Total Beginner: Neck Profile

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by BonMat, Aug 26, 2017.

  1. BonMat

    BonMat New Member

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    That's really relevant, actually, because I've been struggling with that question.

    I realize a stoptail might be more reasonable for a beginner. And my interests don't include the sorts of rock that include aggressive whammy effects. Among a few different styles, I enjoy blues-tinged rock. And while, as far as I can tell, a lot of tremolo work in that style is simply done with the fret hand, there's a particular piece of music that finally motivated me to take up guitar in the first place: the opening theme to Better Call Saul by Little Barrie. Sort of blues; sort of surf. Really cool. I just really want to learn that opening riff, which includes a downward tremolo (correct?). Here's a brief video, showing the lead guitarist on what I assume is a Gretsch Streamliner with a Bigsby.

    So if I ever want to perfect that riff, I'm gonna need a trem, but I'm trying to look beyond a single song.
     
  2. Atomic

    Atomic Who Dat

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    the usefulness and/or playability of trem guitars does not begin or end with "whammy" effects. you can use them subtly and if youre careful with your picking hand (i.e. not ham-fisted with the palm mutes) you wont play everything out of tune nor will you need to block the trem to get everything sorted out right. when set up well they are just as stable as stoptail models. I wouldnt be prejudicial. just pick the one you like regardless of the bridge style.

    something complicated like a Floyd is an exception though. they are doable for a beginner but they add a level of complexity for not much return. they work well for a specific purpose though.
     
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  3. BonMat

    BonMat New Member

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    Thanks! And that's something I was wondering about, actually: isn't the PRS trem essentially a Floyd Rose-style bridge (minus the locking nut)? If not, I don't understand the distinction.
     
  4. Atomic

    Atomic Who Dat

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    Noooooo...

    the prs bridge is more like a Fender or Wilkinson type. its a "six point" trem where the bridge rides on six special screws that act as a fulcrum point. the string tension is balanced by the trem springs on the back side of the guitar. otherwise the strings pass through the bottom side of the trem and break over the saddles at a particular angle. in essential functionality a Floyd type is similar however thats where the similarity ends.

    the Floyd adds extra functionality in the form of the locking nut and the locking bridge ends with "fine tuners" to compensate for the fact that once you lock down the strings at the nut the guitar's headstock tuners are essentially useless. the prs trem doesnt have or require this added complexity.
     
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  5. BonMat

    BonMat New Member

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    Ah, I see. (In my mind, I'd oversimplified what constitutes a Floyd.) Thanks!
     
  6. Lee B.

    Lee B. I stitch my wings and pull the strings.

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    I've got both wide-fat and wide-thin profile necks, and I can definitely tell the difference right away when switching between them. The wide-thin is easier to play fast scales and stretched-out chord voicings on, but my hand cramps sooner playing 1st-3rd position rhythms on the wide-thin than on the wide-fat. I think this is just because the wide-fat fills my hand more and that relieves my thumb a bit. My hands are fairly big, though. If the Tremonti feels more comfortable to you, by all means, that's the one I think you should get.

    I wouldn't worry much about whether or not it has a trem. There are numerous easy/inexpensive ways to make trems less of a hassle. My personal suggestion is to set it up floating with all five springs installed. This does make the trem action pretty stiff, but also makes it behave more like a fixed bridge when you bend notes, all while still keeping full trem functionality. The next best option is to physically block it in place inside the trem cavity with an aftermarket trem block or even a cut-to-size piece of wood. I don't recommend "decking" trems (setting the trem bottom pulled completely flush with the guitar top) because you will scratch up your top and put more stress on the strings at the saddles, which could cause string breakage. The ugliest blemish on my 27-year old EG is the scraggly indentation from the previous owner decking the trem.

    Happy hunting!
     
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  7. Guitarsan

    Guitarsan "I floor it. That’s technical talk." SRV

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    Some guitar players are more sensitive to neck profiles, scale length, nut/fretboard width, and radius than others. What matters to you as an individual is, well, individual. Take me. I can play virtually any neck about the same, except the biggest "baseball bat" necks do bother me. So I've never owned one of those. I would say I have medium size hands. And while we're talking necks, having said that, the McCarty 594 neck is the sweetest neck I've ever played with its asymmetrical profile, but save that for your third guitar. ;)

    You're right to question if you're overthinking it, but as a beginner, I would just go back one or two times trying to play both and see if the difference still feels the same to you. You will be inspired and motivated more by a guitar that "feels/plays" better to you, so don't discount this. Trust but verify, I say. Hope that helps!
     
