• info@eastwoodguitars.com

Author Archive

Eastwood GP

Limited-Run Ovation Ultra GP Tribute: Eastwood GP Returns!

Eastwood are bringing back a guitar from their own more recent past – which is an exciting prospect in itself! The Eastwood GP is a tribute to the legendary Ovation Ultra GP, and has become a collectible and desirable guitar in its own right!

There’s little doubt that the Ovation Ultra GP is one of those mouth-watering rare guitars, the classic case of a model which didn’t sell well at the time of release, but then became mega-rare, very collectible and desirable instruments, years later. The clue for the main problem with the Ultra GP – and also for one of its main selling points today – lies in the name itself: GP stands for “Guitar Paul”, because, well, at the time of release, this guitar was meant as a head-to-head competition with the Gibson Les Paul. Bad move.

Why? As we explained on a previous blog, the Ultra GP was priced the same as a Les Paul, and people simply didn’t bite. If you wanted a Les Paul, most people probably thought, you might as well buy a Les Paul, rather than an electric guitar from a brand better known for acoustic guitars! And what’s worse – they couldn’t even get things right: called it a “ultra hard body” guitar, rather than “solid body”? How could you trust them?

Ovation Ultra Hard Bodies

Ovation Ultra Hard Bodies ad

The thing is… heck, you really could trust them! The Ultra GPs are superb guitars, as proven by the fact that so many players who actually played a GP would choose it over a Les Paul any day. Ovation thought they could improve on a Les Paul – sounds like sacrilege, but years later, many players will agree they succeeded. 

Queens Of The Stone Ages Live. Josh Homme and his Ovation Ultra GP

Queens Of The Stone Ages Live. Josh Homme and his Ovation Ultra GP

The most notable case was Josh Homme, who used an Ultra GP for a good part of his career – from his early years with Kyuss, to Queens Of The Stone Age. Today, the Ultra GP is quite rare and expensive, and no longer an instrument within most players budget!

The Eastwood Custom Shop GP (2017)

Eastwood GP

Eastwood GP

Which brings us to the Eastwood GP. Discontinued in 2012, this tribute to the Ultra GP became very rare and collectible in its own right – it’s unbelievable how many guitarists say this Eastwood model has become their favourite guitar! 

Now, in 2017, the Custom Shop Eastwood GP is about to be unleashed, but as a very limited run of only 8 guitars – available to pre-order for just $150 deposit (final price will be $799). It seems that 8 guitarists are about to become very, very lucky and happy indeed. As for the rest… they’ll have to keep searching! It really seems like the destiny of the GP (either Ovation’s or Eastwood’s) is to be a guitar desired by many, but played by just a few…

view Eastwood GP

Ivan
Mosrite vs. Sidejack

Mosrite vs. Sidejack: Which One Is Better?

Can a brand new guitar be better than a legendary, vintage one? Mosrite vs. Sidejack: Which One Is Better? This is a tougher question that you might’ve thought…

Before we start a fight, let’s be clear: we LOVE Mosrite here at My Rare Guitars, as Mike himself made clear in previous blogs. They sound amazing, look beautiful, and are some of the most iconic and unique guitars ever made. From a collector’s point of view, it’s a no-brainer: if you can find and afford an original, vintage Mosrite, you should just go for it!

But we all live in the real world, and from a musician point of view, things get a little bit more complicated… and vintage may not be convenient, nor necessarily mean better.

Over the years, there’s been many variations of the Mosrite models: from the Univox guitars in the 70’s, to 80’s and 90’s replicas branded Mosrite, besides other brands making their own versions of the classic design, to varying degrees of success (Hallmark guitars, Danelectro and others).

The thirst for Mosrite guitars has been there for many years – not just because of the Ventures surf-music connection, but also due to it’s connection to seminal rock bands such as The Stooges (Dave Alexander played a Mosrite bass), MC5 (Fred “Sonic” Smith) and, especially, the Ramones (Mosrite was *the* Johnny Ramone guitar).

Fred "Sonic" Smith and his Mosrite

Fred “Sonic” Smith and his Mosrite

The first problem regarding Mosrite is precisely that – most musicians inspired by those artists, who want to actually rock out onstage, wouldn’t (shouldn’t?) really choose a vintage Mosrite to play. After all, Mosrites are too rare, too expensive for actual rock gigs, now! So no wonder so many copies have proliferated.

