Written by Bobby
Parent article: Best Intermediate Acoustic Guitar
Updated by Bobby
Recently updated on June 22, 2020
Checked availability for all recommended acoustics. Updated links to Fender Newporter, Takamine Pro, and Yamaha JR.
Best Acoustic Guitar with Thin Neck
Martin X Series Little Martin
We'd recommend any of the Little Martin acoustics for their smaller neck size, easy playability, and fantastic tone profile. Though there are some corners cut in terms of tonewood and bracing, there's little else we don't like about the X series Little Martins.
In most cases, it's electric guitars that are known for smaller necks. They're assumed to be better for fast playing and friendlier to small hands. Yet, in a lot of cases, the difference in neck size between acoustic and electric guitars is relatively small, often no more than a few tenths of an inch.
While there are outliers, most guitars from both electric and acoustic categories keep fretboards within a small dimensional range. Here, we're focusing specifically on finding these smaller dimensions for acoustic guitars.
We've pulled together actual dimensions from nine of the smaller and more popular acoustics, listing them here for easy browsing.
Best Acoustic Guitars with Thin Necks
You can use the small arrows to sort the table by any of the three categories. All measurements are provided in inches. (convert inches to millimeters)
Please note: The measurements for these guitars are subject to change and may or may not be representative of what is listed in this article. Since guitar models and series are often being tweaked and rebuilt, it's important to check with the manufacturer to be sure.
Fender Newporter Player (California series)
Takamine Pro Series 3
Epiphone EL Series Pro
Martin X Series Little Martin
Yamaha F Series
Yamaha FG JR1
Seagull Coastline Slim
Typical Acoustic Guitar Neck Sizes by Brand
Thus far we've mentioned several of the most popular acoustic guitar brands in our neck size table.
Broadly, the following brands tend towards the listed neck sizes:
- Takamine: 1.67"
- Epiphone: 1.68"
- Yamaha: 1.69"
- Fender: 1.7"
- Martin: 1.75"
- Taylor: 1.75"
- Seagull: 1.8"
While there are certainly exceptions to these rules (the smallest neck in our list if the Fender from their California series), you can get a feel for what brands are going to be the most friendly to shop around in and which ones tend towards a larger neck design.
Again, keep in mind that classical and 12-string acoustic guitars will almost always use a larger neck, by roughly one fifth of an inch.
Do I loose any natural resonance with smaller necks?
While we aren't 100 percent certain about how smaller necks would impact all different acoustic models, it would be surprising to hear someone testify that smaller necks diminished their acoustic's tone in any significant way.
First, the body of the acoustic is the most important feature to consider, particularly the type of tonewood and whether it's solid or laminate. Second, the neck is a small part of the guitar to begin, which has far less impact on tone than any other part of the guitar.
If you're worried about a small neck causing tone issues, we'd recommend putting that concern aside.
What other features should I be looking for?
When we recommend any acoustic guitar, regardless of neck size, we're generally looking for the following feature list:
- Solid top (as opposed to laminate - the more solid wood the better)
- Some kind of built-in preamp or electronics system
- Interior x-bracing or similar construction
- Price (as price goes up, value goes down)
Assuming we get the features you're looking for - a smaller neck in this case - and we can combine the additional quality indicators with a lower price tag, that acoustic guitar should be on your short list.
Acoustic Guitars with Thin Necks are Harder to Pin Down
Acoustic guitars with small necks are available, but are just harder to pin down than something like Ibanez electric guitars, where thin necks are both a standard aspect of construction and a strong selling point. Not only that, but Ibanez is quick to highlight that feature, making it easy for shoppers to identify fretboard dimensions.
Take a look at the 670QM from the S series:
It just looks fast, with the proof in the neck dimensions.
Let's get a closer peek at the scale section (Ibanez is really good about providing those in detail). This particular model is 43mm at the nut (right before the headstock) which is 1.68 inches, a number we'll also see fairly often in our acoustic guitars.
Despite many acoustic models having dimensions comparable to the Wizard neck, acoustic manufacturers don't typically brag about these slimmer designs because the average acoustic player doesn't often think about that when buying. Take the "Features" section for the Taylor 414ce, a fairly popular model:
Even down in the detailed specs and highlights section, you've got nothing in regards to fretboard sizing or dimensions.
Once you click the "SHOW MORE SPECS" button, a drop-down list of details finally gives you the neck width, which happens to be 1 and 3/4 inches.
The bottom line is that for most acoustic players, a thin or thick neck isn't really a major concern. However, that doesn't mean the benefits of a thinner neck design won't mean a lot to you.
This article is to help you find those acoustics, or at least narrow down your search.
With that aspect rarely being featured (if mentioned at all) it can be tricky to pin down neck width without some exhaustive search. You need to dig and in most cases the digging has to happen on the manufacturer's website.
Neck Width is Typically Consistent within a Series of Acoustic Guitars
In most cases you'll have a variety of neck sizes within a particular acoustic brand. Within a brand, however, neck size often remains consistent within a particular series. For example, the Seagull Entourage Autumn Series uses a 1.72" neck width for all the guitars in that series.
Other times, you'll have the bulk of a series using a consistent neck size, while two or three models from that same series might differ slightly.
As a general rule, browsing for acoustic guitars with thin necks means you can look series to series and not model to model.
Only Some Manufacturers Offer the Width at the 12th Fret
It's common for acoustic guitar manufacturers to list the width of the neck at the nut. A few will also list the width at the 12th fret, which we haven't included in our table, since it would only be available for a small percentage of the guitars represented there.
The Most Common Neck Widths for Acoustic Guitars
Unless you're talking about custom models, acoustic guitar neck sizes do not fluctuate drastically. Certain classical or Spanish guitar designs will have a thicker neck (closer to two inches at the nut) and obviously 12-string acoustics are larger. However, the bulk of acoustic guitar neck sizes run between 1.6 and 1.9 inches at the nut or the base of the guitar's head-stock.
Here are a few of the most typical sizes at that position:
You won't often see an acoustic guitar neck size - at the base of the fretboard - move below or above these dimensions.
Have some dimensions to add for a model or series we didn't mention? Add it in the comments section below and I'll check it out.
It might be tough to imagine a few tenths of an inch having a significant impact on your playing experience, but the smaller necks actually do feel a lot different. If you get the opportunity, go into a local shop or a Guitar Center and try an an acoustic with a neck around 1.8" (perhaps a classical model) and then try one of the 1.65" models. You'll notice a huge difference in how they feel.
Once you're comfortable with a particular neck size, perhaps within an acoustic series, you can narrow in on a quality point by going higher or lower within that series.
Use the table we setup for browsing, then fine-tune your choice with the other quality indicators we've noted.