A Simple Guide to Fender Neck Profiles

Published Categorized as Fender

The feel of a guitar’s neck can make or break your playing experience. With so many complex options to consider, from nut width to fingerboard radius, choosing among Fender neck profiles may seem daunting. This guide cuts through the confusion to highlight the unique characteristics of each neck shape. Whether you prize comfort, playability, or vintage vibe, you’ll gain indispensable insights to inform your next Fender purchase. Equipped with this knowledge, you can confidently select the ideal neck to unlock your full fretboard potential.

Fender Neck Profiles

Table of Contents

Common Fender Neck Profiles

Fender guitars are known for their comfortable and playable necks. Over the years, Fender has used different neck profiles on models like the Stratocaster, Telecaster, and Jazzmaster. Here are some of the most popular profiles.

C-Shaped Neck

The C-shaped neck has a slim profile that is still thick enough to be comfortable. This versatile profile features smooth contours that fit nicely in the hand. It offers a great balance of comfort and playability. Many Stratocasters and Telecasters have a C-shaped neck.

V-Shaped Neck

V-shaped necks have a slimmer profile with sharper shoulders, resembling a “V.” This profile facilitates easy access to higher frets for soloing and shredding. The sharper shoulders provide a tactile reference point for the fretting hand. Some Telecaster and Jazzmaster models feature V-shaped necks.

Modern “D” Neck

Fender’s Modern “D” neck has a slim and flat back contour for effortless playability. It features a rounded shape that thickens gradually moving up the neck for increased comfort. This modern profile combines the best attributes of vintage and modern necks. Several Fender models like the Ultra Series Stratocaster now come with the Modern “D” profile.

Fender C Neck and Its Types

Modern C

The Modern C neck has slimmer dimensions while still retaining some vintage styling cues. The shoulders are less rounded compared to a vintage-style soft C profile. This gives the Modern C a very playable, shred-friendly feel. The thinner profile facilitates easy access to higher frets while still feeling substantial during rhythm playing. Various American Professional and Player series Fenders now come equipped with the versatile Modern C.

Stratocaster C

The quintessential Strat neck shape for decades features a vintage-style soft C contour. With smooth, rolled edges and a comfortable mid-thickness profile, this neck strikes an ideal balance between modern and vintage. The back of the neck has a subtly ovaled contour that feels great in your palm. Players looking for serious grip and excellent chord/rhythm handling will love the Strat’s traditional C.

Jazzmaster C

Recent Jazzmaster necks employ a Modern C profile at the nut that morphs into a soft V shaping towards the upper frets. This nuanced contour adds some meatiness on the lower frets for chording while enhancing perimeter access higher up the neck. The result is a uniquely versatile Jazzmaster feel. Fender aimed to blend some of the vintage Jazzmaster softness with the playability of a more modern C or V further up the neck.

’59 Strat Soft C

Inspired by sought-after late 50s Stratocasters, Fender also offers the ’59 Soft C on reissue models. This chunkier neck has more volume and girth than other vintage C profiles. The extra meat makes this soft C feel fantastic for rhythm work and chording. From fat pinch harmonics to smooth jazz chording, the ’59 Soft C provides an incredible classic Strat experience.

’66 Strat Oval C

By the mid 60s, Fender necks slimmed down slightly compared to the late 50s models. The ’66 Strat C captures this transitional neck shape in reissue form. With this slimmed down vintage-style C contour, the ’66 provides exemplary playability and comfort. The thinner feel facilitates quicker fretting and soloing compared to the meatier ’59 C shape.

’60 P Bass Oval C

The chunky, rounded C profile of vintage 60s Precision Basses also reemerged in reissue lines. This fat soft C shape features even thicker dimensions than the ’59 Strat profile. A substantial shoulder radius and voluminous grip makes this bass C profile a go-to for thumpy, rhythmic bass lines. The girth adds a level of versatility perfect for players that dig into the strings.

Large ’70s Jazz Bass C

Jazz basses also carry on the C neck legacy with the Large ’70s profile. This shape has additional thickness through the center compared to other jazz bass necks for increased grip and comfort. However, the shoulders retain a vintage-rounded C softness. The result is a very full jazz bass handful that facilitates more aggressive playing.

