The neck has the most profound influence on the playability of any guitar. After all, that’s where your fretting hand goes so it makes sense to pay close attention to the differences between one guitar neck and the next to observe the characteristics that work best for you. The width of the neck is one of the most important things to consider.
Nut Width – Neck width is also known as “nut width” because it is measured at the nut…the little white thing at the end of the neck where the strings are guided onto the fretboard. A narrower neck may feel easier to grasp, but it also means that your fingers can feel more crowded when pressing the individual strings. A wider neck gives your fingers more room, but stretching to reach some chord shapes can be more difficult. While a variety of neck widths are available, most guitar necks come in only one or two different dimensions. Just remember that different guitars play and feel differently because of the width of the neck.
The standard nut width is 1 11/16th inches and that’s what most people are used to. Another common width preferred by fingerstyle players is 1 ¾ inches. Having a wider neck allows fretting fingers more room to maneuver. In order to accommodate the extra pairs of strings, the nut width on most 12 string guitars is 1 7/8th inches and classical guitar neck widths can reach two inches or wider. Bottom line: Neck width can be important; so pay attention to what feels right for you.
From the book “The First Time Guitar Buyers Guide” – get your copy today.