Some people love the feel of a thick neck, like a baseball bat. But they’re not for everyone. If you’re looking to shred or just get up and down the fretboard easier, a thin neck is probably the way to go.
Thin necks are also great for those with small hands. It can be difficult to get one’s hands around a thicker neck, especially for chords with longer stretches.
So, you’ve decided you want a thin neck electric guitar. Where do you start? Which ones are the best?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take a look at 10 of the best thin neck electric guitars on the market. We’ll look into important factors like price, build quality, tone and playability. By the end of the list, hopefully you’ll be able to find the best thin neck electric guitar for your needs.
Table of Contents
The Best Thin Neck Electric Guitars
- Ibanez RG550 Genesis Collection – Our Pick
- PRS SE Custom 24 – Best Value
- Jackson Dinky JS22 – Best for Beginners
- Ibanez RG450DX – Best Intermediate Guitar
- Ibanez Steve Vai Signature JEMJR – Best Under $500
- Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty – Premium Pick
- Schecter Hellraiser C-1 FR – Best for Metal
- Ibanez S521 – Best Playability
- Sterling by Music Man JP70 – Best 7-String
- ESP LTD EC-1000 – Best Les Paul Style
Ibanez RG550 Genesis Collection – Overall Best Thin Neck Guitar
Check out our guide on the Best Ibanez Electric Guitars
Ibanez have been making shred machines with thinner necks and bodies for decades, and the RG550 Genesis is a fantastic example.
The RG550 is a classic design that was first introduced in 1987. The Genesis Collection adds some modern touches while retaining the vibe of the original.
The body of the RG550 is made of basswood, perfect for warm tones with biting mids. The contour of the body hugs your body and forearm, making it a very comfortable instrument to play.
One of the coolest features of the RG550 is its ultra-fast Wizard Neck. The original Wizard Neck was one piece of maple. The reissue has upgraded its materials to a 5-piece combination of maple and walnut. And it’s also very thin!
The 24-fret fingerboard is also loaded with jumbo frets – perfect for huge bends. The RG550 also features a classic tilt neck joint instead of the sculpted All Access neck joint included on many modern RG-style guitars.
For pickups, the RG550 employs the now-classic HSH design with a pair of humbuckers surrounding a single-coil in the middle position. The humbuckers are modern V7 and V8 designs, while the S1 in the middle features more traditional single-coil tones. These high-output pickups are perfect for hard rock and metal, but versatile enough to cover any genre.
In addition to high-quality electronics, the RG550 features solid black hardware like an Edge locking tremolo and Gotoh locking machine heads.
With all these features and a price-point under $1,000, the Genesis Collection RG550 is our Editor’s Choice!
- Classic design with modern features
- Moderate price-point
- Made in Japan
- Some cosmetic issues reported
- Stock pickups could be upgraded depending on taste
PRS SE Custom 24 – Best Value Thin Neck Electric Guitar
Check out our Best PRS Guitars Review and Buying Guide
For an amazingly versatile guitar at a moderate price, check out the PRS SE Custom 24.
The Custom 24 SE is a more affordable version of Paul Reed Smith’s original classic design, with many of the same features of its pricier big brother.
With a combination of a mahogany body with a maple top, the Custom 24 SE begins with exceptional tonewoods for a punchy midrange and sustain.
Another great feature of the Custom 24 SE is its Wide Thin maple neck. This carve makes the neck super fast and playable. A rosewood fingerboard with bird inlay completes the classic PRS feel and look.
For its pickups, the Custom 24 SE is loaded with the PRS 81/15 “S” humbuckers. These pickups are based on the same design used in higher-priced, U.S.-made PRS guitars. They can be used as regular humbuckers for a fat, full sound, or split into single coils via a push/pull tone knob.
Another cool thing about most PRS guitars is the molded tremolo system in the bridge. This system has been specially designed to maintain tuning even under heavy whammy bar use. PRS custom tuners and a synthetic/bronze powder nut help further ensure tuning stability.
