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The design of the electric guitar is consistent across different model lines and types of guitars. While there are standard measurements common to most guitars, there are variations between models and styles that you need to know about.
The most relevant electric guitar dimensions are the width of the neck, neck profile and depth, scale length, fingerboard radius, fret size, string size and spacing, and guitar body shape and weight. These measurements all influence how comfortable and playable a guitar is.
This blog post will discuss each measurement and provide a comparison table of popular electric guitars. Understanding electric guitar dimensions will help you discover your preferences and give you specs to look for when shopping for your next guitar.
We’ll start with the width of the guitar neck. The neck width is essential as it contributes to how comfortable the guitar feels when you’re playing it. The wider the neck, the more space there is for your fingers to move around.
Measuring the width of the neck at the nut is standard. Most guitar manufacturers will give you the nut width, while some manufacturers, such as Ibanez and Yamaha, will tell you the neck width at the 12th fret or the base of the neck.
The neck width and bridge saddles determine how far apart the strings are. Wider necks will provide more space between the strings. For many guitarists, wide and thin necks like the Ibanez Wizard neck are more ergonomic and easier to play.
Guitar neck width is a personal preference, and you may prefer a wider neck if you have larger hands or long fingers. A narrower neck could be preferable to those with smaller hands.
Neck Profile and Thickness
As we discussed in our article about neck profile shapes, the neck profile impacts playability and ergonomics. And the neck profile shape determines how thick the guitar neck is.
The depth of the neck at both the nut and the 12th fret is also important. A thin neck can be more suitable for technical players, while a thicker neck can provide a good platform for rhythm playing and chords.
If you believe the arguments about the type of wood and the materials influencing your guitar tone, a thicker neck might contribute to a fuller tone and more sustain.
Scale length impacts the feel of your guitar. It’s the measurement from the nut to the bridge, affecting factors like string tension, intonation, playability, and tone.
The standard scale length for S-type electric guitars is 25.5” (Fender), but variations between different models and manufacturers include 24.75” (Gibson), 25” (PRS), 27” (ESP baritone), and others.
Some guitars, such as the Fender Mustang, have a shorter 24” scale length making them a good choice for players who want a smaller guitar or those who appreciate the playability of looser strings.
There is less string tension on a guitar with a shorter scale length, making it easier to bend strings and use vibrato. It takes less effort to fret notes and chords.
The longer 25.5” scale length on S-type guitars increases the string tension and response. It takes a little more effort to bend notes, which is more noticeable with a heavier string gauge.
The scale length of PRS guitars sits in a middle ground between Gibson and Fender at 25”, combining the best of both worlds.
Understanding your guitar’s scale length is helpful to ensure you have the playing experience you want.
The fingerboard radius is the curvature of the fretboard from one side to the other. It measures how flat or curved the fretboard surface is.
Many modern Fender guitars, such as the Strat, have a 9.5” radius, while vintage guitars feature a rounder, 7.25” radius. Some modern, vintage-inspired guitars, such as the PRS Silver Sky, also feature a round 7.25” radius.
You will find a 12” radius on most of the Gibson electric guitar model line. The Ibanez RG features a much flatter radius of around 16”, making it well-suited for fast, technical solos.
A rounder fingerboard radius can be more comfortable for rhythm playing and chords, though it’s all a matter of feel and personal preference.
Guitarists can choose a compound radius to get the best of both worlds. It’s rounder in the lower frets and flattens out higher up the fretboard. Open chords and rhythm playing are comfortable on the lower frets, while a flatter radius on the higher frets will facilitate your technical lead playing.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to guitar fret sizes. Different guitars feature larger or smaller frets depending on their design and purpose. Fret size impacts playability and, to a lesser degree, tone.
Here are the five primary fret sizes:
- Vintage frets: As the name suggests, vintage frets are found on older guitars and some modern guitars that emulate a vintage vibe. These frets are the smallest in our lineup.
- Vintage jumbo: Vintage jumbo frets are wider than jumbo frets and shorter than the standard narrow and tall frets.
- Narrow and tall: Narrow and tall frets are common on modern guitars. The name says it all–these frets are on the narrow side and taller than vintage frets.
- Jumbo frets: Jumbo frets are wider than most others and as tall as modern narrow and tall frets. Some blues guitarists favor the larger surface area provided by these frets.
- Medium jumbo: Medium jumbo frets sit between narrow/tall and jumbo frets. They offer good playability and are a popular choice for many guitarists.
Fret size is a matter of personal preference, and what works for one player may not work for another. It’s always a good idea to try out different guitars with different fret sizes to see which you prefer.
The size of the strings, measured in gauge (thickness), also impacts playability. Thinner strings are easier to bend but can lack tone and sustain. Heavier strings contribute to a fuller tone, with more resonance and sustain, but require more effort to play.
