!!!Help with PRS neck profile choice

Filip

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Jun 27, 2018
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Hi guys, I'm new at this forum but I need some help from some seasoned PRS owners about neck profiles.
I've been playing for almost 20 years, never any prejudice to neck shape, scale length, fretboard radius, nothing... until recently.
I've been waiting for ages till I could afford to buy a PRS Custom 24 (or 22) guitar, and I finally did it couple of years ago...from online, got a Custom 24 ( 25th anniversary Angry Larry finish), absolutely gorgeous guitar. But the neck always felt so uncomfortable to me, my hand just couldn't adapt to it no matter what. Because of this, I sold it after 2-3 years of barely playing it. It literally bummed me out that my dream guitar was uncomfortable.
So, that's when I started digging deeper in neck profiles of PRS and other guitars I've owned to figure out what my (rather big) hands prefer...as it turned out, my Prs had a "Wide-Thin" pattern and my "most comfortable" guitars from my past/current happen to have a U-shape profile, with a "normal" or rather narrow nut width.
Finally my question is: which of the Prs neck patterns are the closest thing to a commonly known "U-shaped" neck, in your opinion? Or which one do you think would be best for big hands (big palm)?
I would really appreciate your response, as I'm about to start looking for a Custom 24/22 again :)
Thank you, and sorry for the lengthy intro.
-Filip
 

garrett

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I feel your pain (literally). I sold my old Custom 24 in part for the same reason.

The Pattern shape feels fantastic, so if you're not married to 24 frets, you may want to give a Custom 22 a shot.

The Pattern Regular shape available on the 24 feels really nice. Its slightly narrower nut width makes it feel a little smaller, but it's the same depth as Pattern, so you can wrap your hand around it.

I'd call these more of a soft V shape that gets rounder as you go up. So they don't have a lot of shoulder like a U shape. I think the old Wide Fat shape had a slightly rounder profile down towards the nut, so I think you'd like that if you're looking at older guitars.

That's all based on what my hand feels, so others' experiences may vary.
 
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neck carves.jpg
 

Bill SAS 513

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Yeah, most 22 fretters have bigger necks, and will fit a larger hand. Love the older style "Wide Fats"...almost any Cu22, Find an old Swamp Ash Special, or more recent NF-3, DC3, (Pattern , Pattern Regular, etc...) ...
killer axes, and the bigger neck feels different, due to finish applied. The newer 594 necks are awesome, too, and feel bigger to me.
 

dogrocketp

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+1 to Bill on the Swamp Ash. It's the first guitar I reach for to gig with, until I get a short in my EG II sorted out. The swamp ash has a bigger neck than the EG, and I have large Palms as well.
 

21Hemispheres12

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You may also like the profile of the DGT. It has a much more chunky and rounded neck then the pattern thin shape.
 

Alnus Rubra

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Firstly welcome! My advice for what it’s worth is to find a store that stocks several different models, Core and SE and simply play them (if you can). One will talk to you, both feel-wise and tonally.

Nothing beats some “hands-on” experience.

Happy hunting :D
 

Rider1260

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Look for these !!!!

Wide Fat ( WF )
Pattern
Pattern Vintage
Santana
513
 

bodia

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To my hand, the Santana has the most U like shape. But, when I think of U I think more depth. Or at least the perception of more depth.
 

xarkon

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That diagram is excellent. I think it would be helpful if the DGT and Santana profiles were included as well. For historical purposes, it would be nice to have the old neck profiles too; then, perhaps superimpose the reference profile (Pattern? Pattern Regular?) on the others to show the differences visually.

From my perspective, the DGT is a much more narrow profile but still somewhat deeper. Because it's narrow, the high E is closer to the edge of the fretboard, so it's more sensitive to proper setup and good technique. This is a good thing, but something worth checking for yourself, to see whether it's going to work. The DGT is the sleeper PRS in my view - the '59 LP of the bunch. (I have played several original 59s, so I'm not guessing here, though I'm not the ultimate authority either! :))

The Santana neck is much fatter overall. I suspect it's closer to what is shown as pattern vintage in the diagram, but to me it feels closer to what Gibson is doing on '58 Historic Reissues, but not quite what they are doing on '57 Historics. (Which could be used as clubs. ;))

I have both a DGT and Santana here and have played both extensively. Among the (ahem, a few) other PRSi here, none to me feels like a U-shaped neck, say, comparable to a Fender 70's Strat. Just not the same.

