We shape all of our necks by hand, and there has been much variance over the years as most instruments are built to order for a particular player’s hands. Just about every neck we’ve built fits within the following four size and shape descriptions, allowing a convenient way to compare necks without having them in hand. If you’re unsure, go with the model’s standard spec, everyone loves the way they feel.
The neck size is a measurement from the fretboard’s surface to the centerline of the back of the neck at the first fret. Our necks have a roughly .1” taper from the 1st fret to the 12th fret.
C – C carve; round profile with soft shoulders
A – Asymmetrical; slimmed treble-side shoulder
V – Super soft V; slim shoulders in the lower frets
E – Elliptical; flatter back and full shoulders
The thickness of the neck is a good indicator of how large it is, but falls far short of the complete story. You need to know the shape as well, as a Medium E neck can feel larger than a Full C neck. Imagine the neck in cross section. The centerline runs down the back of the neck, and the main bulk of the neck is made up of the shoulders. This is the area between the centerline and the edge of the fretboard. Most players feel this as they play, with the thumb on the bass side shoulder and the 1st finger’s 1st knuckle on the treble side shoulder. Slimming the shoulders down like the V neck will make the neck feel smaller in your hand and is loved by thumb over players. If you play more classical style (thumb in back), The E shape is tough to beat. C falls right in between, a “best of both worlds” for most players. A shape is basically C on the bass side and V on the treble side, and can be very comfortable for players with hand pain or injuries.
We currently measure our nuts in .5mm increments. 41mm is fairly narrow, falling in between those super skinny ‘60s Gibsons and ‘50s Fenders. 42mm is a “just-right” size, slightly wider than ‘50s Fenders and slightly narrower than ‘50s Gibsons, and 43mm is slightly wider than ‘50s Gibsons but not too large.
The radius is how much curve a fretboard has. The smaller the number, the greater the curve. ‘50s Fenders typically fall between 7.25” and 9.5”, ‘50s Gibsons 10”-12”, Martins and shred guitars at 16”. We have built with every fretboard radius from 7.25 to infinity, including every popular compound radius, and 9.5” and 12” suit nearly every player. If you need a different radius, just ask. That’s what Custom is all about!
Frets are not always as simple as they appear, and there are many factors that contribute to the feel beyond the “size”. How well they’re installed, what type (or lack of) finish is on the fretboard, how old/worn they are, how many times/how well they’ve been leveled and recrowned, and the shape of the crown are just some of the things. These three cover the needs of nearly every player, but again, you can get something else if you ask.
Vintage – .079” wide x .043” tall
Medium – .095 wide x .047” tall
Jumbo – .110” wide x .051” tall