And then, there’s the other, more pressing question: were the original Mosrites actually that good?

Some well-known Mosrite issues

Vintage Mosrite guitar

Vintage Mosrite guitar

While there’s no question about the build quality of the original Mosrite guitars, and even less doubts about their amazing sound, there WERE some issues which have bothered many players over the years.

Basically, the Mosrite neck were quite idiosyncratic and a big barrier for many, many players who’d otherwise love the guitar: tiny frets, and very thin necks very narrow at the nut – which quite a few players could enjoy but not all – especially if playing lead.

The frets, though, were definitely a big issue. We’ve heard of people who bought original Mosrites and decided to actually re-fret them! Just imagine – you buy a rare, expensive vintage guitar, and feel the urge to actually change its specs – and, by making it not all-original anymore, devaluating the guitar. 

Yep, that’s how bad some people didn’t like those frets.

 

It’s important to note this because, lo and behold, not even The Ventures were too keen on them! Despite their association with Mosrite (after all, mk I model was called “The Ventures”) they actually preferred to use Fender guitars in the studio, and used Mosrites live just because of their contracts.

The Ventures

The Ventures… and their Fenders!

According to an old blog post we found:

“…remember, it was the Ventures that really started using stringbending….and try to bend a string on an orignal model…there is no fret to use…It’s all but filed off… They had specifically asked that the Mosrite necks have the same frets and feel as their favorite Jazzmaster, Stratocaster and PBass.”

Another interesting thing about Mosrites: they didn’t have a nut!

Mosrite headstock

Mosrite headstock

Instead, Mosrite guitars have a  zero fret that acts as a nut, and behind it, they feature a metallic string slide device to keep the strings in place. Looks weird but, apparently, is a very clever design that helps with the intonation.

Vintage 1964 Mosrite bridge

Vintage 1964 Mosrite bridge

Another interesting detail is that Mosrites used a roller bridge, not too dissimilar to a tune-o-matic, but the saddles were actually little wheels that would allow for smooth tuning and smooth tremolo action. However, some players say that  that some of them had issues where the bottom of the saddle didn’t conform to the bridge plate, and would cause buzzing – some players would then put a small and thin piece of felt under the saddle!

All told – everything does seem to show that, for such an expensive piece of rock history, the Mosrites (or some of them) did have playability issues most people shelling out thousands of bucks, today, would rather avoid…

Are Eastwood Sidejacks Better Than Mosrite?

Eastwood Sidejack DLX

Eastwood Sidejack DLX

Now… here’s the million dollar question: are the new Eastwood Sidejack guitars actually better than the legendary Mosrite? As the recent Re-Inventing The Past: From Mosrite to Sidejack blog says, there’s little doubt that the Sidejacks are, today, more popular than the original Mosrites ever were.

The Sidejacks are not “reissues” or replicas of the Mosrite, but modern, updated tributes to the original. They definitely feel more playable, and feature a more familar jazzmaster-style tremolo,  besides adjustable bridge. So, while not 100% like an original Mosrite, the Sidejacks are the true heirs, keeping the Mosrite cult alive – and doing it the RIGHT way: by being used by lots of bands who really love to rock out!

While not quite as well-known as the Jazzmaster (yet?), the Sidejack is equally suitable for surf music, punk or indie rock. For fans of the P-90 sound, simply an amazing choice.

Now… better than a Mosrite? Only YOU can tell, really, if you ever have the chance to compare both. Everyone will have their own opinions… but I know which one I’d rather take to my next gig!

Ivan
Vox MV50

Vox MV50 Review: Are Mini Amps Any Good?

Ever since Orange broke new ground with the Tiny Terror a few years ago, there’s been a surge in giggable mini guitar heads. But the question is: are they any good? Let’s see if a look at the new Vox MV50 can help us to answer this question…

Vox MV50

Vox MV50.

