V-shaped Strat necks

Funny how when you’re the most disgusted with your playing, sometimes that’s when you start to fantasize about new gear. Maybe that’s why guitarists tend to own so much stuff;)

Anyway, Fender’s Custom Shop has a few versions of V necks; the one below at left is a modern V (as opposed to a modern C, at right):

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Anyone play on a V-shaped neck? What are the benefits? Any downside?

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@Yaakov I tried an Eric Johnson strat years ago and loved the neck, influenced me to get a Baja tele (very similar neck profile, I believe they call it a soft V).

Easier to bend (cuz there’s more to leverage your thumb against), or just liked the feel?

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In general I like the feel, my thumb seems more comfortable (maybe because the tip of my thumb doesn’t have to hyperextend as much on the back of the neck?); the limited time I played a Strandberg I had a similar feeling with their neck profile, I’d have to play one again to remember.

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Just feel. I don’t think one is better or worse than the other, it’s just what youre comfortable with. My first “good” guitar was a late 90s American Strat, so I’ve always gravitated to that sort of modern C Stratocaster profile - thin by historical standards, but thick compared to something like an Ibanez Wizard. Sort of a good sweet spot for me. My Suhrs have a “modern eliptical” version of that which just has the thick part off center to fit under your hand a little better - subtle enough that I don’t know if I’d notice it if I wasn’t looking for it, but it’s nice

I’ve played a couple V-shaped necks and didn’t care for the feel, personally, but that’s really a matter of taste.

I will say that thicker necks do tend to be a little easier on your wrists, though people do like thinner necks for playability, saying they’re “faster”.

It’s just speculation on my part, but given that having to spread the hand a little further activates more or larger muscles (according to some), and this is actually thought to improve speed and reduce effort - I wonder if the slightly thicker necks might actually play faster. When I’ve got the chops for it, I’d like to do some side-by-side experiments with that.

Going by the profile you’ve posted, it’s a very mild V, you will hardly notice it.

The extra material removed is from the sides called the shoulders. Usually done on necks that are 1inch deep for a more comfortable feel, retain the comfortable depth of the neck while having a shorter path to the frets.

A typical use of V necks are in what knows as a “Boat Cut”, wherein closer to the nut the V is more pronounced but without hard angles, it’s more elliptical and the neck is a “no taper”, ie: it’s 1inch depth all the way nut to the body, this cut has the V morphing into a C or U shape gradually as you move up the neck from the nut. edit: these are usually more expensive due to the complex curves and are mostly hand carved.

These necks are quite frankly amazing in the hand, I had one on a strat but the only issue was it was the narrower vintage nut width that didn’t work for me, I’d love a guitar with this cut and the std. “wide” fender nut.

The main thing with a deeper neck (1 inch) is that it’s actually more comfortable even for smaller hands, sound unintuitive but it’s actually a thing. For some reason the MIJ guitar houses used the marketing mantra, thin is fast, that’s total BS, if anything it’s painful once you get used to a deeper neck.

As with all these things one must have played both styles over a sufficient period of time to have their own informed opinion. There is however a consensus on this, big is good, shoulders and over profile matter though. Big (1" no taper) necks are usually called baseball bat profiles, the V as in your picture could be a 1" depth no taper but due to the material removed at the shoulders, they’re more comfortable and thus rather desirable.

Also having more wood on the neck does change the tone, but that said, no two pieces of wood sound the same even if they’re made from the same plank. Some are dull, some are bright, some are balanced etc and all that.

Hope that helps some :slight_smile:

I actually omitted some info, the way I cropped the pics. These are I think all the V’s Fender’s offereing now, with more specs:

What’s your take?

I think the angles of the hands/thumb/fingers dictate, massively what you can play on guitar.
So a small change in neck shape will change a lot for some people.

So the modern V has a boat cut, but the V is very conservative, the taper is very tiny which I like, should feel great in the hands if you prefer a slim neck, look no further.

There a thing about the V that fits snug for chords on the nut area and as I said earlier it’s morphing to a C cut, that transition starts fairly quickly, 3/5th to 7/9th fret IIRC.

My ideal neck would be the Modern V, but with 0.980" to 1.0". And a bit more aggressive on the V. You’ll have to try them all to see what you like best. A somebody said bending is nice with a big neck, there’s less of a squeeze required, more fatigue the closer your fingertips get to your thumb. There is a goldilocks zone for electric guitars, possibly.

But in all honesty, the human hand is very versatile and it’s ok not to overthink things and just adapt, I mean we have cellos to mandolins and DBasses, there’s a lot of operating range there. Nothing should stop you from achieving whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish.

