Here's a weird observation...

An Abiding Dude

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So I have a PRS S2 Standard that I haven't had much of a chance to play on, so I dusted it off and was playing a song that is based around the cowboy chords of "E," "B7," and "A" (playing the A chord with my middle, ring and pinky fingers so the high E string can ring) and I noticed my fingers felt crowded compared to playing a Gibson. My curiosity got the better of me and I started doing some crude measurements using a sheet of paper and pen. String spacing on the nut - virtually identical. Space between the nut and the first fret, first fret and second fret - virtually identical. The only difference I could find is that the Gibson fretboard is approximately an 1/8" wider (or about 3 mm for you culturally non-Anglo folk). That's the only real difference I could find. Is this my mind playing a trick on me or does that tiny bit of width really make that big of a difference when it comes to playing comfort? Anyone else have a similar experience?
 

Col Mustard

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my first question would be: Where's your thumb?

IMHO a lot of us wrap our thumbs around the neck and play with a cramped hand. Especially those of us who are self taught.
Some guitarists overcome this handicap by raw talent and perseverance. But if you keep your thumb behind the neck, your hand won't be likely to feel cramped. Neck size and shape become irrelevant. You can play any instrument.

I learned this the hard way of course.
By the time I was learning to play bass, I recognized this and learned bass the right way. So I was always a better bass player than I was a guitar player.

Getting my first SG and joining this forum helped me learn and articulate this idea. So my thought is that it might not be the neck ...it might be your hand posture.
 

3bolt79

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I have an old Strat that is 42mm wide at the nut. My SG seems much more spacious to play at the nut. It’s not your imagination.
 

An Abiding Dude

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my first question would be: Where's your thumb?

IMHO a lot of us wrap our thumbs around the neck and play with a cramped hand. Especially those of us who are self taught.
Some guitarists overcome this handicap by raw talent and perseverance. But if you keep your thumb behind the neck, your hand won't be likely to feel cramped. Neck size and shape become irrelevant. You can play any instrument.

I learned this the hard way of course.
By the time I was learning to play bass, I recognized this and learned bass the right way. So I was always a better bass player than I was a guitar player.

Getting my first SG and joining this forum helped me learn and articulate this idea. So my thought is that it might not be the neck ...it might be your hand posture.
Yeah, way too late for that kind of discipline to relearn lefthand position technique, Col. Been using my thumb forever to choke the low E string when playing any other cowboy chord except E and G or doing the D/F# in the bass thing. Also, there' the Hendrix school of using your thumb to play the low note on a partial barre chord to free up the pinky for accents, etc. In the long run, its not that big of a deal, and the solution is as simple just selling the PRS if it becomes too annoying and playing my other guitars that are comfortable...like a Gibson SG! just wondering if anyone else had a similar experience, such as Mr. 3Bolt79.
 

MR D

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So I have a PRS S2 Standard that I haven't had much of a chance to play on, so I dusted it off and was playing a song that is based around the cowboy chords of "E," "B7," and "A" (playing the A chord with my middle, ring and pinky fingers so the high E string can ring) and I noticed my fingers felt crowded compared to playing a Gibson. My curiosity got the better of me and I started doing some crude measurements using a sheet of paper and pen. String spacing on the nut - virtually identical. Space between the nut and the first fret, first fret and second fret - virtually identical. The only difference I could find is that the Gibson fretboard is approximately an 1/8" wider (or about 3 mm for you culturally non-Anglo folk). That's the only real difference I could find. Is this my mind playing a trick on me or does that tiny bit of width really make that big of a difference when it comes to playing comfort? Anyone else have a similar experience?
Hey DUDE, What up ? I would say thats a HUGE difference. I had an SG Special with 1-13/16" NUT Width and it is only 1 16TH wider than the 1-11/16TH usual NUT Width on a GIBSON...and it was an annoyingly noticeable difference in playing the guitar...I did not particularly like it but the guitar was playable......

so that 1/8TH of an inch difference is DOUBLE that of the difference in what I was dealing with on the SG Special, so I'd say that 1/8TH INCH difference is HUGE in the comfortability dept. as far as playing the guitar goes....and the 1/16TH INCH difference was enough of a difference to make me not want to play my 2015 SG Special (why do that when I have 10 other guitars I like playing better, u kno?)...I SOLD that SG Special....because it had the Les Paul 100 Chicken Scratch on the headstock, but the 1/16th of an INCH NUT WIDTH difference did not help the guitars case for staying in my collection/stable...... and it got the BOOT ! The PRS you have is DOUBLE the difference and I'd say its a HUGE difference...I mean, you did notice something felt off, yes?
 

