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I am an amateur guitar player and have an old Samick Ls11 electric guitar that has come to its end of life. I plan to buy a new one from something like Jackson brand.

Samick is a cheap Strat imitation, and it appears that it has a typical C-shaped neck which is quite comfortable on my thumb.

As per info I have gathered, Jackson Guitars (JS series) seem to have a relatively flatter & thinner neck; i.e., the back side where one rests his thumb. Under normal amateur playing, would a flatter and thinner neck cause any kind of strain on the thumb, or is there any difference between playing with C-shaped neck and flatter neck that I should be aware of as an amateur player?

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This is anecdotal evidence at best, but my experience is that you get used to whatever is in your hand.

My first guitar that was actually mine and not borrowed was a Charvel (owned by Jackson as it happens) with a very thin neck. It was of the "superstrat" type where it resembles a stratocaster generally but has aims to improve upon that with some modern touches. Basically, it was a shredder guitar, though I was not quite a shredder then in first year or two of playing. It has a very thin neck.

But a couple years after I got that guitar I gradually transitioned from metal to jazz as I learned more about music and got lessons and went to school etc.

That shredder guitar was not ideal for jazz but it worked for a long time. And because I didn't really have the money for a more tonally appropriate guitar I kept using it for a long time past when it was really appropriate. But it sounded fine and felt good in my hands.

Then at some point I got a semi-hollowbody which was much better in terms of the sound that I wanted, but it had a much thicker neck and I worried about the playability. A few weeks into the new guitar I realized that not only did the thicker neck not matter but now playing my Charvel felt weird.

In summary, you'll probably get used to it. If something is really bad or not for you, you'll probably know. If you try both and it's not a huge deal to you, you'll probably get used to it in time. If you play an instrument long enough, it will feel like home. The trick is to play enough different instruments so that you can get an idea of what home best suits you.

(All things considered, I think I preferred both the thinner neck and the tung oil finish compared to a polished neck. Faster is a good way of putting it. But, seriously, I got used to it and would not trade back given that I like my sound so much more now)

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  • You can make it work, but the physiology of your hands does make certain shapes better than others. If you have Kyle Gas type sausage fingers than a wizard neck is going to frustrate you tremendously, if you got thin fingers that are not too long than a wizard can work for you. – Neil Meyer Sep 18 at 9:26
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Probably not.

The line on necks like this is that thinner and flatter necks are "faster". I don't know about that, but with rounder fretboards, you can tend to "fret out" on more extreme bends. There are compound radius necks which have flatter radii higher up the fretboard where you're more likely to bend.

Personally, I like a hard V neck like 50s Telecasters, but the brands that make these necks our them on instruments meant for shred, where ergonomics make for more notes per second, so it shouldn't make things harder.

If possible, play the new instrument first to be sure of how it feels in the hand, but it should feel fine.

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  • Yeah, I agree. The wizard neck made famous by Ibanez is pretty thin, but the Paul Gilbert signature Ibanez has a neck with a girth that you would not associate with Paul Gilbert or Ibanez, because it is quite fat. But then again Paul has long fingers so he can make it work. – Neil Meyer Sep 18 at 9:23
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In my experience no. I have several guitars, including a custom Jackson from the 80's. Based on your description it sounds like you are playing correctly, with your thumb on the back of the neck behind your fingers. This is the most important factor for avoiding strain. Playing with the thumb hanging over the edge of the finger board all the time, and squeezing, will cause strain. The size of the neck would be more of a factor if your playing style was cramped. It will feel different for a while but it shouldn't cause you any trouble.

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