If you are going custom shop, I’d recommend Lentz guitars over them any day, you will get exactly what you want with more attention to detail, my Carvetop is ridiculous. Scott Lentz is one of the top three luthiers, I really do believe that. Please almost cry after playing my Lentz, I got damn lucky, twice with it.

My main electric guitar is a strat that has a fat Warmoth neck with a pretty hard V profile on it. It’s definitely my favourite neck on any guitar I’ve ever owned (hence why it’s my favourite guitar lol) - easy to play thumb over which I do quite a bit but also very comfortable in the classical guitar/shredder hand position as well.

Not sure about how anyone else feels about it but it feels a little easier to play higher up the neck with it than my other guitars - but maybe the compound radius has something to do with it as well; I believe mine has a 9.5 or 10-14" radius. I have 12’s or 13’s and higher action on all my guitars in standard tuning but I feel like for my purposes this neck puts my hand in the best position for fretting; I like heavy strings mostly for my right hand so I’m not going out of my way to make the guitar harder to play lol but because of the this + preference for higher action this neck does it best for me.

I had never tried a V shaped neck before so just took a gamble buying this one off eBay since it was listed for pretty cheap and it paid off I guess. Pull the trigger on one and see if you like it!

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I’ve heard good things about those Warmoth necks. Man 12/13s on std tuning is beastly, big frets I hope!

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Warmoth does have a wide variety of neck profiles, see here, although none of the eight options seem to be “V.”

The Clapton one is the one I have with the V profile! I’ve played a Clapton Fender strat since getting this neck and the Warmoth one has a much more pronounced V shape and is a little more towards the thicker side than the Fender one.

@Twangsta they’re tall narrow frets and they’re reaaaaal nice. I bet that plays a part in the better playability on the higher frets actually now that I think of it.

Nice, I really do think high is more important than width. I’d love another YJM for big strings, the scallops will make easy business of it. Put that set of frailin Vintage Hots and it’s vintage strat magnificence.

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Ah, Warmoth does have a “Clapton,” so I guess that they do make a “V.”

I definitely prefer at least moderately thick necks - again, modern Strat is my sweet spot - and I’ve spent a lot of time playing necks both thicker and thinner than that. There’s a lot of things I like about thicker necks, and comfort is definitely a big part of it (it’s a fair bit easier on your wrists, IMO), as is the fact that neck mass DOES seem to have a big effort on tone.

But, I also own a RG550 in Road Flare Red from the 2013 Genesis Series reissue, with a (titanium-reinforced, which helps with neck stbility, another thing I generally like about thicker necks) original Wizard neck profile, and while it will never be a main player for me and instead more of a fun, pull out ever now and then “stupid guitar tricks” guitar, there IS something ludicrously effortless about playing on a neck that thin. I definitely wouldn’t call it total BS, and as someone who’s racked up a couple decades of experience on different neck thicknesses and has had some sort of Wizard neck in the stable for a large part of that time, I’ve logged a lot of hours on them. Whether or not a thinner neck is something you’re comfortable on, of course is a huge matter of preference.

On the other side of the coin, there’s definitely a point where a neck starts to get thicker than I prefer - I own a PRS Singlecut that I mostly keep around for riffing and while it’s not like it holds me up or anything, that has a pretty thick C profile which I wouldn’t normally spec out on a guitar, and I’ve owned a few Schecters over the years that I could only describe as baseball bats that, well, I don’t own anymore.

Again, though, this stuff is all wildly subjective. My preferences aren’t all that dissimilar from yours, but that doesn’t mean we’re “right,” just that what feels right to us isn’t all that different. I just happen to find the shape of a V really awkward, but a C or D profile a bit nicer. :man_shrugging:

Depending on your preferences, the Warmoth “boatneck” might also give a V-ish vibe, if that’s what you’re looking for.

But I really believe in finding a widely available mass-produced neck you like and just going with that. Barring any freakish incompatibility between your anatomy and a particular neck contour that’s actually making it painful to play (due to cramping in your palm, or some such), you can get used to pretty much any neck contour. Why not choose to get used to a contour that’s readily available off the shelf?

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Does Sam Ash typically stock player models so I could try out a V? Any other way to get your hands on one without committing?

Possibly harsh words on my part, it’s just my opinion Drew. I had a vigier that I couldn’t bond with however hard as I tried, it was just outclassed with what I had at the time, again it’s just my preferences… As you said it’s all very subjective, even so a person’s preference’s can change, I wouldn’t be surprised if I miss the vigier when I’m old and frail, universe willing I make it that long :joy:

edit:

Drew, if you get a chance to try one that’s 1" in the nut and tapers to a C by the 5th fret, they’re really comfy, our hands make a V between the thumb and index, a soft elliptical V. Glendale guitars make great necks, but it’s hit or miss with the tone, you gotta make sure Dale Clark gives you the good stuff.