Fender D Neck and Its Types

Modern D

The Modern D neck has a contemporary feel optimized for playing. It has a slim, flat back that plays smoothly across the frets. The D shape also uses a compound radius fingerboard. This means it curves from 9.5 inches at the nut to 14 inches towards the body. The tighter curve up top makes bending notes and fretting easier. The flatter curve near the body helps with tricky chords and riffs.

The Modern D aims to balance vintage feel with fast, modern playing. It keeps some thickness in the middle for comfort. But it feels fast and agile on the higher frets for solos and leads. This versatile modern feel works for shredding solos or strumming chords.

Deep-C Carve D Shape

Some models like the American Professional II have a Deep-C Carve D variation. This adds extra contour and thickness from traditional D necks.

The Deep C Carve D puts more body and volume in the middle of the neck. It almost feels like a flatter Soft V shape. This adds grip and feel while still easily reaching the top frets. The shoulders also gain some thickness for supporting chords. Ultimately, the Deep-C Carve D offers great comfort and playability with a modern vibe.

Fender U Neck and Its Types

’52 Style U Neck

The ’52 U neck replicates the feel of early 1950s Precision and Telecaster models. This is a thick U profile with a very full feel. The chunky grip works well for rock and blues rhythm playing. Bending strings also feels smooth with the thicker fretboard real estate.

’60 Jazz Bass U Neck

Jazz basses in the early 1960s had a slimmed down U contour. The ’60 Jazz Bass U neck is slimmer than a ’52 U shape. But it still has some thickness for supporting the lower strings. This vintage-style jazz neck offers great comfort and control.

’51 Precision Bass U

The ’51 Precision Bass U neck has an authentic thick soft U shape from early Precision models. This is the classic “baseball bat” P bass neck. It provides excellent grip and smooth bends. The girth tames the lower strings for rock-solid rhythm foundation.

1969 Stratocaster U

By the late 1960s Fender slimmed the Stratocaster neck down. The 1969 Strat U is thinner than 50s versions. This gives a very fast, slim U feel. The 1969 U is great for players wanting modern accessibility but dislike super slim necks.

Choosing the Right Neck Profile

When picking a guitar neck shape, key things to think about are your hand size, playing style, and type of music. As experts and veteran guitar players say, the right profile balances how easy it is to play, comfort, and reduce hand tiredness. Bigger hands often fit thicker neck shapes like the ’59 Strat Soft C better. Thinner necks can be better for soloing and leads. But they can also make your hand more tired if you play a lot of chords and rhythms. See what kind of playing you do most – the perfect neck makes your style easier while helping your hand feel good. Thinner necks suit soloing more. Thicker necks are better for chords.

Wrap Up

Ultimately, the ideal Fender neck profile balances playability, comfort, and versatility to match your playing style and preferences. Whether you prefer vintage contours like the ’59 Strat Soft C, or modern profiles like the Deep-C Carve D, Fender aims to provide necks that feel great. 

Test different neck profiles to find your perfect fit. The right neck shape empowers your playing, prevents fatigue, and makes you love your instrument. Fender’s diverse neck options mean you can find your ideal match.

FAQs

What is the U shape neck profile?

The U shape is a thicker, rounded back neck shape that Fender uses. It has more thickness across the whole back of the neck which provides stability and allows more versatility for the player’s grip.

What is the most comfortable Fender neck shape?

Fender’s ‘soft V’ neck shape is widely considered their most comfortable profile. It has a slim, vintage feel with rounded edges that fit nicely in smaller hands while still accommodating bigger hands well.

What is SRV neck profile?

The SRV neck shape, named after Stevie Ray Vaughan, has a soft, oval U profile with a little more meat on the bass side of the fretboard to accommodate for SRV’s heavy handed technique while still being versatile.

What is the C neck profile?

Fender’s C neck shape has a slim, oval feel neck with smooth shoulders that is very comfortable to grip and allows easy access to higher frets for faster playing. It provides a great balance of vintage and modern feel.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

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