The Different Shapes of Guitar Necks
Feel In The Hand
How a guitar sits in the fretting hand ultimately has a major impact on how you play. Comfort, speed, and accuracy can all be affected by the shape of the guitar neck. Necks come in many different shapes and sizes, and vary in different manufacturers, but there are some general common neck shapes that you will no doubt encounter when picking up a guitar.
The C-shape is a classic standard. It's an extremely common neck profile due to it's emphasis on comfort. There can be different styles of the C-shape, from "Slim" to "Fat", that accommodate players with different sized hands. The common thread is that these are made so that there is some thickness and heft, but is designed to free the thumb for extra speed.
Common for speedier guitars, the D shape, also referred to as "modern flat oval", has less wood and is flatter on the back. This makes it ideal for situations where the thumb must press on the back while the rest of the fingers need to move with agility. Think shredding or complex dissonant chord shapes where you're spreading the hand out as much as possible.
The U-shape has a well known nickname: the baseball bat. This one is round, chunky, and thick. Players with larger hands often prefer these necks, or players that prefer the feel of vintage guitars such as 50s Gibson Les Pauls. These go well with playstyles that lend to a strong, meaty grip.
The V-shape is a bit more atypical but often sought out for players that prefer a really free thumb hanging over the fretboard. The more pointed end can naturally nestle between the thumb and index finger for a faster feel. These have been popular in certain Fender Stratocaster models.
Feel It Out
How a guitar neck feels is quite personal. Depending on your body shape, hand size, playing style, and personal preferences, there are many factors in getting the right feel. Ultimately, the best way to find your preference is to try as many different types of guitars as possible.
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