The PRS Custom 24 SE would make a great guitar for anyone looking for a great all-in-one gigging axe. It’s 25” scale length sits perfectly in-between a Strat and Les Paul, and its coil-splitting humbucker pickups can give you tones from both classic designs. For under $900, it’s also a great value.
- Versatile tones
- PRS Quality at affordable price
- Wide Thin neck carve
- Made overseas
- Gig bag instead of case
Jackson Dinky JS22 – Best Thin Neck Guitar for Beginners
Just getting into electric guitar and looking for an affordable and comfortable axe? The Jackson Dinky JS22 may be for you.
The Dinky JS22 is made of lightweight arched basswood poplar in the body and maple in the neck. The arched look is definitely unique and conveys its own killer attitude.
One great thing about the Dinky JS22 is its compound-radius fretboard. This means that the fingerboard is rounder nearer the nut for easier rhythm playing. As you move up to solo on higher frets, the radius flattens out to allow for bigger bends and faster runs. The jumbo frets also allow you to really dig in.
Another great feature of the Dinky JS22 is the high-output humbucker pickups. Jackson’s custom-built ceramic humbuckers are perfect for aggressive, modern hard rock styles. It also comes equipped with a 2-point tremolo system for dive-bombs and whammy bar effects.
The Dinky JS22 would make a great first guitar for someone new to electric guitar and looking to play hard rock styles. At under $200, it’s highly affordable, and its compound-radius fingerboard allows for easy playability up and down the neck. It’s striking look is made for the stage, too!
- Very affordable
- Compound-radius fingerboard
- Lightweight body
- No gig bag or case
- Cheaper components
Ibanez RG450DX – Best Thin Neck Guitar for Intermediate Players
For guitarists who have been playing for a couple years and are ready to take the next step, the Ibanez RG450 may be the perfect option.
The RG450 is part of Ibanez’s classic RG design that became popular in the Eighties. It features the fast-playing Wizard III neck made out of 3-piece maple, with a Jatoba fingerboard and 24 jumbo frets. It’s a classic, thin neck that’s easy to play. The sharktooth fingerboard inlay is also a nice touch.
The mahogany body is well balanced and resonant, while the slim body style stays true to the RG style many guitarists have come to love. A nice cutaway allows for easy access to higher frets.
With its classic HSH pickup configuration and 5-way switch, the RG450 offers a myriad of tonal options. The two high-output Quantum humbuckers are perfect for rock and shredding, while the S3 single-coil in the middle position gives you classic Strat-type tones.
A DL tuning bridge also gives you a powerful whammy bar with improved tuning stability. You can pull off dive bombs and other tremolo effects without worrying about going out of tune.
For a solid electric guitar with a ton of versatility under $500, it’s tough to go wrong with the Ibanez RG450. It’s part of Ibanez’s classic RG series, but at a more affordable price.
- Great price
- Well-built, versatile
- Classic Wizard III neck
- Some say INF pickups lack punch
- Minor quality control issues reported
Ibanez Steve Vai Signature JEMJR – Best Thin Neck Guitar Under $500
One of Ibanez’s most famous users is legendary virtuoso Steve Vai. Now they’ve teamed up to offer a signature guitar at an unbelievable price point!
Though the JEMJR is the little brother of Vai’s main Ibanez signature guitar, it shares many of the same features and quality of a guitar that retails for over $1,000 more.
The first thing you’ll notice about the JEMJR is its striking appearance. Vai’s signature acrylic vine inlay is intact, as well as the unique “monkey grip” handle that allows guitarists to pick up the guitar one-handed like a case.
Despite the monkey grip, this is a solidbody guitar made of Meranti. It features Ibanez’s classic Wizard III maple neck with a Jatoba fingerboard and 24 jumbo frets. The Wizard necks are known for being great for the kind of fast-paced shredding you’ll find on any Steve Vai album.