Steve D

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So I have a PRS S2 Standard that I haven't had much of a chance to play on, so I dusted it off and was playing a song that is based around the cowboy chords of "E," "B7," and "A" (playing the A chord with my middle, ring and pinky fingers so the high E string can ring) and I noticed my fingers felt crowded compared to playing a Gibson. My curiosity got the better of me and I started doing some crude measurements using a sheet of paper and pen. String spacing on the nut - virtually identical. Space between the nut and the first fret, first fret and second fret - virtually identical. The only difference I could find is that the Gibson fretboard is approximately an 1/8" wider (or about 3 mm for you culturally non-Anglo folk). That's the only real difference I could find. Is this my mind playing a trick on me or does that tiny bit of width really make that big of a difference when it comes to playing comfort? Anyone else have a similar experience?
Small differences in width matter but radius matters a lot more than people seem to account for. My PRS has basically the same nut width as my SG and also what they call a wide thin neck which feels to me to have about the same carve as my SG but the radius, I believe, is a big part of why it feels so different in spite of all that.
 

An Abiding Dude

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Hey DUDE, What up ? I would say thats a HUGE difference. I had an SG Special with 1-13/16" NUT Width and it is only 1 16TH wider than the 1-11/16TH usual NUT Width on a GIBSON...and it was an annoyingly noticeable difference in playing the guitar...I did not particularly like it but the guitar was playable......

so that 1/8TH of an inch difference is DOUBLE that of the difference in what I was dealing with on the SG Special, so I'd say that 1/8TH INCH difference is HUGE in the comfortability dept. as far as playing the guitar goes....and the 1/16TH INCH difference was enough of a difference to make me not want to play my 2015 SG Special (why do that when I have 10 other guitars I like playing better, u kno?)...I SOLD that SG Special....because it had the Les Paul 100 Chicken Scratch on the headstock, but the 1/16th of an INCH NUT WIDTH difference did not help the guitars case for staying in my collection/stable...... and it got the BOOT ! The PRS you have is DOUBLE the difference and I'd say its a HUGE difference...I mean, you did notice something felt off, yes?
Not initially, D., but like I said the PRS has been benched for a while and I've been practicing/playing on my Gibsons (mainly to prepare for the Sabbath tribute band I recently joined) so when I did get back to it the neck felt narrow. The weird thing is that the nuts on the PRS and a Gibson seems almost identical in terms of how the strings are spaced apart from each other, so why do they feel so different? I assume it is the radius, as Steve D suggests. I just looked it up and the S2 Standard has a 10" radius whereas most Gibsons have a 12". That could be the rub. Weird how the little things can make a difference though.
 

MR D

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Not initially, D., but like I said the PRS has been benched for a while and I've been practicing/playing on my Gibsons (mainly to prepare for the Sabbath tribute band I recently joined) so when I did get back to it the neck felt narrow. The weird thing is that the nuts on the PRS and a Gibson seems almost identical in terms of how the strings are spaced apart from each other, so why do they feel so different? I assume it is the radius, as Steve D suggests. I just looked it up and the S2 Standard has a 10" radius whereas most Gibsons have a 12". That could be the rub. Weird how the little things can make a difference though.
Yeah, true dat ! IDK about a PRS Radius being 10", I've no clue there....could be the culprit.