If you are just learning to play electric guitar, we suggest a string gauge of .009 to .042. This string gauge is easier on your hands, especially as you build your finger strength and endurance.
Many electric guitarists prefer a string gauge of .010 to .046. This string gauge provides a good balance between playability and tone.
Some blues and jazz players like the tone and robustness of heavier strings. You might also get into thicker string gauges with 7-string guitars and alternate tunings.
String gauge is just one of those essential factors to understand when seeking a particular sound and playing experience from your guitar.
String spacing refers to the distance between the individual strings on a guitar. String spacing impacts playability in a few different ways.
A wider string spacing allows more room for the fingers to maneuver between strings, providing better ergonomics for players with larger hands and specific playing techniques.
Conversely, a narrower string spacing may be more comfortable for players with smaller hands. And with the strings closer together, it can be easier to play chord shapes.
The spacing between guitar strings can also affect a player’s accuracy. If the spacing is too narrow, it may be difficult for a player to fret a single note without touching adjacent strings, causing unwanted buzz or muted notes.
If the guitar strings are too far apart, a player may find it challenging to fret chords or play multiple notes simultaneously.
String spacing relates to the width of the neck, the width of the bridge, and the spacing between individual bridge saddles.
Different types of electric guitar bridges will have different widths and string spacing (compare a Floyd Rose with a Gotoh bridge, for example). There are variations within bridge model lines as well.
It may be helpful to compare guitars within a manufacturer’s model line. For example, the Ibanez RG has wider string spacing (10.8mm) versus the narrower spacing (10.5mm) of the AZ series.
Ultimately, the ideal string spacing depends on the individual player’s hand size, playing style, and personal preference.
It’s essential to try different guitars and find what feels most comfortable and playable to you.
Body Size and Weight
The guitar body’s size and thickness also impact its sound and ergonomics. Thicker, solid-body guitars have more tonewood which increases the natural resonance.
With more wood comes additional weight. Heavier guitars can be more physically demanding to play for an extended period, especially when standing.
Light and thin guitars make the playing experience easier but have less mass for the sound to resonate.
However, the concern about a thin guitar body detracting from the tone may be misplaced for solid-body electric guitars. The guitar’s pickups will have the most significant impact on the guitar’s overall tone.
Still, it’s worth considering the size and weight of a guitar when evaluating a new purchase. After deciding on the type of guitar, look for the variations within that category.
For example, compare a traditional Gibson Les Paul with a modern ESP LTD EC-1000. The ESP has a couple of additional body contours to enhance ergonomics and will likely weigh less than the average Les Paul.
Or take a look at models from the same manufacturer. Compare the Ibanez RG with the lighter, thinner RGA or the S series. The RG is already light, but the S or RGA series could be the way to go if you want to shave off a few more ounces.
To help you compare popular electric guitar models, we’ve put together the following table showing their dimensions.
Remember, these specifications may vary slightly depending on the model and manufacturer, so do your research before purchasing. However, this will give you a good starting point when comparing guitars.
|Model||Nut Width (in/mm)||Neck Profile||Fingerboard Radius (in/mm)||Fret Size||Scale Length (in/mm)||Weight (lbs)|
|Fender Stratocaster (Player Series)||1.650″ / 42mm||Modern “C”||9.5″ / 241mm||Medium Jumbo||25.5″ / 648mm||7-8 lbs|
|Fender Telecaster (Player Series)||1.650″ / 42mm||Modern “C”||9.5″ / 241mm||Medium Jumbo||25.5″ / 648mm||8 lbs|
