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Fast Necks


Rocky McDougall

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Old men are opinionated, I admit that. However, we have the privilage of fussing about things that bug us. The burr under my saddle for a long time is the saying, usually by new players, that a slim neck is a fast neck. They are usually refering to a Jazz style neck. I don't know of any blazing speed solos I have heard that were played below the 5th fret, where the Jazz neck is slim and "fast". Almost all fast playing is done above the 15th fret where the P and J necks are the same width. My old girlfriend is a FrankenFender with a 22 fret "Precision" neck. It is 1 5/8" at the neck, BUT, at the 15th fret it is 1/8" narrower than the standard Jazz neck. So...is this a fast neck? It's not important because I play really slow.

Rocky

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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Actually, I fully agree, how thin is the neck on a 5 or even 6 string, and how many players go super fast on those?

 

I think it has more to do with finish, depth, action and feel. Different necks will play at different speeds depending on the player.

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I have been playing my 6-string a lot lately, because I am in a new band. For some reason, the neck seems to be getting faster.

BTW, I typed this slowly, in case anybody out there is a slow reader :)

 

 

***Why?***

Because with these two fingers on my right hand, I can make a room full of women all move their butts at the same time.

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Me? I'm typingh realyy resally fast.

 

A fast neck for me is with the strings at the bridge end a bit closer, like on my couple of four strings that I fixed into five string basses. To me, they are also fast at the nut end as the strings are a fair bit closer to the edge of the fingerboard.

 

 

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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For me, the biggest impact on speed is action, and I'll call a neck where you can maintain low action with little or no buzzing, a fast neck. The higher the action, the greater the distance my fingers have to move to press the string down, and the farther I have to move to release it cleanly. Low action cuts those distances down, and therefore allows me to move to the next position sooner. No other metric on the neck impacts my top speed that I've noticed.

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Delusional Mind

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I picked up a fair amount of speed after I installed TI Jazz Flats on my P Special, they're SO easy to play. However, I'm not as fast on my Jazz bass, which is strung with rounds. Setup is the same for both, and they both have the same Jazz neck.

I'm talking general speed here, not soloing. I think it's the strings in this case.

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"Fast" could also be classified as "easy to play". What things can contribute to this? Neck width, neck thickness,neck contour, size of frets, type of finish on the back of the neck and type of strings. But most important is the dexterity of the player. Players who have spent many, many hours increasing their hand/finger speed (without loosing accuracy)and their knowledge of the neck positions. A player of this caliber can probably play fast on just about any neck.

Rocky

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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There are lots of factors, and it's how they relate to each other and to your hand shape and size, that makes the final determination of whether a neck is "fast" or not.

 

Some of the factors include:

 

neck radius

fretboard material

finished or unfinished neck

neck width at nut

neck width near the 12th fret

how much you sweat

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The phrase "fast neck" is completely meaningless.

It's all a matter of individual comfort/familiarity.

My basses each have radically different neck sizes/shapes. Whichever bass I've been spending the most time with recently is the one I feel most comfortable on.

 

Neck size/shape might be important to someone who is just starting out on bass guitar, but I played skinny-string guitar for many years before switching to bass guitar as my primary instrument. At the beginning I found my right hand, not the left, was the limiting factor as far as "speed" went.

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String spacing. I just picked up my Synapse after not playing it for awhile. It feels slow. Crazy slow. I can slap better on it, but it is definitely slowing me down. And it's not the fact that it has a chunky thick neck; it's the string spacing.

 

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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