PLEASE tell me you are not going to play anything but a GIBSON SG in the Sabbath Tribute Band....anything else would be, WELL, sacreligious ?
There is a Sabbath Tribute Band by me at the moment and the guitarist plays a STRAT and he sounds horrible......they were looking for a Ryhthm Player to fill up the holes as only Tony Iommi can, yes?.....and I volunteered and then I heard the guys tone w/the Strat and I did not even bother auditioning...I figure, if your going to attempt something like that, you better at least get as close to the tone as possible...mistakes can be for-given/gotten BUT overall TONE is either there or its NOT !....and I dont want to be there if its NOT !
I mean ,you have THEEE Guitar for the job, right ?
 

An Abiding Dude

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Yeah, true dat ! IDK about a PRS Radius being 10", I've no clue there....could be the culprit.

PLEASE tell me you are not going to play anything but a GIBSON SG in the Sabbath Tribute Band....anything else would be, WELL, sacreligious ?
There is a Sabbath Tribute Band by me at the moment and the guitarist plays a STRAT and he sounds horrible......they were looking for a Ryhthm Player to fill up the holes as only Tony Iommi can, yes?.....and I volunteered and then I heard the guys tone w/the Strat and I did not even bother auditioning...I figure, if your going to attempt something like that, you better at least get as close to the tone as possible...mistakes can be for-given/gotten BUT overall TONE is either there or its NOT !....and I dont want to be there if its NOT !
I mean ,you have THEEE Guitar for the job, right ?
Of course. Using SGs with P90s, my Classic for the standard tuning stuff and the Iommi "Monkey" '64 Special for the step and a half detuned stuff. Technically, the guy is in the ballpark, as Tony used to play a Strat in the very early days, but as the story goes when they went in to record the first album he used the Strat on one track and then a pickup died. The SG was his backup guitar, he used it and never looked back.
 

PermissionToLand

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The string spacing at the bridge may be different, although it wouldn't make a huge difference by the time you reach the nut. Radius could be a factor.

When you say you measured string spacing at the nut, how did you do it? Do you just mean the relative distance of the high and low Es from the respective ends of the nut? Or the actual space between each string? Are the string gauges the same?
 

An Abiding Dude

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The string spacing at the bridge may be different, although it wouldn't make a huge difference by the time you reach the nut. Radius could be a factor.

When you say you measured string spacing at the nut, how did you do it? Do you just mean the relative distance of the high and low Es from the respective ends of the nut? Or the actual space between each string? Are the string gauges the same?
My very primitive measurement system. The measurements start with the PRS and are compared to a '61 Standard, one of my "wider" feeling necks. But as you can see the differences in both string and fret spacing are almost infinitesimal. Another weird thing is most PRS guitars have a 10" neck radius (the specs for this model list it as such) but I also have a 2004 Strat and Fender's go to neck radius is 9.5" but when I play the Strat it doesn't have that crowded finger feeling.🤷‍♂️

IMG_0889.jpeg IMG_0890.jpeg IMG_0893.jpeg IMG_0894.jpeg
 

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Similar experience this weekend myself. Since I got my SG it's been the only guitar I've played. I took my G&L Fallout for a spin this weekend since it's been in the case for 6+ months. Found myself thinking, dang this thing is way harder to play than the SG. Like yourself I started taking measurements, and looked up the specs on the G&L. Same nut width, same fingerboard radius. (Radius surprised me. I figured the G&L would have a Fender like 9.5") Biggest difference, other than scale length, is the neck shape. My SG has a slim taper, more of a D shape, and the G&L is only slightly thicker front to back, but a C shape. That being said, after a good 10 minutes on the G&L I didn't really notice anymore. I'm a bass player too, so I'm used to big honking necks. (The end of the story is the G&L got put back in it's case, the SG plays, feels, and sounds better by a country mile.)
 