Big, loud guitar amps are part of rock’n’roll mythology. You can’t imagine Jimi Hendrix or Led Zeppelin onstage with only a 20-watt amp with a 1×12  cab, can you? But, back in the real world in 2017, things are a little bit different. As we mentioned on a previous blog, amps don’t need to be too loud now. Most guitarists, if not playing stadiums, will be more than happy with smaller, quieter and more affordable guitar amps. Perhaps that explains the popularity of mini amps!

But one question remains: how BIG does an amp have to be? The answer seems to be… not very big! Since Orange released the ground-breaking Tiny Terror  head 10 years ago, the trend for mini and micro heap amps has only become more popular – and the new Vox MV50 amp, announced at the last NAMM show in January 2017, just reinforces this trend.

The MV50 is very affordable – which in a way might get in the way of some people fully appreciating it. Why? Because guitarists who buy a “budget” gear usually do so because, well, they are on a tighter budget. So it follows that a potential buyer will get a MV50 because they can’t afford a bigger and more expensive head – which probably means they’ll use the MV50 with a cheaper and not very great cab, too! In this case – you can expect the MV50 to sound poor!

Vox MV50

Vox MV50 rear view.

However – if you do have a great cab, you might choose the MV50 for the right reasons: because it sounds pretty good and it’s so tiny and light! The price tag, then, becomes just a welcome bonus. So, just as with the best mini/micro head amps out there, the MV50 sounds good and is very useable – if you use it correctly, ie., paired with a good cab! 

Check this demo, comparing the MV50 against a Vox AC15 (also featuring an Airline 59 3P): 

There’s no doubt that today, in 2017, mini amps such as the MV50 can be good enough for rocking out, not just at home but at gigs. Of course, many of us guitarists are not creatures of logic. We’ll stick to big, loud amps – because they rock, and a tiny amp will never look as cool… maybe Jimi was right all along!

What about YOU? What kind of amp do you prefer? Post your comments and let us know!

Learn more:

Vox MV50 page

Ivan
Flying BV bass

Flying High: New Eastwood “Flying V” Bass & Tenor Guitar!

Flying V guitars have never been the most popular of instruments – but have always been one of the most striking on stage. And those who love them, really love them! So it’s no surprise that the new Eastwood Custom Shop projects have excited so many players already!

Eastwood Flying BV bass in black or natural

Eastwood Flying BV bass in black or natural

Flying V guitars have always been very niche, and not a huge amount of famous players have favoured them over the years, when compared to other, more usual models – for this reason, perhaps, there’s still an air of novelty when anyone is faced with a “V-shaped” guitar. And if the list of players who’ve used “V” guitars isn’t massive, it’s certainly impressive: Jimi Hendrix, Dave Davies (The Kinks), Albert Lee, Lennie Kravitz, Lonnie Mack, Michael Schenker, Noel Gallagher and John Entwistle included.

Some (most?) players won’t own or wish to own a V-guitar. It’s often seen as a bit “too much”. But… and this is a big “but”, those who do like a Flying-V shaped guitar don’t just “like” it, they really love it! Maybe this explains the recent success of the latest Eastwood Custom Shop projects, the Flying TV Tenor guitar, and the Flying BV bass. The former reached it’s 100% target in under a week and is on the way of at least doubling it, whereas the latter is on its way to repeat that same level of success.

Eastwood Custom Flying TV tenor guitar

Eastwood Custom Flying TV tenor guitar

Maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised: after all, a Flying-V bass or a Flying-V tenor guitar are not something you see everyday! Both projects are still crowdfunding at the time of writing, so if you want to guarantee yours, make sure to leave a deposit soon: crowdfunding ends May 11 for the Flying TV, and June 1 for the Flying BV.

Visit Eastwood Custom Shop

Ivan
Colin Newman from Wire

“We are not a punk band” says Wire’s Colin Newman

Wire’s 1977 debut, “Pink Flag”, is widely regarded as one of the landmark British punk albums, released the same years as the Sex Pistols’ and The Clash’s debuts. It may come as a surprise, then, that the band don’t see themselves as punks… and never have.

In an exclusive interview for Eastwood guitars, Wire’s lead singer and guitarist, Colin Newman, said:

“Wire really never were a punk band… we happened to be there at the same time. You could list the Ramones as one of our influences, but we were never interested in just doing that genre.”