For signature Vai tones, the JEMJR offers high-output Quantum pickups that retain great articulation. Two humbuckers and one single-coil let you cover all the bases, while a 5-way switch gives you multiple pickup combinations.
Another cool feature on the JEMJR is a double-locking tremolo bridge for peak tuning stability even after deep pitch bends. A locking nut and cosmo black tuners ensure further control over staying in tune.
Though it was built with Steve Vai’s tone in mind, the JEMJR is a highly versatile quality instrument with a great look for guitarists in any genre. It would be perfect for hard rock and progressive styles, especially. And at the price point, it can’t be beat.
- Iconic look
- Quantum pickups
- Double-locking bridge
- Lower quality components compared to main signature model
- Monkey grip handle not for everyone
Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty – Best Premium Thin Neck Guitar
This beast of a guitar was designed in collaboration with legendary Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci, so you know it’s high quality!
With the use of premium tonewoods, including a maple-capped African mahogany body, Petrucci and Ernie Ball spared no expense in making the perfect tone machine.
A mahogany neck-through design allows for peak sustain and playability. It includes an ebony fretboard with a 17” radius, perfect for smooth and easy playability. A recessed neck heel also gives you clear access to all 24 frets.
The Majesty’s hardware is also impressive. Schaller locking tuners with a floating vibrato bridge ensure perfect tune even with massive whammy bar bends. The stainless steel frets may last you a lifetime.
Tonally, the Majesty’s pickups are ready for any style. Its DiMarzio humbuckers can range from articulate cleans to massive gain perfect for shredding. The pickups come with an active preamp and gain boost. As a bonus, there’s even a piezo in the bridge for access to amazing acoustic sounds!
If price is no object and a highly versatile and well-made guitar is what you’re after, the Ernie Ball Musicman Majesty may be for you. If it’s good enough for John Petrucci, it must be really, really good.
- Impeccable construction and materials
- Wide variety of tones and functionality
- Steep price tag, but worth it
Schecter Hellraiser C-1 FR – Best Thin Neck Guitar for Metal
For lightning fast speed, endless sustain and precise tuning stability, the Schecter Hellraiser raises the bar.
The Hellraiser’s sleek design was based entirely on feedback from players, so it’s been optimized for peak performance in the real world. A slim SLS profile neck with a compound-radius fretboard is ultra-comfortable and highly playable.
Many players also prefer Floyd Rose tremolo tailpieces for their solid tuning stability. Being able to execute wide bends and dive bombs while staying perfectly in tune is a must for the modern guitar player.
One of the most unique features of the Hellraiser is its hot-rodded pickups. An active EMG 57 humbucker in the bridge reacts like an overwound vintage PAF, while the Sustainiac pickup in the neck offers just what the name implies: endless, glorious sustain. A 3-way toggle switch lets you blend just the right amount of sustain and feedback for your playing.
The Schecter Hellraiser C-1 FR offers a wide variety of tonal control and playability for a little over $1,000. For price and functionality, it would be hard to find a more well-made guitar, especially for harder rock and metal styles. It’s thin SLS profile neck is also perfect for those with smaller hands.
- Fast, slim neck
- Tuning stability
- Unique tonal options
- Possible learning curve with Sustainiac pickup
Ibanez S521 – Most Comfortable Thin Neck Guitar
If you’re looking for a highly playable guitar at a great price, the Ibanez S521 may be your best bet.
The Ibanez S521is made of mahogany specifically chosen for its S Series of guitars. The 3-D shape is also lightweight and comfortable, but heavy enough to ensure full tone and great sustain.
One great thing about the Ibanez S521 is its Wizard III Maple neck. This ultra-fast, thin neck has been featured on many of Ibanez’s classic guitars. An Indian rosewood fretboard with jumbo frets ensures smooth playability for fast runs and huge bends.
