A lot people are looking for an electric guitar with a thin neck, but what about those that prefer a wide neck? Many guitar players prefer this because the wider neck just feels better in their hands and is easier to play.
It should also give you slightly more room between each string.
This can be great for people in any of the following scenarios:
- With larger hands or fingers
- Who play a lot of rhythm and/or power chords
- Who are transferring to electric guitar with a classical guitar background (classical guitars have wide fretboards)
- Simply prefer the design of a wider neck
- Rhythm guitar players
We're going to be looking for electric guitars that fit the following requirements:
- Are not extended range (not seven string or eight string guitars)
- Are not modded or custom made
- Measure more than 1.68 inches wide at the nut
The "nut" on an electric guitar (for those who don't know) is at the top of the fretboard, near the headstock. That's where we'd be measuring for an electric guitar with a wider neck.
As a result, we'll be looking for electric guitars that are higher than the typical 52 mm at this position.
Electric Guitars with a Wider Neck (over 1.68")
As far as mainline electric guitar brands go, there are three that typically use a wider neck design, at or above 1.68 inches at the nut. They include, PRS, Gibson, and Ibanez.
Brands that Typically Use a Wider Neck
- PRS: 1.687 inches
- Gibson: 1.695 inches
- Ibanez: 1.692
Other brands that fluctuate more include Epiphone and Jackson. The rest of the mainline brands typically use a thinner neck, around 1.65 inches wide at the nut.
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Width at Nut
Epiphone Les Paul Modern
Gibson Les Paul Custom
Gibson Les Paul Junior
Gibson Les Paul Studio
Gibson Les Paul Standard
Gibson SG Standard
PRS SE Standard
Fender American Ultra Stratocaster
Ibanez J Custom RG8570Z
Ibanez Joe Satriani Signature JS1CR
Ibanez Premium S1070PBZ
Ibanez Steve Vai Signature JEM77
Jackson Pro Series (Mick Thomson Signature)
Ibanez Axion Label RGD61ALET
What is a normal neck width?
Most electric guitar necks measure between 1.65 and 1.67 inches at the nut, where the fretboard ends and meets the headstock. While the jump to 1.68 might not seem significant, even minimal space can make a huge difference in how a neck feels in your hands and responds to your playing.
Some of the higher end American Stratocasters cross over the 1.68 inch threshold, though most hover between 1.65 and 1.67 inches.
Like the Stratocasters, Telecasters on the high end have a wider neck around 1.68 inches, but stay near 1.65 on the cheaper end.
Most Squier Strats measure 1.65 inches wide at the base of the neck.
Squier Telecasters have considerably thinner necks, as low as 1.6, but usually hovering around 1.65.
What is considered a "wide" electric guitar neck?
The cutoff we've established is 1.68 inches. Any electric guitar measuring 1.68 inches at the nut or higher would be considered to have a wide neck. This of course does not count extended range guitars (seven or eight string electrics) where the added fretboard width is negated by additional strings.
Will I even be able to tell the difference?
While it seems like an extremely small difference, the "feel" of a 1.685 inch neck is going to be noticeable compared to 1.65 inches. Shorter scale lengths can also make this distinction feel more pronounced.
What is "scale length"?
The scale length mentioned in the table is the distance between the bridge and the base of the fretboard, per the following diagram:
Are wide neck electric guitars easier to play?
In the opening of this article, I highlighted some benefits of wide neck electric guitars, though none of those benefits necessarily mean they're by default easier to play. Some players do prefer them, because they give you more space between strings going up and down.
Thinner fretboards and longer scale length gives you more space going side-to-side.
In other words, you might say that wide necks are better for chords and thin necks are better for solos.
Here's another way to break it down:
- Shorter scale length: Easier chords
- Wider neck: Easier chords
- Longer scale length: Easier Solos
- Thinner neck: Easier solos
Thus, it depends on what style you play and what type of guitar player you are. Generally, rhythm guitar players will want a wider neck while lead guitar players will want something a little more thin, but there's no right or wrong answer here.
Obviously this list doesn't cover all electric guitars with a neck wider than 1.68 inches. However, it does highlight the brands and guitar models that are well-known and commonly utilize this design. For rhythm players or people with bigger hands/fingers, it's good to have that extra fretboard space, even if it is really small.
Anything to Add?
Do you know of any electric guitars with wide necks that we missed? Our target is over 1.68 inches, preferably 1.69 and higher. If so, leave a mention in the comments section below and we'll check it out.