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Acoustic Guitar Neck wider than e-Guitar. Why?


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#1 Norbert

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 02:31 PM

I am a beginner so excuse this probably rather stupid question. Why is the neck of the acoustic guitar wider than the neck of an electric guitar? Are there acoustic guitars with the same neck-width as an electric guitar?
"Some people might get some pleasure out of hate
Me, I've enough already on my plate
People might need some tension to relax
[Me?] I'm too busy dodging between the flak"
The Jam - Going Underground

#2 naccoachbob

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 02:48 PM

Without being able to provide specifics, I believe Yes there are acoustics with neck widths - in particular nut widths that are the same size as electrics. If you're speaking about classical acoustic guitars, they are normally much wider. I don't know the reason for that - do nylon strings vibrate more or have a wider arc in their vibrations? They don't pull near the tension that steel strings do, so I guess that's possible. Is the arc large enough to be a problem on a smaller neck, I don't know for sure.

Play well,

Bob
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Gear: Les Paul Studio, a Homebuilt Honduran Mahogany/Engelmann Spruce acoustic (in my pic), a Home built Mahogany/Sitka Spruce acoustic, Terada acoustic, Strat Squier Affinity with Noiseless Pups


#3 worknprogress

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 08:36 PM

Q: Why are acoustic necks thicker?
A: Long ago, stringed instruments had to have thick necks (among other things, look at the head of a lute, that bend provides strength) or the tension of the strings would be too much. In the days of truss rods and treated wood, this is no longer essential, but people liked it, so tradition carried over. Since electrics were being designed from scratch, the big companies (read: Leo Fender) decided to just do things the way they pleased, and some people liked that too.

Q: Are there thin-necked acoustics?
A: Yes, plenty. I can't name any off the top of my head, but go to your GC or wherever and ask them about it.

#4 Norbert

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 01:17 PM

Thanks guys. I would really like to have an acoustic with the neck of an electric, so I think I will ask my guitar dealer because I would like to practice in the park without an amp (even if its small like a Marshall Microbe). And I think its looks kind of silly too to sit in the park playing electric guitar.
"Some people might get some pleasure out of hate
Me, I've enough already on my plate
People might need some tension to relax
[Me?] I'm too busy dodging between the flak"
The Jam - Going Underground

#5 Jeff D

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 02:11 PM

One advantage to having a wider neck is that you are less likely to dampen an adjacent string with a fretting finger. This helps immensely in fingerstyle, whether it's acoustic or electric (like Mark Knopfler). People with larger fingers will find this helpful too so a nearby string isn't touched accidentally.

I had an Ovation and the neck wasn't all that wide for an acoustic. I HATED playing fingerstyle on it because I had to work harder at it to control which strings were sounding correctly. WHy would I want to do more work than I have to?

Not too sure of the advantage of the thinner neck because I'm not too into electric now, but I want to be so I'd love some answers. My only theory is that if the strings are closer together, barre chords may be easier to play.

12-String Guitars are so wide that they make special capos for them!

#6 naccoachbob

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 06:57 PM

I think an acoustic steel string guitar with regular gauge strings, say .13-.56, pulls right around 185 Lbs of pressure on the neck. Normally electric strings are +/- .10-.46, so that would pull about 103 lbs. I got those numbers from Elixer's web site by googling the question. That explains well why acoustic necks are bulkier. Even with truss rods, there's a need. Plus companies like Gibson will err on the side of caution concerning necks, because it's expensive to replace or repair necks on acoustics.

Play well,

Bob
Session 11

Gear: Les Paul Studio, a Homebuilt Honduran Mahogany/Engelmann Spruce acoustic (in my pic), a Home built Mahogany/Sitka Spruce acoustic, Terada acoustic, Strat Squier Affinity with Noiseless Pups


#7 Norbert

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 11:45 AM

I asked the guys at Gibson the same question and here's what they wrote:
"Dear Norbert,

Thank you for your interest in Gibson guitars, and for your feedback.
Not all acoustic guitar necks are wider or deeper than those of solidbody guitars. If you compare the neck of the 1958 guitar to that of some Gibson acoustics, you might find them to be similar or even the 1958 neck to be more massive. Generally however, acoustic guitars are made with a thicker neck or wider nut. This is probably due to the playing technique: solidbody guitars are used much more for solo playing while acoustic guitars are used more for strumming chords and fingerpicking. The necks are shaped accordingly.

A good example for a Gibson acoustic with a more slender neck is the Gibson Dove."

I am not sure whether solo-playing stresses the guitar more than strumming, but nevertheless thanks for the quick reply Gibson.
"Some people might get some pleasure out of hate
Me, I've enough already on my plate
People might need some tension to relax
[Me?] I'm too busy dodging between the flak"
The Jam - Going Underground

#8 JWELLS6407

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 11:58 AM

The geometry of guitar necks, whether acousic (classical, archtop, or flattop) or electric (hollowbody, semihollowbody, Strat, Tele or LP) is complicated math in which the nut width and bridge width are only two of the factors. It's this geometry that makes certain necks "comfortable" to play, and if you browse a bit on the Martin website, you'll find there are several neck profiles for each model of guitar, and each model is designed by the lutheirs for a specific playing style. To sum up, there are no simple answers to complex questions, and your question is more complex than most of us imagine. BTW, finding "your guitar" is one of the things about which Steve posted some time ago, and it's worth researching. Lotsa luck.




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