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  8. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    Looks like this thread brought out a few members of the "small hands" guitarist club, of which I am a founding member.

    Although I do wonder at some folks here who say they have small hands - there is no way in tarnation I can get my thumb to fret the E-string, much less touch the D-string, unless I am only fretting the e-string with my pinky, perhaps! Certainly not playing a D chord, for example.

    My hand span is 8" (almost exactly, I can use it like a ruler), and my middle finger (here, let me show you ;)) is 3 1/8" long. Tiny hands.

    I have most of the variations of PRSi neck profiles, and while the wide-thin was what I wanted at first, I have come to realize all of the neck profiles are quite playable. I find the WF of the ZM to be just as comfortable as the WT on my CU24. Maybe my playing and grip adjusts accordingly. :shrug:

    One thing about the ZM: do you like the feel of the satin neck? That may be an important factor.

    I am surprised the unplugged tone of the (solid-body) Tremonti sounded better than the semi-hollow ZM, but hey, you are the one listening with your ears, not me!

    Although your eyes are drawn to the ZM, if you like the sound of the Tremonti I suspect you will be inspired to play longer on it once you do pick it up.

    I wouldn't let the trem issue be a factor, unless you really want it or hate it specifically, which it looks like is not the case.

    So...I would say buy the one that feels most natural in your hands, and if that is not a deciding factor, go with sound - plugged and unplugged.

    Or...play a different model again, like an SE CU24, and see where that gets you - it might just be the thing to push you over the edge and say "this is the guitar I want".
     
    #28 shinksma, Aug 28, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2017
  9. flux

    flux 594 & CU24

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    Sounds like solid advice to me. It's nice to try and visualize all the small details where specs are concerned, but that's usually a bit challenging until you've acquired enough experience to really understand and know your preferences (which of course take time to develop as you learn). I cut my teeth years ago on skinny 80s shredder necks, and these days you'd need a SWAT team to get the 594 out of my hands. Pattern vintage just has the exact feel I'd been craving.

    As a beginner, whatever you're most comfortable with as well as motivated to pick up and play should win the day. Your preferences will almost inevitably change over time, but putting a quality instrument that you love in your hands, from the beginning, will do you all the right favors -- and you're already off to a great start. Best of luck!
     
    #29 flux, Aug 28, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2017
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  10. lurker john

    lurker john New Member

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    The 594 has a big, fat neck? I'm considering this guitar and the last thing I need is a big, fat neck. Pattern Vintage, correct?
     
  11. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    Yes, Pattern Vintage. It's not really big and fat. At least not like the baseball bat necks on an R8. The PV is really comfy to play. At least I find it so. YMMV.
     
  12. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!

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    You have to play as many as possible, and just see how they feel in your hand. As you can tell by the replies, there`s no "best" neck or guitar. When the PRS trem is set up properly, it is a thing of beauty. I find my non-trem PRS getting played less and less. YMMV, but I`d suggest a trem guitar.
     
  13. lurker john

    lurker john New Member

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    How does the Pattern Vintage compare to the Patter Regular? Much bigger, just a little bigger?
     
  14. kes7u

    kes7u Wife's husband and Dog's dad

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    You're introducing another variable when comparing it to Pattern Regular, which is slightly smaller top to bottom as well. I have none of those to compare. In relation to the Pattern Neck, the Pattern Vintage feels a little bigger overall, to me.

    Kevin
     
  15. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    This may help put it in better perspective.

    [​IMG]

    Personally, I prefer the Pattern Vintage. Less of a C shape. At least it feels that way to me.
     
  16. owickerman

    owickerman New Member

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    For a start.
     
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  17. kes7u

    kes7u Wife's husband and Dog's dad

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    Thanks! Holy Crap! Didn't realize pattern vintage was that much deeper than Pattern. Both very comfortable to me.

    Kevin
     

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