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Thread: Long Neck vs. Short Neck

  1. #1
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    I'm relatively new to mandolins. Can you all enlighten me on the differences between a long neck and a short neck? Is there a difference in tone? Is one easier to play than the other? What do most folks prefer? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I like a long neck simply because it is easier to play chords up the neck. When you only have 9 frets or so to the neck joint, it gets hard to play closed chords in some keys. I don't often play melody up high, so that's not so much of a problem.

  3. #3
    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    I like a short neck, with an attached fretboard on ovals, which puts the bridge closer to the tailpiece. The longer necks with the raised fretboards I have played just don't seem to have as much of the "oval tone" I like. Also, the music I play on my oval, old-time and Irish, don't require at lot of work up the neck.

    This discussion reminds me of a funny quip John McGann made on this message board. He said words to the effect that if you play too high up the neck on a mandolin, you will attract biting insects!




  4. #4
    Registered User Chip Booth's Avatar
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    I have both and I prefer the feel of the longer neck. I will occasionally feel slighly jammed up by the body on the shorter neck. As Mando Johnny alluded to, you usually find the 14 fret neck on F hole mandolins with a floating fretboard and 12 fret necks on oval instruments where the fingerboard is attached to the top. These setups make for very different sounds, and in the end the sound you want is probably a more important decison than the type of neck. You can likely get used to a longer or shorter neck, but you'll rarely get a good chop from an oval hole mandolin, etc.

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