusting. The strings are too close to the body for my comfort and the belly cut bodies sit too close to me.

A Tune-o-matic style bridge and enough neck angle to get some distance between the strings and the guitar top go a long way towards making me comfortable with them.

13

That's about how I feel. I think I've only ever encountered one guitar with a neck shape and size that I just couldn't get past, and it was one I really wanted to like. My '57 Country Gent with a wide (1 3/4" at the nut) flat D-shaped neck and 25.5" scale. I know I've had other guitars with each one of those elements that didn't bother me, but for some reason the combination felt very unpleasant.

To me the answer is pickups. I would love to like Gibsons. They have so many models that appeal to me on just about every level but the pickups. I flat out dislike the humbuckers and despite a couple attempts to bond with P-90s, I just don't particularly care for them.

– Afire

Afire, hate to hear that about your old Gent.

I had the same issue with the RI 6122-1959. At first a liked the wider neck and bigger frets. (Scale length isn't generally an issue, and frets really aren't either for me.)

I wanted to love this guitar, but with playing time, the wider neck and thin neck shape just played heck with my hands. Not comfortable feeling and my old hand started cramping up quickly. No fun to play at all.

It was a looker, sounded wonderful, and was/is considered the "holy grail" of modern Gretsch guitars, but I just couldn't bond with the neck feel.

Right now I prefer either a chunkier neck, or the "V" that the LTV's have. Both feel good in my feeble hands.

I've got a Phoenix that doesn't have as chunky of a neck as the Falcon that I had, but it has the 9.5" radius and larger frets. It feels great too.

Guess for me, the neck feel is the most important thing on a guitar. If it's too thin/slim from fretboard to the back of the neck, I just have to say "nope".

14

When I think through my herd, what stands out to me more than anything is how important the Bridge/Saddle combination is to a great sounding guitar.

15

Comfort and tone.

The neck has to feel good for me. Initially I had difficulty adjusting to different necks and scale lengths and almost gave up on my 6122-1959 as I was used to my Tenny and 5125. I finally focused on playing the longer scale for a month or two and now am fine with it but do notice the difference when changing guitars. I later went in the opposite direction and had difficulty with my Star Fire V with its thin neck and followed a similar procedure to adjust to it.

Body size and depth may be noticeable but not dealbreakers as long as it is a hollow or semi hollow body. Most of my playing is done at home sitting down and I find the solid body less comfortable.

The tone is important too although as already mentioned if you basically like the guitar there are pickup and amp options to help address this concern.

16

Looks. The vast majority of guitars can be made to play well and sound good. I don't care about neck shape, fretboard radius, nut width.... I prefer Gibson scale, but Fender is OK. It's not cool if the frets are too low, but this isn't really a discussion about worn-out guitars. Yup...looks. If I walk past it, and it says, "Come over here and hold me tight," and I can't resist picking it up...THAT'S a great guitar.

17

The unquantifiable "feel"

It's not about neck profile, radius, width, or materials for me. It's some magic combination (that changes from one instrument to the next) of those things that make it work for me. I have a little of everything, and dig most of it in some respect.

The only scale length I don't agree with is the 24" that's on mustangs and the like. Otherwise, I'm down with most features as long as the overall feel is there.

18

Here's the guilty party that made me ask in the first place. I absolutely love everything about this guitar with the exception that the neck feels very different from my Gretsch 125th Annie and Spectra Sonic. I was close to deciding to trade it but my eldest son has prevailed on me to keep it as its his favorite guitar to play.

19

Apart from obvious "it has to be able to make the sounds l like" things : neck. I'm not all thàt fussy about necks, but too wide, flat/thin/square-shouldered, or combinations of those, and my hand starts hurting.

20

Neck.

Kept thinking about this as of course tone would seem primary. But there are more toneful, interesting sounding guitars than there are those with necks that my wrist likes. Helps if they look nice too. That's why it's always a Gretsch.

21

The main concern for pretty much anyone should be factors you can't change or modify on a guitar. Most know I prefer the wider neck and width is something you can't alter. You can change the profile but of course, only downwards.....making it shallower or changing the profile. BTW, fingerstyle players tend to be very fussy with the neck's features. Other things you can change with the neck are the frets and the radius. Assuming you like the other attributes of the guitar, gutting the frets and taking down the fingerboard radius, perhaps taking down the neck are possibilities to entertain.

One of the first things I considered, when I was still looking for [electric] guitars, is the style. There was never a solidbody I wanted. True I have Chet's Super Axe prototype but it's more about it being Che'ts than what style the guitar is. I always have to like the looks of a guitar and this one certainly fits the bill, with the lovely orange finish and the cutaway borrowed form the SC.

Everyone has their preference between solid or [archtop] hollow/semi-hollowbody and I'm just not comfortable with solidbodies.

23

Strap retaining knobs.

25

The Mojo . . .


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