Know the Difference Between C, V, and U Guitar Necks


The neck profile of a guitar refers to the shape of the back of its neck in a cross-section. Choosing the guitar neck shape is solely based on the player’s comfort and personal preference. Though all guitar necks look the same, they provide different functionality in terms of both playability and structure. Guitar neck shapes are categorized based on these letters – C, V, and U.

A yellow guitar

The actual shape of these letters demonstrates the shape of the guitar’s back, while each has different depths – varying thickness from the neck’s front to the back. Here’s what these three-letter types can offer you.

C-Shaped Guitar Neck

This is the most common shape, used by all kinds of players for most playing styles. C-shaped necks are smoothly curved around the back of the guitar neck. Its fairly flat shape provides players with comfortable playability. Though they’re not as deep or rough as U-shaped necks, they have different thicknesses.

Some Fender guitars such as Stratocaster have a flatter C-shape compared to other guitars, but the basic premise remains the same. The C-shaped versions can also be fat, huge, nut-shaped, slim, or extra-slim.

Guitar neck

V-Shaped Neck Profile

There are two versions of the V-shaped neck profile – pointed “hard” V and rounder “soft” V. V-shaped necks are often called “old school” as they worked great with players when they would place their thumbs on the fingerboard when hitting the bass notes. The hard V is mostly seen in vintage guitars and re-issued older models.

U-Shaped Neck Profile

U-shaped neck profiles are typically chunky and have high shoulders. For instance, deep U-shaped necks, found on some Telecaster guitars, are also known as “baseball bat” necks. They’re more comfortable for players with large hands or players who prefer placing their thumb on the side or back of the neck.

Each type is further subdivided and denoted by a design year or era such as ’50s V-shape, ’61-C shape, ‘70s C-shape. These period-specific variations demonstrate the recreation of one of the basic neck profiles.

U-shaped necks are either perfectly balanced or thicker on one side. This difference in thickness caters to the player’s playing preferences.

Guitar neck

Pros and Cons of Guitar Neck Shapes

Based on the size of the various neck profiles, the player must balance comfort, sound, and feel. For instance, one may prefer the sound of a “baseball bat” neck, but they may have trouble dealing with the joint pain because of exertion. So you must consider all three factors when making your choice.

Guitar necks can be customized using different construction techniques, thicknesses, and woods. When it comes to holding bigger neck shapes, you may not be able to create the sound you want, especially if you have small hands.

Pros and Cons of Thin Necks

Thin guitar necks offer quick playability. For instance, when flying around the fingerboard, your thumb may not touch the neck at all. So when you have less wood getting the way, the better it is.

Moreover, thin necks tend to warp easily compared to thicker necks. As a result, they require frequent action adjustments with the change in season.

Pros and Cons of Thick Necks

Thick guitar necks are sturdier and less likely to deviate, but players with smaller or average hands may have trouble playing them effectively, without pain. Players should refrain from going far outside their natural range of motion when playing any instrument. Opt for comfortable options that offer seamless playability for decades to come.

Some of the less-thick V-shaped and U-shaped necks, such as the Heritage H-150, provide some modern adjustments for these classic neck shapes. These adjustments can help reduce the strain on the thumb tendon.

Bolt-On vs Set Necks

Besides the shape of guitar necks, you can also find bolt-on and set necks. Set necks are relatively more costly than bolt-on necks because of obvious advantages. People usually prefer the resonance in the tone a bolt-on neck offers. Moreover, you can also change the shape and feel of the neck by simply using a screwdriver.

On the other hand, set necks typically provide incredible sustain and warmer tones than a bolt-on neck. However, a set neck can’t be changed easily if you change your preference.

Playing the guitar

At Rock Guitars, we provide a diverse range of high-quality custom guitars that provide comfortable playability and feel comfortable to play. Each of our high performance guitars features faux rock and fine artwork to attract the audience. EddieA, the founder of Rock Guitars, carefully designs all instruments to meet the unique needs of every aspiring guitarist. Whether you’re a beginner guitar player or an experienced musician, we can help you find the best guitar. Get in touch with us to learn more about rock guitars for sale.

About the Author

You may also like these