How to Measure A Guitar Neck Width | Definitive Guitar Neck Width Guide

Note: This is a guide about how to measure a guitar neck width precisely. I’ve also mentioned all sort of things you might want to learn about guitar necks like average guitar necks, thin or wide guitar necks. etc. I’ve also run a poll about which guitar neck do people prefer and you can find the results below in this complete guitar neck width guide.

How to Measure A Guitar Neck Width | Definitive Guitar Neck Width Guide - Blog cover

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It is critical to select a guitar with a neck that is comfortable for you. Guitar necks will differ significantly in design from one brand to the next and will have a big impact on how the guitar feels to play, how you play, and how the tone of the instrument sounds.

Most guitars have a neck width of 1.7″–2″ and a length of 24″–25.5″ on average.

However, this is not always the case, and it varies with each instrument. Different neck sizes will be used by different brands and models. The width of guitar necks varies depending on the model and type. The width most people refer to is the width at the nut, or the first fret region.

Preference would be given to comfort in terms of hand size, finger length, and playing style. In general, and perhaps unsurprisingly, a narrow neck makes it simpler to play faster notes, while a wider neck makes it easier to avoid accidentally muting strings.

How to measure a guitar neck width?

Before we answer how to measure a guitar neck width, let’s understand what is a guitar nut width. Nut width of a guitar to the width of its neck at the nut.

It’s difficult to come to a solid conclusion about how the width of a guitar neck should be measured. Some people suggest you should measure it at the width but to measure how long is the neck of a guitar. Others believe it is at the 12th fret. Some believe it’s at the 14th fret!

However, most guitar neck measurements are taken at the nut (the nut of a guitar is the thin piece of material, often bone or plastic, that the strings slot through just before they get to the headstock).

Because the neck narrows as it progresses down the spine, measuring it anywhere else may be erroneous.

As a result, nut width equals neck width.

So far, everything has gone well. However, does the measurement include the entire guitar nut or only the area between the two E strings?

Yes, the width of the guitar neck is measured in its entirety.

Some manufacturers refer to the ‘E-to-E’ width. This is significant for string spacing, but the most important quantity is the overall length.

And what tool do you use to measure a guitar?

Calipers to measure neck of a guitar - TMH

To begin, a normal ruler with a resolution of 1mm / 1/16″ will suffice. However, the calipers are the best instrument used to measure the neck width of a guitar.

How to measure a guitar neck length?

Are all guitar necks the same width? Although guitar length appears to be a simple concept, it should be noted that scale length on a guitar is not always consistent or correct. Rather, the value you’ll see should be viewed as a more broad measurement.

This is due to the fact that most guitar bridges have individual string saddles that may be moved forward and back. These allow you to intonate each string so that the fretted notes sound in tune all the way across the fingerboard.

You’ll often see them set differently, as some string saddles need to be pulled closer to the nut to compensate for flat notes, while others need to be moved back to prevent sharp sounds. As a result, each string’s scale length should be slightly different.

So, how can you precisely measure a guitar’s entire scale length if that’s the case? Checking each string’s length and computing the average isn’t the ideal way. This would take a lot of time! Instead, most luthiers will use a far more straightforward way.

The distance between the nut and the centre of the 12th fret is the best way to calculate a guitar’s scale length. Double the worth once you’ve discovered it. And there you have it: you’ve determined the scale length.

Keep in mind that the length of a guitar’s scale is usually measured in inches. Because the majority of the world’s leading guitar brands are American and still employ the older imperial measurement, the industry standard has remained inches.

Average width of a guitar neck: Electric, Acoustic Guitars

Average of 5 popular acoustic guitar

Sr. No Acoustic Guitar Names Width at Nut
1.
Fender CD-60S
1.69"
2.
Martin D-18
1.75"
3.
Taylor GS Mini
1.687”
4.
Yamaha FG850
1.6875"
5.
Takamine GN93CE NEX
1.6875"

The acoustic guitar neck dimensions range from 1. 6″ to 1.7″.

Although there is a minor difference in size across guitars, if you are a guitarist, you are aware of how a small adjustment in neck width can feel in your hands.