Eastwood met with Colin Newman ahead of their gig in Leeds, England, last month. Wire were headlining their own festival, DRILL, which takes places in different countries, including the US, England, Belgium and Germany.

The band is currently promoting their new album, Silver/Lead, that shows they are still musically relevant in 2017 – and, perhaps as Colin suggest, not really “punk”. At least not anymore!

Colin Newman live at Leeds

Colin Newman live at Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club

The article also reveals plans for a Colin Newman signature guitar, based on Colin’s favorite guitar – the Airline MAP, which he fitted with a piezo pickup for acoustic tones.

Since forming in 1976, Wire have become one of the most influential British bands from the late seventies – despite never achieving the same level of success as the Sex Pistols or The Clash. Bands as diverse as R.E.M., Sonic Youth, Franz Ferdinand, Blur, Elastica, My Bloody Valentine, Black Flag and, more recently, Parquet Courts, have been influenced by Colin Newman & co. 

Today, with the addition of new guitarist Matt Simms (who joined in 2010), Wire remain relevant and a superb live band – and the same goes for their records. Albums such as Change becomes Us, Nocturnal Koreans and this year’s Silver/Lead are proof of their continued musical vitality.

LISTEN: Wire’s “Short Elevated Period” (from Silver / Lead, 2017)

READ COLIN NEWMAN INTERVIEW

Ivan
moonduoIGGY600

WATCH: Moon Duo Covers The Stooges’ ‘No Fun’

Iggy Pop turned 70 last Friday, April 21. To celebrate the birthday of one of the greatest frontmen in Rock’n’Roll, Moon Duo covered The Stooges’ ‘No Fun’ on BBC Radio 6.

On this video, Moon Duo singer / guitarist Ripley Johnson uses, as usual, his Airline 59 3P Ripley Custom, his own signature guitar and also an unique model in the Airline 59 family, as it features our Transwarp Drive boost.

Airline 59 3P Ripley Custom

Airline 59 3P Ripley Custom

Rock on, Ripley!

 

Moon Duo’s worldwide tour continues in the U.S. and Canada. If you’re around to catch one of those dates, don’t miss it!

21/4/17 Chicago @ The Empty Bottle w/ Jackie Lynn 
22/4/17 Detroit @ El Club w/ Jackie Lynn 
23/4/17 Toronto @ Horseshoe Tavern w/ Jackie Lynn 
25/4/17 Montreal @ La Sala Rossa w/ Jackie Lynn 
26/4/17 Boston @ Great Scott w/ Jackie Lynn 
27/4/17 Brooklyn @ Rough Trade w/ Jackie Lynn 
28/4/17 Philadelphia @ Johnny Brenda’s w/ Jackie Lynn 
29/4/17 Washington DC @ DC9 w/ Jackie Lynn 
30/4/17 Cleveland @ Beachland Tavern w/ Jackie Lynn

More info:

Moon Duo official website

View Airline 59 3P Ripley information

Ivan
Slide guitar

How To Play Slide Guitar

There are few things more satisfying for a guitarist than playing slide – you know, proper, blues slide guitar! And guess what? It’s not that hard… if you follow some simple tips!

Hound Dog Taylor

Hound Dog Taylor, a slide guitar legend, with his Kawai SD-40, now reissued by Eastwood.

Before we start, it’s important to make clear that the slide guitar technique wasn’t invented for blues, and is not for exclusive use for blues guitarists. The origins of slide can be traced to one-stringed African instruments, and anyone can use a slide in any musical style – from Hawaiian music to experimental, noisy bands such as Sonic Youth. George Harrison was also an adept of the slide, using it on Beatles tracks and in solo recordings. 

But of course, it’s in the blues format (and blues-inspired rock’n’roll) where the slide found its perfect home, and one of the earliest accounts of the blues, by W. C. Handy, mentions an unknown blues player at a Mississippi train station, playing slide guitar… with a knife!

“As he played, he pressed a knife on the strings of the guitar in a manner popularised by Hawaiian guitarists who used steel bars. The effect was unforgettable.”

So, it’s for those interested in playing blues slide that this blog is intended.