Another cool thing about the Ibanez S521 is its Quantum Infinity pickups. These custom ceramic humbuckers offer a wide array of tones via a 5-way toggle switch.
Other features to note are a fixed bridge for tuning stability, along with a curved input jack to ensure your cable stays plugged in.
The Ibanez S521 would make a great choice for an intermediate player looking for a solid, very playable guitar at an affordable price. For around $400, you can’t go wrong.
- Wizard neck
- No case
- Some fret buzz issues
Sterling by Music Man JP70 – Best 7-String Guitar with Thin Neck
If you want a 7-string electric guitar that plays great for an affordable price, check out the Sterling by Music Man JP70.
In case you were wondering, the JP in JP70 stands for John Petrucci. His band, Dream Theater, has set the standard for progressive heavy rock over the past 2-3 decades. Petrucci also teamed up with Music Man for the Majesty, which we featured above. But unlike that guitar, the JP70 is priced at a level for most intermediate and working musicians.
The JP70 is based on Petrucci’s signature series JP7, and it includes many of the same features. With a basswood body, the JP70 includes a contoured forearm scoop. This makes it super comfortable to play whether sitting down or standing up.
A maple neck with rosewood fingerboard ensures smooth playability across the neck. A 16” fretboard radius is perfect for the wider 7-string neck.
Another cool feature of the JP70 is its full floating modern tremolo bridge. It also comes with die-cast locking tuning machines for the ultimate tuning stability.
The JP70 also comes with dual Music Man humbucking pickups and a 3-way selector. These pickups give you a wide dynamic range with great sustain and clarity.
The Sterling by Music Man JP70 would make a great guitar for someone looking to buy a 7-string guitar at an affordable price. Since it has John Petrucci’s name attached, you know it will be of a certain quality. And for under $600, you can’t really go wrong.
- Affordable 7-string
- Contoured forearm scoop
- Modern tremolo
- Some lower quality components
- Setup issues
Read Also: The Best 7-String Guitars Buying Guide
ESP LTD EC-1000 – Best Les Paul Style
If you’re looking for sustain, it’s tough to beat a Les Paul style guitar. For around $1,000, this ESP Eclipse is one of the best options available.
The Eclipse offers a Thin U-shaped profile, which makes its mahogany neck and ebony fingerboard smooth and easy to play. It’s also a set neck, which allows for greater sustain than bolt-on designs. A sharp cutaway also makes reaching upper frets a breeze.
For pickups, the EC-1000 uses EMG 60 and EMG 81 humbuckers. Hard rock acts like Metallica have used EMG pickups for years for their hot output and aggressive sound. They also have excellent note definition, assuring all those fast notes don’t get lost in a blaze of fury.
Another cool feature of the Eclipse is its Vintage Black color with a Satin finish. It’s a striking look that would be great for metal players, or any style. The fingerboard features pearloid flags for a cool inlay, while the gold locking tuners and tune-o-matic bridge are a nice touch.
If you’re looking for a solid, affordable Les Paul-style guitar with a thin neck, you can’t go wrong with the ESP LTD EC-1000. It’s a great guitar for hard rock styles, as well as any genre where sustain and full tone is desired. As with any Les Paul-style guitar, it may be prone to a headstock break, so it’s important to take good care of it. Many players feel that extra weight and risk is worth it, however, for the sound and playability.
- Aggressive sound
- Thin U-shaped profile
- EMG pickups may not be for everyone
- Possible risk of headstock break with Les Paul style guitars
Read Also: The Best Les Paul Style Copy Guitars
Thin Neck Vs Thick Neck Guitars: What’s the Difference?
So now we’ve checked out some of the best thin neck electric guitars on the market. What’s the difference between these guitars and those with thicker necks?
The main issue is size. A thicker neck will be tougher for some players to get their hands around, while a thinner neck may feel like a twig to those with large hands or fatter fingers. Some feel a thicker neck leads to thicker tone, as well.