Average of 5 Popular Electric guitar

Sr. No Electric Guitar Names Width at Nut
1.
Epiphone Les Paul Modern
1.692"
2.
Gibson Les Paul Custom
1.69"
3.
Gibson Les Paul Junior
1.695”
4.
PRS SE Standard
1.6875"
5.
Fender American Ultra Stratocaster
1.685"

An electric guitar’s neck is usually 1.68″ wide. This is the distance between the first and second frets, also known as the nut. Nut width is a term used to describe the size of a nut. This varies depending on the model and type.

The Fender Strat, for example, has a neck width of 1.68″. The neck width of a Les Paul is generally slightly wider at 1.695″.

As a standard neck width for electric guitars, some people will round this amount up to 1.6″.

What should be the ideal neck size of a guitar? : Poll Results

As you can see, via the poll we can determine that most people (36%) prefer a guitar neck that’s 6.8″ wide. A guitar that has a neck width of 6.9 is a close second with 32% of votes. This poll was taken by beginners with a good mix of men and women both. We can conclude that 6.8″ and 6.9″ neck are both playable and something below 6.8″ can get too thin.

Why Play a Wide Neck Guitar?

Guitars with wide necks are designed for guitarists with large hands! Nothing is more frustrating than trying to play an instrument that you can’t physically grasp.

A broader neck guitar is measured based on how wide is a guitar fretboard. If you have trouble making notes and chords sound clear.

A broader neck guitar, whether acoustic or electric, allows a musician greater room for finger placement, making it more comfortable to play. As a result, a guitarist’s advancement will be accelerated in no time.

Why Play a Thin Neck Guitar?

One of the most obvious reasons for buying a thin-neck acoustic guitar is to be able to travel the fretboard properly. That’s right, you won’t be able to wrap your hands around a guitar neck that’s too thick, especially if you’re a kid like me!

My left hand would barely fit around the neck of my guitar stool when I sat down to practise my new favourite hobby.

As a result, my options for action were severely constrained. This meant that while I had no trouble playing some simple open chords like D Major, I ran into trouble as soon as I started learning chords on lower strings.

Does neck width affect playability?

When it comes to the playability and feel of the guitar, the breadth of the neck is crucial. Different neck widths and construction will suit different playstyles and string spacing preferences, so knowing which neck types work best for you is crucial. When it comes to purchasing a guitar, the neck width is unquestionably significant. Most guitars come in a range of sizes, so whether you prefer steel string acoustic or electric guitars, you should be aware of your possibilities.

A narrow neck can feel easier to grasp and allow for more precise riffs centred on speed rather than note separation, but it can also make pushing the guitar strings to feel crowded. For someone with smaller hands and shorter fingers, a narrow neck is usually preferable.

A broad neck gives your fingers more room to fingerpick and strumming intricate chords, but it also makes your fingers feel strained. Larger, more flexible hands benefit from a wide neck.

The thicker guitar neck will be difficult for a beginner who is just learning barre chords, whereas the narrower one will take less effort.

However, this is not a rule; certain players, particularly beginners with larger hands, may feel differently.

What is the action of a guitar?

The distance between the strings and the frets on the fretboard is known as action on a guitar. This is a big part of what makes a guitar sound so good. A guitar with a greater distance between the frets and the strings is often more difficult to play. (There may be some exceptions, but we’ll keep things simple for now.)

In order for the string to touch the fret and make a note, it must be pushed down a longer distance by your fingers. Lower action makes it simpler to play faster passages and more difficult to play hammer-ons and slides.

Higher action sounds better in general. This may appear unusual at first, but it makes a lot of sense when you think about it. A string not only vibrates but also rotates between the bridge and the nut on its axis (kind of like the way a skipping rope works). The more space a string has to travel, the more rotations it can do, which improves note clarity and sustain.

When the action is too low, the strings are too close to the frets, which means a string might vibrate too close to the frets, resulting in a terrible buzzing sound. This is referred to as ‘fret-buzz’ (not to be confused with string noise from playing).

In conclusion

So there you have it; who knew determining the breadth of a guitar neck could be so easy?

The terms ‘neck width,’ ‘nut width,’ and ‘fretboard width’ are sometimes used interchangeably, but now you know that ‘neck width’ usually refers to the width of the complete nut.

Neck thickness also has an impact on playability and sound. The playability is a personal preference; some people prefer a thicker neck to a thin one, while others prefer the opposite.

Tania B.

Tania B.

Ola! I am Tania and I have studied music at Trinity College, London. My love for music started early when I was about 12 years old and I've been around the block when it comes to problems while buying a guitar that suits all your needs. I hope you find my tips useful!

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