You don’t need a special guitar… but you will need a “slide set up”

Though lap-steel guitars and resonator guitars are used for playing slide, it doesn’t mean you need one. Any guitar will do, whether electric or acoustic. If you plan to play or practice slide regularly, it’s recommended that you get a new / spare guitar just for that, because it’ll need a few extra adjustments for this purpose, which may not feel great when going back to playing your normal style, without a slide!

Eastwood Custom SD-40

We’re partial of the Eastwood Custom SD-40 , inspired by the one used by Hound Dog Taylor, of course!

But don’t worry, those adjustments are fairly simple:

  • the action on your guitar needs to be setup higher than usual, otherwise it’ll rattle too much. 
  • it’s recommended to use slightly heavier gauge strings for a “thicker” tone, though that’s a matter of taste, mostly.
  • the guitar needs to be tuned to an “open” tuning, because you won’t be making any chord shape with your slide!

What are the best slide guitar tunings?

You’ll manage with any open tuning, but the most common are Open G and Open D, as used in many legendary blues recordings.

OPEN G: G B D G B E

OPEN D: D A D F# A D

Here’s a good example of how the open D tuning sounds like. The slide used was a heavy gauge Bronze one by Dunlop.

 

What’s the best kind of slide: glass or metal?

Again, this is a matter or taste. Generally speaking, glass / pyrex slides will give you a warmer tone, and metal slides (bronze, steel…) will give you a louder and brighter tone, besides the fact they won’t break! Of course, there’s a taste for everything and some players will say bronze is better than steel etc etc… the best thing is: go to a shop and try a few, or if in doubt – just go for any steel slide, because that’s the most common.

There are also ceramic slides, which are not as popular as glass or metal, but which many connoisseurs prefer, because they sit somewhere between the warmth of glass and the sharpness of metal.

This video of the new Eastwood The Continental by Jeff Senn features a glass slide – check the tone! 

 

 

On which finger should I  put the slide?

The most common choice is the ring finger, which makes it easier to use the slide wherever you play on the fretboard. Some players prefer to use the pinky, because this way you can more-or-less easily use the other fingers to play chords. 

For beginners – just go with the ring finger, we say! 

Two quick slide guitar lessons to get you started

Now that you are all set to go, here’s two of our favorite slide guitar lessons on Youtube, to get you started!

RJ RONQUILLO: 6 SLIDE GUITAR LICKS

The always excellent RJ shows how to play 6 side licks plus talks a bit about the guitar setup.

 

SLIDE GUITAR BLUES LESSON IN OPEN D

One of the best and most straight-forward guitar lessons we’ve ever seen on YouTube. WARNING: some profanity ahead… make sure no kids are around!

Ivan
The Continental by Jeff Senn

New Jeff Senn & Eastwood Custom Shop Guitar

The Continental is the latest collaboration between Jeff Senn and Eastwood. This model is more “upmarket” than the popular Model One, and looks very much like a vintage classic!

On a recent interview on the Eastwood website, Jeff Senn Explained the inspiration behind his new design, which also has a certain hint of the legendary Supro Ozark to it.

“When I was building the original Continental for myself it was built with a vintage Supro pickup in the bridge position and a vintage Guyatone pickup in the neck position. When we decided to make The Continental available as a production instrument I chose pickups that evoked a similar tonality but were easily accessible. 

“It’s a very versatile combination as the guitar can twang, growl, sparkle and cover many genres of music from Punk to Western Swing, Blues and Jazz. I’m personally drawn to guitars that I can take on almost any gig without worrying if they will fit the style of music. Versatility is a good thing and this is what I had in mind for The Continental. Another aspect of the pickup choices is that they are easily replaceable with a plethora of choices should the player want a different sound or output. By mounting the mini-humbucker in a P-90 rout the mini can be traded out easily for a P-90 should the owner wish to, which would be another great version of the instrument.”

Read the full Jeff Senn interview here.

More about the Continental by Jeff Senn

The Continental by Jeff Senn

The Continental by Jeff Senn

It’s worth mentioning that The Continental is NOT in production just yet (March 31 as we write this) because this is a new crowdfunding project by the Eastwood Custom Shop. Even though the guitar was designed by Jeff Senn, this model won’t be manufactured or sold by Jeff Senn Guitars, Senn’s own brand.

