As I stated in my article on Gibson neck profiles I think most guitar players look for a particular “feel” about the neck when trying to choose a guitar. Obviously that doesn’t just apply to Gibsons. In this article we’ll discuss Fender neck profiles, shapes, and variations.
Gibson guitar necks are generally categorized into two types, or profiles, with slight variations while Fender has had a long tradition of either three or five basic neck shapes depending on who you ask. I’ll try to address the discrepancy and let you decide for yourself.
The Basic 3
First: The “3” basic shapes as explained by Fender today and published on the Fender website. Fender defines “neck shape” and a “neck profile” as the “back shape” of the neck when cut into cross section as illustrated below. Neck width, neck depth, and fingerboard radius are not to be used to compound or complicate the basic neck shape/profile of Fender guitars.
“Fender uses variations of the “C“, “V“, and “U” designation for their necks. The illustration above shows from top to bottom “C“, “V“, and “U“.
C-shaped neck profile: The most common modern neck profile. C-shaped necks have an oval profile that works well for most playing styles.
V-shaped neck profile: Two versions are popular. A more rounded “soft” V and a more pointed “hard” V.
U-shaped neck profile: Chunky and rounded, with high shoulders. Some consider to be “baseball bat” necks.
There are also further subdivisions of each type, usually denoted by a design year or era (i.e., ’50s V shape, ’61 C shape, ’70s C shape), in which subtle period-specific variations in one of the basic neck profiles is recreated precisely.
There is occasional confusion about C, U and V neck profile designations and A, B, C and D neck width designations. From the early ’60s to the early ’70s, Fender referred specifically to the nut width of its instrument necks using the letters A (1 ½”), B (1 5/8″), C (1 ¾”) and D (1 7/8″). These letters were stamped on the butt-end of the necks and had nothing to do with neck profile.“
— Source: Jeff Owens, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. Nov 20, 2009.
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