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Of course. Using SGs with P90s, my Classic for the standard tuning stuff and the Iommi "Monkey" '64 Special for the step and a half detuned stuff. Technically, the guy is in the ballpark, as Tony used to play a Strat in the very early days, but as the story goes when they went in to record the first album he used the Strat on one track and then a pickup died. The SG was his backup guitar, he used it and never looked back.
RIGHT DUDE, I appreciate you not wanting to throw the guy in the Sabbath Tribute band under the bus...SO I WILL.....The Strat sounds just horrible tryin to get Sabbath territory down...it just doesn't cut it, AT ALL !..ICB the guy doesnt realize it, I aint tellin him....people get soooo upset when I try to suggestt anything....so I find its just not worth it any longer to even try to tell the guy he aint even in the ballpark !

Correct again DUDE, you FRIKKIN ROCK !!!...'Wicked World' being the one Sabbath track where Tony Iommi is not playing one of this trusty SG's.....
 

An Abiding Dude

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RIGHT DUDE, I appreciate you not wanting to throw the guy in the Sabbath Tribute band under the bus...SO I WILL.....The Strat sounds just horrible tryin to get Sabbath territory down...it just doesn't cut it, AT ALL !..ICB the guy doesnt realize it, I aint tellin him....people get soooo upset when I try to suggestt anything....so I find its just not worth it any longer to even try to tell the guy he aint even in the ballpark !

Correct again DUDE, you FRIKKIN ROCK !!!...'Wicked World' being the one Sabbath track where Tony Iommi is not playing one of this trusty SG's.....
Can't argue with you there, D. Sometimes an artist becomes so synonymous with the guitar they play that seeing them playing any other guitar just looks wrong, like going to and AC/DC tribute and the guy doing Angus is playing a Tele or a Hendrix tribute and the guy's playing a Les Paul. Technically, yeah, it's a guitar and it gets the job done but ultimately, like epic fail, man!
 

An Abiding Dude

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Similar experience this weekend myself. Since I got my SG it's been the only guitar I've played. I took my G&L Fallout for a spin this weekend since it's been in the case for 6+ months. Found myself thinking, dang this thing is way harder to play than the SG. Like yourself I started taking measurements, and looked up the specs on the G&L. Same nut width, same fingerboard radius. (Radius surprised me. I figured the G&L would have a Fender like 9.5") Biggest difference, other than scale length, is the neck shape. My SG has a slim taper, more of a D shape, and the G&L is only slightly thicker front to back, but a C shape. That being said, after a good 10 minutes on the G&L I didn't really notice anymore. I'm a bass player too, so I'm used to big honking necks. (The end of the story is the G&L got put back in it's case, the SG plays, feels, and sounds better by a country mile.)
Nice to know it's not my mind playing a trick on me. Feels like the PRS is on a slow boat to Reverb.com...
 

Steve D

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PRS is designed as a compromise. Gibson scale - 24 3/4" and fender scale length = 25 1/2" so Paul Smith said "I'll put mine in between" and he got 25". He said "Gibson radius is 12" and Fender is 9.5 so I'll go with 10". He doesn't pretend otherwise, he intentionally made it a sort of in between guitar. It has it's own feel for sure. I have an old one and I love it in spite of the weird 5 way rotary switch and substitution of a two-way "sweet switch" toggle instead of a real tone knob. For me THAT particular PRS is a forever guitar. But they aren't for everyone.
 

An Abiding Dude

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PRS is designed as a compromise. Gibson scale - 24 3/4" and fender scale length = 25 1/2" so Paul Smith said "I'll put mine in between" and he got 25". He said "Gibson radius is 12" and Fender is 9.5 so I'll go with 10". He doesn't pretend otherwise, he intentionally made it a sort of in between guitar. It has it's own feel for sure. I have an old one and I love it in spite of the weird 5 way rotary switch and substitution of a two-way "sweet switch" toggle instead of a real tone knob. For me THAT particular PRS is a forever guitar. But they aren't for everyone.
I've heard that too...probably in a PRS promotional video, but by that rationale, shouldn't Paul have gotten closer to a 10.75" radius which is the halfway point between Fender and Gibson?
 

skelt101

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I've heard that too...probably in a PRS promotional video, but by that rationale, shouldn't Paul have gotten closer to a 10.75" radius which is the halfway point between Fender and Gibson?
I thought Paul was using 7.25" as the Fender neck radius...
 


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