Other Guitars

Which Neck Profile Would You Choose?


Here are the available neck profiles for the Fender Custom Shop. Which would you choose if you were having a custom guitar built?

(The inner cross hatched area is the 1st fret and outer one is at the 12th. The thickness is marked on the side.)


Does the Gretsch Custom Shop have something like this?


I would want #13 1969 "U" or maybe #51 '66 Strat Oval "C".


Does the Gretsch Custom Shop have something like this?

– lx

I would guess they do, but I found this in a Fender CS catalog. (It's a wish list of what you can get. No prices though.)

Here's the full design guide for Fender:



I admit, I've never been bothered by any neck profile. My palm can adjust to any of them. It's never ever been a problem.

Even a very narrow Rickenbacker neck doesn't really bother me.



Isn't there is some kind of woodworking tool that can give you the contour of a neck profile? I seem to recall some kind of thingy with many thin metal sliders. 99% of all necks don't work with me and I need all the help I can.


Contour Gauge Duplicator! Thank you! I like the way the Fender CS chart works with 1st and 12th fret profile over laps. Very cool.


Contour Gauge Duplicator! Thank you! I like the way the Fender CS chart works with 1st and 12th fret profile over laps. Very cool.

– lx

I ordered one myself. THere's also a bigger 10 inch one.

I agree about the profiles, I've never seen showing both the 1st & 12th frets together. It took me a bit to figure it out.


I wonder if Fender's Custom Shop would make a 24.75" scale neck.


Probably. Stern made a one pickup no-cutaway Falcon that's on reverb.


Here are the available neck profiles for the Fender Custom Shop. Which would you choose if you were having a custom guitar built?

(The inner cross hatched area is the 1st fret and outer one is at the 12th. The thickness is marked on the side.)

– drmilktruck

None of the above, thank you very much. There at a few styles here that have one feature that's part of my design requirements and that's where it shows no increase in depth at the 12th fret. Beyond that nothing appeals in the slightest. I want only the very slightest increase in width at the 12th fret and a shallow C shape or shallow slight V.

And while we're on the topic of neck shapes, why is a guitar's neck required to flare wider as it approaches the body? As far as I'm concerned, it's strictly a visual thing, guitars having evolved from the design of orchestra stringed instruments. And for those that reason that it's to give enough space in the picking area for the pick or fingers, that doesn't stand up as classical guitars have no, or very little flaring - they start out decently wide and mandolin players seem to fair okay with the narrow space between the pairs of strings. On guitars built with the neck wider to begin with at the nut [or zero fret] the difference between the width at the nut and 12th fret is not nearly as pronounced proving a wide flaring isn't a design necessity.

On my Gibson Gent, at the 12th fret it's 2.08" and my 6120 is 2.09", to all intents and purposes identical. At the nut, the 6120 is 1.70" and the Gent is 1.77", a difference of .070". Now I've heard here previously that numbers such as these are too small to be significant but au contraire.....the difference is noticeable to those of us fretting with our thumb (and also needing the open strings to ring through while fretting). Wrapping your thumb around the neck for the low E string in the lower frets is just attainable with the wider neck but at say the 10th fret for a D chord, it would be considerably easier if the neck's width was a lot closer to what it is at the nut or even 1st fret!

FWIW, my Super Chet's neck (1.80" at the zero fret) is even wider at the 12th fret - 2.17" but having had the factory's thick chunky D-shape taken down to match the Gibson Gent profile, thumb fretting is still possible. Just behind the 1st fret it's .80" thick/deep and at the 12th it's .92", just under 1/8". At the 14th, just before the deep flare into the heel, it's only 1.04"

A non-caliper estimate by Taffy of his '71 SC showed it to be .875" at the zero fret, and 1" at the 5th and 12th frets. The bigger difference between his factory neck and my modded one is I've had the big shoulders taken off mine, going from the chunky, flat on the bottom D-shape to a shallow C.

It may look cool to have the neck get wider higher up the frets as well as get thicker but for my money this isn't a design requirement, just an aesthetic prerogative.