Those interested can simply pay a deposit ($200 for hardtail version, $250 for Bigsby version) via the Eastwood Continental Page, to guarantee theirs – if Eastwood reach their target! If they don’t reach at least 100% of their goal, the guitar won’t be made and those who left a deposit will be refunded.

Crowdfunding ends on April 27, 2017.

But, oh boy… it’s such a beautiful guitar, that we can only hope she’ll get made! It would be a shame otherwise, wouldn’t it?

View the Continental

Ivan
Chuck Berry

Goodbye, Chuck Berry (1926 – 2017): The Father Of Rock’n’Roll

Last weekend, we lost a true legend: Chuck Berry died on 18th March, aged 90. Make no mistake, folks – the world lost the one person who truly epitomised the spirit of Rock’n’Roll. Here’s our tribute.

Chuck Berry

The origins of Rock’n’Roll  are somewhat murky, and there are many contenders for what was supposed to be “the first rock song ever”. But Chuck Berry was without a doubt the true father of rock’n’roll. He’s the one person who truly personified its spirit, the seminal influence who laid down the foundations for all that was to come. The outsider. The guitar hero. The rebel. The songwriter. The outlaw. The poet. Oh, and so much more…

Rock’n’Roll Music! 

It could be argued that some artists who followed became more famous, made better albums, and recorded more hits… but none of them would’ve been the same without Chuck Berry, whose lyricism, and genius for simple, memorable songs set the template for the best which rock music had to offer thereafter. Berry songs fuelled The Beatles’ early sets (and final albums); inspired The Beach Boys’ first hit and The Rolling Stones’ debut single. His DNA lives on in pretty much any rock band and guitarist worth anything.

In the past decades his presence had been waning from the music scene and, sadly, perhaps the majority of millennials were not particularly aware of Chuck Berry’s music or influence – but even younger generations will have been touched by his influence… after all, most of them will be probably familiar with Back To The Future’s rock’n’roll ball scene, a delightful homage to Berry and one of the most classic scenes from that film!

Chuck Berry, the father of rock'n'roll

Chuck Berry, the father of rock’n’roll…

The fact is – most of us grew up in a world were Chuck Berry and his music existed, a world where Chuck Berry was a fact of life, and where his songs were so interwoven in the fabric of our culture, that we didn’t even have to think about it, because he’s always been there…  so it’s hard – or even impossible – to imagine how rock music would’ve been without his influence. 

Anyone who’s seen the octogenarian Chuck Berry on stage, will know how fragile he was in his later years, hardly capable of playing his guitar anymore. Though it was an upsetting sight, and some will say he was being exploited by promoters or whoever, we can’t really agree with this view. Any musician passionate about music, and who understands the power of rock’n’roll music, will immediately understand it was something Chuck simply had to do. To play and perform for as long as he was able to, however he could. That’s rock’n’roll, and Chuck Berry was rock’n’roll. How could he do anything else?

And indeed, Chuck kept working. On his 90th birthday, on 18th October last year, it was announced that there would be a new Chuck Berry album, his first in more than thirty years, to be released later in 2017.

Listen! Chuck Berry’s new single, ‘Big Boys’:

‘Big Boys’ is the first taster for Chuck Berry’s upcoming new album, now sadly a posthumous release.

Chuck tracklisting:

1. “Wonderful Woman”
2. “Big Boys”
3. “You Go to My Head”
4. “3/4 Time (Enchiladas)”
5. “Darlin’”
6. “Lady B. Goode”
7. “She Still Loves You”
8. “Jamaica Moon”
9. “Dutchman”
10. “Eyes of Man”

Jeff Senn tribute to Chuck:

Here’s a little tribute our friend Jeff Senn made in Chuck’s homage, playing his new Continental model:

Chuck lives on, in anyone who really cares about guitars and about that magical crazy thing called rock’n’roll. We’ll miss you, Chuck, goodbye!

