Every electric guitar model is made with slightly different dimensions according to the design of the manufacturer. Every electric guitar design is intended to be as playable as possible while providing as much tone and feel as possible. A large contributor to this aspect of an electric guitar is the width of the guitar’s neck.
Electric guitars typically have necks between 42mm and 44mm wide. Few electric guitar neck widths exceed 44mm, and almost non are narrower than 42mm. Neck width determines playability, feel, tone, and how far the guitarist can reach on the neck. Electric guitar neck width is very important.
Most guitar players do not notice the width of the neck of an electric guitar, but if you pay attention to it and try out various guitar models, you will quickly find that no two electric guitar necks models are the same. Guitar neck width is more crucial than most guitarists realize. Let’s explore this topic on a deeper level to learn why it is so critical.
What Is The Width Of Electric Guitar Necks?
The width of an electric guitar is among the most important characteristics of the instrument. The neck of the electric guitar is where the guitarist’s fretting hand is constantly in use, and the width of the neck determines how playable the instrument is.
The answer to the question of how wide electric guitar necks are is somewhat complicated. There is no standard width for electric guitar necks, and most guitar manufacturers use a set range of neck widths for specific guitar models.
This means that guitar brands have their own set neck width standards, and every guitar model is made to its own neck width standard as well.
This means that there is a very wide range of electric guitar neck width measurements, and this is usually one of the reasons why guitar players prefer certain brands over others.
Most electric guitar necks are not usually less than around 42mm in width and not usually wider than 44mm. Most electric guitar neck widths fall into this 2mm range, and this may not seem like much of a difference, but the change in width is very noticeable in hand.
There are some electric guitars that have necks that are slightly more narrow than 42mm, and there are some rare models that have necks that exceed 44mm in width, but most electric guitar brands that are found internationally have necks that fall in the regular range.
With that said, let’s identify the neck width of several popular guitar models from major guitar brands.
10 Electric Guitar Neck Width Examples
This table identifies the neck width of 10 very commonly used electric guitars:
|Ibanez AZ Series
|Ibanez RG Series
|Gibson Les Paul
|PRS Custom 24
|PRS Silver Sky
Why Does Electric Guitar Neck Width Matter?
We have established that electric guitar necks are typically made to be within a specific range of around 42mm – 44mm, with very few exceptions, especially among mainstream instrument models.
The reason why electric guitar necks are all built within these parameters is simply that these measurements are the most comfortable for most guitarists.
The neck width of an electric guitar is extremely important to the way the instrument feels and how the instrument can be played. A guitar with an uncomfortable neck will be very difficult to play, and no guitarist will enjoy using it.
Guitars with bad necks are difficult to play. They do not sound good, techniques are difficult to execute on them, they have o feel, and they inevitably sound bad as a result.
All of this means that guitar neck width matters a lot.
Guitar necks that are wider feel much larger in the hand when playing. These guitars are better for guitarists with larger hands and longer fingers, as they provide more room for the strings and better string spacing, and they can often fit better in hand.
These guitars often have a thicker tone as well, which is provided by the larger amount of wood used to make the neck, which is a large contributor to the way the instrument sounds.
Wide necks make room for big bends, which means they are preferred among blues and rock guitarists, and they tend to be very comfortable to play, even if the strings are a little more difficult to reach.
Guitars with narrower necks are less comfortable for those with big hands, but they require less effort to play due to the closer proximity of the strings. Narrower string spacing makes chords easier, and it makes notes easier to reach, which means that these guitars are more popular among shred players and those players who enjoy using very complicated chord phrasings and voicings.
The width of an electric guitar neck makes the difference between a guitar that is unplayable and an instrument that is comfortable, easy to use, and feels fantastic to play. Neck width determines how the guitar is played, what it feels like to play, and the overall tone of the instrument.
Is There A Standard Width For Electric Guitar Necks?
A common question regarding electric guitar neck width is whether or not there is a standard neck width that these instruments are made with.
The reality is that there is no true standard neck width for electric guitars. Every guitar manufacturer that designs its own guitars tweaks the design of the instrument based on the way the entire instrument feels altogether.
This means that the overall design of the guitar contributes to the width of the neck, and the instrument must feel balanced and playable as a whole, not just considering the width of the neck.
As a result, every guitar model, design, and shape has a neck width that is designed to serve that particular instrument well. No two guitar models have the same neck width, as they do not have the same design either.
A Les Paul neck has a wider neck than a Stratocaster because the guitars are different. A Les Paul with a Strat neck would not feel good play, and vice versa. The neck of a guitar cannot be made to a standard for this reason.
Every guitar manufacturer has its own neck width standards, but these standards are a result of much testing and trials to develop the ideal neck widths for the guitars that these companies produce.
No effort is spared by these companies when developing guitar necks, and the necks that are used are meant to be the ideal necks in every way for the particular guitar model.
Which Electric Guitar Neck Width Is Right For You?
Every guitar player finds themselves comparing guitars at some point, and a big comparison to make is the width of the guitar neck. This leaves many wondering what neck width they should be using. How do you know which neck width is best for you?
The answer to this question is entirely subjective for every guitarist. There is no one ideal neck width for every guitar player, and every player has their own unique preferences and requirements.
Every guitar feels different in the hands of every guitarist, which means that the ideal neck width for you can only be found by you, and it can only be done if you experiment with as many different guitar neck variations as you can get your hands on.
The best electric guitar neck width for you is the one that feels the most comfortable for your play, the neck that provides the most fret and string access for your hands, the width that is most conducive to your playing styles and preferred genres, and the way the neck makes you feel when playing the guitar.
Take the time to experiment and explore different guitar models with different neck shapes and widths, and you will instantly know when you find the perfect neck width for you.
Play as many guitars as you can, and the neck that feels the best to you is the one that you should stick with. You will know it when you find it, as it will feel better than any other neck you have used before it.
Some good advice that every guitarist should follow is that when you find a guitar neck that feels perfect in your hands, take note of what it is so that you can find it again on other guitars, and never let go of that one guitar that feels perfect for playing for you, regardless of how much you need the money or the space at the moment.
The width of the neck on an electric guitar is a critical aspect of the instrument in every regard. All guitar models have different neck widths, but very few exceed 44mm in width, and even fewer models have a neck narrower than 42mm.
The neck determines how the guitar feels to play, so be sure to find a guitar neck that has a width that suits your hands, your playing style, and your preferred musical genres. Every neck feels different, so take the time to find the perfect neck for you, and playing your guitar will always feel like a joy.