There is no question that the Fender Custom Shop makes great guitars. That being said, if you are not concerned about re-sale value or having the Fender name on the head stock you can save a bunch of money and possibly get an even better guitar from a small custom builder, especially if you are looking for a Tele or Strat. The Fender Custom has a nice menu of options and if price is no object, will pretty much do what you want possibly including a 24.75" neck. If I could afford a custom made Tele/Strat style guitar I would look into a small custom builder such as Ron Kirn Customs, Coleman Customs, Marc Rutters, Mario Martin, Hahn, etc. Again these guitars will not have the re-sale value of a Fender Custom Shop guitar but the personal service, incredible quality and unlimited choice of hardware, pu's, neck dimensions (incl scale length) can be had for half the price of a Fender Custom Shop guitar. Just my two cents. Again, not a knock on the Fender Custom Shop who make great instruments or anyone who would choose to order one.

s 1 and 14. I like a chunkier neck but I think all of the above options still have the regular width at the nut of any Strat. Ideally I would also like the width at 1.70" or wider as I solo a lot and am prone to mistakes on narrower necks.

Assuming they all are 7.25" radius I think I like the '1969 U' the most. That must be like my '71 Telecaster and that is my favourite neck.
But I noticed that I can get used to many shapes very easily as long as they are not flat. I like them to feel round and that's also why 7.25" is my favourite fretboard radius.


Oh I hate 7.25" radius! Drives me crazy. I like 12" radius. Isn't it funny how we all like different things? I like most Fender neck shapes, but have a real affinity for the Clapton style soft Vs. But my favourite guitar - a Gibson - has a quite chunky C or D shape and that suits me just fine too.

My only Fender right now has a 60s kind of shallow C, and it feels amazing. I just wish that Vintage Fender bridges had a slightly narrower spacing so that the strings weren't so close to the edge. Gibson bridge spacing works for me.

In general I like that strings start narrower at the nut because as long as it's not too narrow it makes open chords a breeze. But that would be way too narrow at the bridge. I also like that the strings flare out slightly from the nut because it gives my big fat fingers more room where the frets get closer together.

The only shapes i don't like are the way huge necks, the way skinny necks or those with too much shoulder. Some long scale gretsches feel uncomfortable to me. But most Gretsch, Fender and Gibson necks are fine by me. Just don't give me a 7 1/4 radius!


Modern "C", or Modern "V"....I like to stay "current".


51 or 52, thanks, but with a compound radius, 7 1/4" - 9 1/2". And a "C" (wide) nut width.


Sorry for the unsolicited editorial on the Fender Custom Shop vs small custom builders. I have a newly acquired Fender Classic Player 60's Baja Tele (it's in the shop right now for a new bone nut, fret end dress and set-up; I promise pictures and a review when I get it back) that has the 60 C neck w/ 1.65" nut width and 9.5" fretboard radius. For me the 9.5" radius is a must as I don't get along well w/ the rounder 7.5". The flatter radius also is a bit roomier feeling especially in the first position for the cowboy chords. The thing is, while the 60 neck is relatively shallow in the first position it gets progressively thicker up the neck so it's really not a "skinny" neck. Very comfortable IMO.


It doesn't matter after the first ten minutes.


I tend to agree with BZ on this one - so long as it's not a wide, flat, skinny D shredder/metal neck I can get by on almost anything.

To my mind different necks suit different guitars and I wouldn't want all my guitars to feel the same.

Particular favourites are big fat Gibson necks from the mid/late 50s and Fender's V necks from 56/57 - but only when they're attached to Gibson or Fender style guitars.

Pet hates are narrow and skinny early/mid 60s Gibson necks and the ultra fat and square sided U necks that inexperienced luthiers mistake for a 'vintage' feel.


Strandberg Guitars offers the EndurNeck, an ergonomic redesign involving a trapezoidal shape where the flat portion follows the natural curve of the hand as you move up the neck.


Both my strats are modern "C". My PRS is Wide / Fat. My gretsch is what ever the current Jets are, but it's big. I play all of them without the slightest thought of discomfort. Maybe of course that is just me, but I play a variety of necks with no issue.

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