Chuck Berry, RIP

CHUCK BERRY (Oct 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017)

Ivan
Playing a wide neck guitar

All You Need To Know About… Wide Neck Guitars

Wide neck guitars – what’s it all about? Do you need one? Here’s a look at all you need to know about this niche (for now) market which is increasingly growing…

Playing a wide neck guitar

A few years ago, Gibson announced their 2015 range of electric guitars, which featured several changes that didn’t please many of their core customers – and one of those changes was a wider neck. The move proved a big PR fiasco, with many players thinking that Gibson had finally lost the plot, and that the wide necks were one of the most visible signs of that.

Looking back, perhaps Gibson had the right idea, but just dealt it the wrong way, by having all their 2015 models being made with wide necks – thus depriving their customers of choice: there is indeed an increasing market for wide neck guitars, no question about that… but it’s not for everybody!

Why play a Wide Neck guitar? Is it for YOU?

The fact is, if we’re honest, that a good chunk of the population is, well… getting chunkier! To be totally blunt about it – fatter people have fatter fingers, and it can (sometimes, for some players) make it harder for  them to play a guitar which has a narrower neck. But also, anyone who’s bigger and thus got bigger hands might find it a bit troublesome to deal with a standard, narrow neck guitar…

For those players, opting for a wide neck guitar can make a huge difference! It’s in fact quite remarkable that for so many years, the industry has not focused on this problem, but now guitars with wide necks are not such a rarity anymore.

Please bear in mind that when we say “wide neck” we don’t refer to the thickness of the neck, which is something else altogether – as most players will be aware, different guitars my have different neck profiles, with different shapes and different thickness (which is a subject that’s itself worth a separate blog!)

We are, of course, talking about the actual width of the fingerboard. Visually, at a quick glance, many people might not notice any difference in some cases, but the relationship between the player’s hand and the fretboard is so crucial and subtle, that just a matter of tiny millimetres can make a huge difference – the difference in fact, between you loving a guitar or maybe even loathing it!

Take two very similar guitars, such as the Airline Tuxedo, and the new Airline Tuxedo WN Wide Neckrecently announced:

Airline Tuxedo

1) Airline Tuxedo

Airline Tuxedo Wide Neck

2) Airline Tuxedo Wide Neck

The first picture is of an original Tuxedo, with a width at nut of 1 11/16″, while the second one is a Tuxedo WN, with width at nut of 1 7/8″.

We’re talking about minimal differences here, but which play a crucial factor on how much playable you will think a guitar is – depending on how comfortable either of them feels on your hand!

Going back to Gibson, here’s another comparison: the maligned 2015 Les Paul had a width at nut of  1.795″, whereas “normal” Les Paul Standard has a width at nut of 1.695″. That’s right – 0.1″ of difference that’s enough to make someone simply hate an instrument!

But that’s the crux here – it’s not about the instrument, because there’s nothing wrong with a wide neck, it’s just a matter of: do YOU actually need one?

Other Guitar Companies Who Make Wide Neck Guitars

Eastwood / Airline is the latest brand to embrace wide necks, but the Airline Tuxedo WN is currently still just a custom shop project. There are other brands who’ve been adopting the wide neck design too, over the years, besides Gibson.

The Zarley Wide Neck Guitars was founded by Tracy Todd, who decided to make wide neck models after years struggling with playing standard guitars, and their instruments have been welcomed by players who fancied wide necks:

Zarley Wide Neck

Zarley Wide Neck

Many “Heavy Rock” brands such as Ibanez, Jackson, BC Rich also make guitars with necks wider than the usual Fenders, Gibsons etc you see around. 

Best Fingerpicking (“Fingerstyle”) Guitars?

Another common use for wide neck guitars is for those who play guitar “finger-picking” style… whatever the size of your hand! Though most fingerpicking guitarists use acoustic guitars, you can also use electrics for that style, and wider necks offer a distinct advantage, due to the wider width at nut and string spacing.

Wide Neck Guitars: for Beginners, too?

Perhaps another angle we could look at, is that wide neck guitars are also perfect for beginners and less experienced players, as it may be easier to try chords. Many people start on guitar playing a cheap Classical acoustic guitar (also known as Spanish or flamenco guitars) which are usually about 2″ wide (approx 49-52mm).

So we can’t see why wouldn’t beginners opting for an electric guitar not enjoy a wide neck model, in fact it could make learning even easier.

Is wide neck right for you? Well… first look at your hands, then let us know!

Ivan