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Thread: Is my neck too narrow?

  1. #1

    Default Is my neck too narrow?

    I'm working on my first ever instrument build, an F5. The neck is attached, and I just glued the back on. For some reason I thought to double-check the width of the neck at the nut location. It measured 1 1/16". Is this too narrow??

    I ordered my fretboard from LMI, since I doubted my own skills at the precision required to cut the fret slots. I cut out the fretboard according to the template in the Siminoff plans. But when I add the binding, it will definitely be wider than the neck. So I'm going to need to narrow the fretboard before binding, I guess?

    But will a neck 1 1/16" wide and the resulting narrower fretboard be too little space to properly fit the strings??

    Thanks for your help.


  2. #2
    Adrian Minarovic
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, Europe

    Default Re: Is my neck too narrow?

    1 1/16" is pretty much standard neck width at nut. SOme folks prefer slightly wider at 1 1/8" but there are makers who build it closer to 1" (Gibson F-9's are known to be extremely slim)
    Make sure your fingerboard will fit the neck wit minimal wood removal after gluing (use removable pins through two fret slots so it won't move duirng clamping) and you are good to go.

  3. #3
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Southeast Tennessee

    Default Re: Is my neck too narrow?

    The best answer to this question is "whatever fits your hand and technique."

    Although the current "standard" is 1 1/16", most of the mandolins built in the 1910's were 1 3/16". Necks gradually became narrower starting in the early to mid 1920's. Currently, some players are finding wider fingerboards to be more comfortable, and some makers are starting to offer them again.

    I personally prefer a wider fingerboard. Many other folks prefer narrow boards.

    I find the neck shape to be at least as important as the neck width.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    S.W. Wisconsin

    Default Re: Is my neck too narrow?

    I have instruments with 1 1/4" to 1 1/8" and to me the difference that is noticeable is the neck depth, not the width.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Is my neck too narrow?

    My favorite mandolin neck measures right at one inch at the nut
    and a slim neck dimension. Short fingers.

  6. #6
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Westchester, NY

    Default Re: Is my neck too narrow?

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    I have instruments with 1 1/4" to 1 1/8" and to me the difference that is noticeable is the neck depth, not the width.
    That is funny. I am exactly the opposite. I prefer 1-1/8” and most of my playing instruments have necks like that but they vary in depth. The key in any case is that it is personal choice.

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  7. #7
    Celtic Bard michaelpthompson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Arvada CO
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    Default Re: Is my neck too narrow?

    I have an old bowlback with a one inch neck width, which is comfortable for my small hands. I also play on 1 1/8 inch necks. Depends on the player.

  8. #8
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Beaverton, OR, USA

    Default Re: Is my neck too narrow?

    The main difference I feel between my 1-1/16 and 1-3/16 mandolins is that the nearly impossible (for me) G and D chop chords become more impossible on the wider nut mandolin.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog:

  9. #9
    Registered User LongBlackVeil's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014

    Default Re: Is my neck too narrow?

    my gibson a9 is that size and i find it pretty comfortable if not totally ideal
    "When you learn an old time fiddle tune, you make a friend for life"

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