|Fender Jazzmaster (Player Series)||1.650″ / 42mm||Modern “C”||9.5″ / 241mm||Medium Jumbo||25.5″ / 648mm||8 lbs|
|Fender Jaguar (Player Series)||1.650″ / 42mm||Modern “C”||9.5″ / 241mm||Medium Jumbo||24″ / 609.6mm||8 lbs|
|Fender Mustang (Player Series)||1.650″ / 42mm||“C” Shape||9.5″ / 241mm||Medium Jumbo||24″ / 609.6mm||7 lbs|
|Gibson Les Paul Standard||1.695″ / 43.053mm||Slim Taper||12″ / 304.8mm||Medium Jumbo||24.75″ / 628.6mm||8-10 lbs|
|Gibson SG Standard||1.695″ / 43.053mm||Rounded||12″ / 304.8mm||Medium Jumbo||24.75″ / 628.6mm||6-7 lbs|
|Gibson ES-335||1.695″ / 43.053mm||Rounded C||12″ / 304.8mm||Medium Jumbo||24.75″ / 628.6mm||8 lbs|
|Yamaha Pacifica||1.614″ / 41mm||C Shape||13.75″ / 350mm||Medium||25.5″ / 648mm||7-8 lbs|
|Yamaha Revstar||1.649″ / 41.9mm||Revstar||12″ / 304.8mm||Jumbo||24.75” / 628.6mm||7-8 lbs|
|Ibanez RG (Standard, 421AHM)||1.692″ /43mm||Wizard III||15.7” / 400mm||Jumbo||25.5″ / 648mm||6-7 lbs|
|Ibanez AZ (Prestige, AZ2402)||1.654” / 42mm||AZ Oval C||12” / 305mm||Jumbo||25.5″ / 648mm||7 lbs|
|Ibanez S (Prestige, S6570SK)||1.692″ /43mm||Super Wizard HP||16.929” / 430mm||Jumbo||25.5″ / 648mm||6-7 lbs|
|Ibanez RGA (Standard, RGA42FM)||1.692″ /43mm||Wizard III||15.7” / 400mm||Jumbo||25.5″ / 648mm||6-7 lbs|
|PRS Silver Sky||1.625” / 41.275mm||63JM||7.25” / 184.15mm||Custom||25.5” / 648mm||7 lbs|
|PRS Custom 24||1.6875″ / 42.86mm||Pattern Thin||10” / 254mm||Custom||25” / 635mm||7-8 lbs|
|ESP LTD EC-1000||1.653″ / 42mm||Thin U||13.77″ / 350mm||Extra Jumbo||24.75″ / 628.6mm||8 lbs|
|Jackson Pro Series Dinky DK2||1.6875″ / 42.86mm||Speed||12”-16” /|
|Jumbo||25.5″ / 648mm||7 lbs|
|Cort G290 FAT II||1.656″ / 42mm||Ergo-V||12″-15.75″|
|Medium Jumbo||25.5″ / 648mm||7-8 lbs|
A note about inconsistencies: measurements are taken from the manufacturer’s website whenever possible. Some favor the metric system, such as Ibanez, and others go by the imperial system (Fender, Gibson). When only one measurement was provided, we converted it from millimeters to inches or vice versa.
Bonus Guitar Neck Comparison
Some manufacturers, such as Ibanez and Yamaha, provide additional measurements for neck width and thickness. We’ve added those here as a bonus if you want to delve further into guitar neck differences.
It would be great if all manufacturers provided this level of detail, but until then, you may have to compare guitars on your own and find out what you can from reviews.
|Model||Nut Width (in/mm)||Width at 12th fret* (in/mm)||Thickness at 1st fret (in/mm)||Thickness at 12th fret (in/mm)||Fingerboard Radius (in/mm)||Scale Length (in/mm)||String Spacing (mm)|
|Yamaha Pacifica||1.614″ / 41mm||2.024” / 51.4mm||0.823“ / 20.9mm||0.902“ / 22.9mm||13.75″ / 350mm||25.5″ / 648mm||10.8mm|
|Yamaha Revstar||1.649″ / 41.9mm||2.047” / 52.0mm||0.827” / 21mm||0.941” / 23.9mm||12″ / 304.8mm||24.75” / 628.6mm||10.5mm|
|Ibanez RG (Standard, 421AHM)||1.693” / 43mm||2.283” / 58mm||0.748” / 19mm||0.827” / 21mm||15.748” / 400mm||25.5″ / 648mm||10.5mm|
|Ibanez AZ (Prestige, AZ2402)||1.654” / 42mm||2.244” / 57mm||0.807” / 20.5mm||0.886” / 22.5mm||12” / 305mm||25.5″ / 648mm||10.5mm|
|Ibanez S (Prestige, S6570SK)||1.692″ /43mm||2.283” / 58mm||0.669” / 17mm||0.748” / 19mm||16.929” / 430mm||25.5″ / 648mm||10.8mm|
|Ibanez RGA (Standard, RGA42FM)||1.692″ /43mm||2.283” / 58mm||0.748” / 19mm||0.827” / 21mm||15.7” / 400mm||25.5″ / 648mm||10.5mm|
|PRS Silver Sky||1.625” / 41.275mm||2.219” / 56.363mm|
(width at body)
|0.828” / 21.034mm||–||7.25” / 184.15mm||25.5” / 648mm||–|
|PRS Custom 24||1.6875″ / 42.86mm||2.25” / 57.15mm|
(width at body)
|0.828” / 21.034mm||–||10” / 254mm||25” / 635mm||–|
*Ibanez measures the width at the 24th fret.
An electric guitar’s design and specifications impact the instrument’s sound and playability. Neck width and profile, scale length, fingerboard radius, fret size, and string size and spacing all shape your playing experience.
Understanding each characteristic can help you decide what type of guitar is right for you and your playing style. Try different guitars to find the perfect combination that best suits your needs.