Looking at options for an acoustic guitar with thin neck? This is a commonly sought after part of choosing the right guitar for you, and your play style.
What are the benefits of a thin neck, or a narrow neck acoustic guitar? Do the pros outweigh the cons?
I’m going to dive into choosing an acoustic guitar that works if you have small hands, or if you’re simply looking for a neck that can play with a little more speed.
Perhaps you enjoy playing a thinner neck, maybe you just want to have a guitar that plays a little differently, or you’re just starting out and aren’t sure what to get.
Regardless of your reasons behind looking into a thinner slimmer neck on your guitar; at the end of the day you want a comfortable neck that will allow you to reach all the strings and frets with ease.
It’s not like you’ll be making a huge mistake going with slim necks, you’ll get used to playing whatever type of guitar and neck you practice on.
That being said, you will have a better, more enjoyable time if you aren’t fighting the design of your guitar’s neck.
Do Acoustic guitars have thicker necks?
Yes, typically acoustic guitars are designed with thicker necks, compared to their electric guitar cousins. This doesn’t necessarily mean they have THICK necks, just that they are thicker, relative to standard electric guitars.
Acoustic guitars are designed more towards players that stick to chords, whereas electric guitars focus on riffs and playing individual notes. A smaller thinner neck typically helps the “speed” of playing, or how fast you can move around the fretboard.
It isn’t necessarily that acoustic guitars are slower, but their performance is more geared towards open chords, and rhythm guitar. Thicker necks can help guitarists with larger hands better fret each individual string.
Whereas an electric guitarist might want speed for various barre chords they’re running through, or want to play riffs at various spots along the neck.
Are Thin Neck Guitars Better for Small Hands?
Yes, thin neck acoustic guitars are “better” for small hands. “Better” in the sense that it will be initially easier to play. However, easier doesn’t mean that it will play or sound better, just that it is easier for small hands.
If you’re looking for a beginner guitar to start out with for someone with small hands or a child, I would first recommend looking at reduced-size guitars. Full-size guitars might be too large, a small-scale guitar offers the exact same benefit of a thin neck acoustic guitar, but without the proportions becoming odd, or the added price tag of a specialty guitar.
Here’s a cool guide from Taylor Guitars on choosing the right guitar fit for you.
For children, stop, seriously do not consider a thin neck guitar for a child. Just go with a smaller scale such as half or 3/4 scale guitar. Then move them up to full-size guitar when they grow enough. You’re going to pay more for a thin neck guitar, and it really won’t do them any favors in the long run. Thin neck guitars aren’t a great choice for kids.
For adults, if you have small hands, I highly recommend going to a large music shop or guitar shop and play as many different guitars as they let you… before they kick you out. Seriously, try out different brands, and try out electrics as well.
Try an electric Ibanez, they’re know for have thin necks that play fast. Then you’ll have baseline for what a thin neck can offer. For example, the Ibanez GA35 Thinline has a low profile neck that plays like a dream. Would be a good guitar to get your hands on to see if you like the feel of a thin neck.
Even if you find that a standard acoustic guitars have necks that are too thick, try playing some reduced-scale guitars. Plenty of professional guitars play reduced-scale guitars, because they find they’re easier to play.
A good choice for beginners will be a reduced scale guitar. Otherwise I would stick it out with a standard size. There is no perfect choice when choosing a guitar, just get what feels right for you!
Should You Consider Standard Size, Instead of a Thin Neck Acoustic Guitar?
Here’s my main hesitancy with thin neck acoustic guitars, you’re going to pay more! As soon as you start going away from standard makes of guitars and begin to look at specialty styles, such as thin necks or odd shapes of the guitar body YOU. PAY. MORE!
Need a guitar that fits your hands? They literally make reduced-scale guitars for this exact reason. You aren’t the first person with small hands to want to purchase a guitar. The guitar brands know this is a commonly sought after item on the checklist when buying a guitar so they make guitars that people will buy.
They also make thin neck guitars and charge a premium so that they can sell them to people looking to deviate from the standards.
If you truly want an acoustic guitar with a thin neck, go for it, spend the money. The only rule of buying a guitar is make sure you get one that you love to play. If a thin neck guitar will make you happy get it. Just understand that you’ll pay more.
In my experience, I’ve never seen someone need a thin neck guitar, for reasons that a small-scale such as half size or three quarter size guitar won’t also solve.
Another reason I’d steer away, although not as big of a deal is the proportions. A thin neck won’t have standard proportions. If you go with a smaller scale guitar it’s the same proportions, just smaller. The length of the neck is the same, relative to the rest of the guitar. It will be easier to move from guitar to guitar with standard proportions, than it would be to move guitars with odd proportions.
Another Item that might come up is tone. Bright tone, deep tone, it’s all about the tone. Your acoustic sound really won’t change much at all should you have thin neck or not. They body of the guitar effects this much more than the neck, so I wouldn’t worry to much on this note.
To sum it up, the price will increase if you decide to go with a thin neck acoustic guitar. Play a bunch of different guitars and if you still feel you want a thin neck acoustic guitar, go for it. Just ensure you’re ok with paying extra, and you’re paying attention that the proportions might be a little off.
At the end of the day, these “problems” are nothing you can’t overcome, I’m just of the opinion that most people would be better served going with a smaller scale guitar.