I do think that the prior profiles - Wide Thin, Wide Fat, etc. - aren't quite exactly the same as the new Pattern profiles. The biggest difference to me is the Wide Thin, which was somewhere between today's Pattern Regular and the Ibanez Wizard neck. (Though not nearly as thin as the Ibanez by any means.) However, I understand that one significant reason for the change was to make the necks more consistent, and that's good, too.

(Edit: forgot about the 513. Have that too; bigger neck.)

As others have suggested, go play a bunch if you can; that's the only way you'll really know what works for you.

Dave
 

LSchefman

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Here’s the thing; there aren’t universal specifications for a “commonly known, U-shaped neck.”

The term means different things to different manufacturers. Very few are 100% identical.

Shawn’s post is certainly a good visual indication of what’s what with PRS neck profiles, but heck, they’re all U-shaped to one degree or another. “V-shaped” neck profiles are different.

Ultimately, you’re going to have to play each profile to know what works best for you. My thinking is that if you’re going to spend serious dough on a guitar, you might find it worthwhile to get in your car and drive to wherever you have to drive, to try a few.

All that aside, I have long-ish fingers, and find that for PRS’ current production, the Pattern, Pattern Vintage, and Pattern Regular are easiest, and the Pattern Thin was a little tougher for me (though I wouldn’t say it was a problem).
 

JJJ

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guys I might be blind but OP said he was looking for a narrower nut width. So a 22 with a WF might not be the best idea.

Look into the pattern regular necks, they feel to me like a chunky strat neck
 

Dancing Frog

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guys I might be blind but OP said he was looking for a narrower nut width. So a 22 with a WF might not be the best idea.

Look into the pattern regular necks, they feel to me like a chunky strat neck
The 513 cut is narrower and deeper than a WF.
 

Filip

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Guys thank you so much for all your input! I'm taking it all on board.
I know that eventually it will come down to going to the shop and trying out a few. I plan to do that. But first, I wanted to have some kind of direction as to which profiles I should try out first ...you know, the guys in the shop here get a bit nervous when someone goes: ok, I want you to bring these 10 expensive PRS's down from the wall for me:) (especially if you look like I do \m/ ) lol.
Thanks again! I will post some pictures soon if I end up finding something
 

pauloqs

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I feel your pain (literally). I sold my old Custom 24 in part for the same reason.

The Pattern shape feels fantastic, so if you're not married to 24 frets, you may want to give a Custom 22 a shot.

The Pattern Regular shape available on the 24 feels really nice. Its slightly narrower nut width makes it feel a little smaller, but it's the same depth as Pattern, so you can wrap your hand around it.

I'd call these more of a soft V shape that gets rounder as you go up. So they don't have a lot of shoulder like a U shape. I think the old Wide Fat shape had a slightly rounder profile down towards the nut, so I think you'd like that if you're looking at older guitars.

That's all based on what my hand feels, so others' experiences may vary.

The depth at the nut is different between the pattern regular and pattern. Here are the depths at the nut:
  • Pattern Thin: 26/32”
  • Pattern Regular: 27/32”
  • Pattern: 28/32”
 

JDutch

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Oct 15, 2012
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You're not alone. The wide-thin neck shape is the only neck shape I've ever hated. I've owned two CU24s, one Artist Package and one Private Stock, and sold them both. Any thin neck is going to be uncomfortable to me, but I'd never held a guitar that felt ergonomically incorrect until I played those Custom 24s.

On the plus side, all of PRS' other neck shapes are better, IMO, than the wide-thin neck shape. The pattern vintage is my favorite, but I own guitars with the DGT, pattern and wide-fat neck shapes, and they're all comfortable and playable. The pattern vintage is a chucky neck shape with just the right amount of shaping in the right places, so that it fits the hand perfectly in every position. The first time I picked it up was a revelation, like the first time I'd ever tried on comfortable shoes or something.

Are you sure your favorite necks are "U" shaped? Traditional "U" shaped necks are the ones found on old Gretsches and Nocasters; they're the ones described as baseball bat necks. Although, I suppose some manufacturers describe anything that's chucky with high shoulders as a "U" shaped neck. I have a traditional "U" on my White Falcon and Masterbuilt Stratocaster. I love those guitars, including the necks, but they're serious pieces of wood.

Sorry the Custom 24 didn't work out for you, but don't let that scare you away from PRS.
 

JDutch

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In case it's helpful, here are descriptions of traditional "U" shaped necks taken from Wildwood Guitar's website:

U Neck – .998″ at the 1st fret – 1.013″ at the 12th fret, this is the largest neck profile with very little taper, large “shoulders”
 
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