Ultimately, the size of the neck you like comes down to personal preference. For many players, a thinner neck is more comfortable and easier to play. They are also more conducive to faster licks. Go with what feels best to you!
How to Choose the Best Thin Neck Electric Guitar – Buyer’s Guide
Here are some other important factors to consider when shopping for a thin neck electric guitar.
So all of these guitars have thin necks – what else is different?
The Jackson Dinky JS22 has a compound-radius fingerboard, which means that it flattens out as you go higher up the neck. This allows for a more balanced approach across the whole fretboard.
The ESP Eclipse has a U-shape thin profile, along with a set neck for greater sustain. Some other guitars have bolt-on designs, which can allow you to switch out the neck.
The Schecter Hellraiser features a slim SLS profile, while the Ibanez guitars all employ their classic Wizard neck design. Both of these allow for very fast playability. The PRS has a Wide Thin maple carve, which is also a great design for smooth and fast runs.
Great playability is essential in any guitar, and all of these guitars were made to make things a bit easier on the player.
For most of these guitars, the thin neck and fast fingerboard ensure easy playability. A guitar like the Sterling by Music Man JP70 includes a contoured forearm scoop, which makes it more comfortable to rest your arm against the guitar while playing.
Most of these guitars also include cutaways for easier access to higher frets. The size of frets can play a role too. The Ibanez S521 and a few other guitars on this list include jumbo frets, which are great for big bends.
Scale length can affect playability, too. Some prefer a shorter scale like the traditional 24.75” of a Les Paul, while others like a longer scale similar to a Strat. The PRS Custom 24 SE splits the difference with a 25” length. In the end, it comes down to what is most comfortable to you.
Of course, after playability, sound is probably the most important consideration when buying a guitar.
Most of these guitars come equipped with humbucker pickups, while some of them allow for coil-splitting options to get single coil tones as well.
Something like the PRS Custom 24 SE would be a great overall pick because it includes the classic 85/15 PRS-designed pickups. Many players feel like this gives them the best of both worlds between Gibson and Fender-style guitars because of the coil-splitting options. The Ibanez guitars with the HSH configuration are also a great option.
For something a bit different, the Hellraiser offers a Sustainiac pickup that can act as kind of an “E-bow” effect for endless sustain. The Music Man Majesty includes a piezo pickup to get acoustic sounds along with high gain electric tones. Depending on what you’re going for, the possibilities are endless.
As always, price is a major factor to consider. Ultimately, you want to buy the best guitar for your style, in your price range.
For someone just starting out, something like the Jackson Dinky would make a great choice. It’s around a couple hundred bucks, and it’s definitely a solid thin neck electric guitar.
For more intermediate players, some Ibanez options like the S521 and the JEMJR would be great choices. They are solid enough to gig and record with, and can always be upgraded.
For players who gig a lot and have a bit more experience and $, the PRS Custom 24 SE, ESP Eclipse and Schecter Hellraiser are all great choices. These guitars give you basically all you’ll need, and anything you want changed can be upgraded, as well.
If you have the money and want a more premium option, check out the Music Man Majesty. It should be perfect out of the box and last you a lifetime.
Recap of the Best Electric Guitars with Thin Necks
|Thin Neck Guitar||Award|
|Ibanez RG550 Genesis Collection||Editor’s Choice|
|PRS SE Custom 24||Best Value|
|Jackson Dinky JS22||Best for Beginner|
|Ibanez RG450DX||Best Intermediate Guitar|
|Ibanez Steve Vai Signature JEMJR||Best Under $500|
|Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty||Premium Pick|
|Schecter Hellraiser C-1 FR||Best for Metal|
|Ibanez S521||Best Playability|
|Sterling by Music Man JP70||Best 7-String|
|ESP LTD EC-1000||Best Les Paul Style|
We hope this list has been helpful and informative as you search for the perfect thin neck electric guitar for you. There’s something here for every budget and style, especially for those who like to keep it slim!