Fingerboard Radius Part 2

The following article is coutosy of Tony Pasko who writes GEAR 411 at The Rock House Method.

First things first: Thank you for all the positive feedback on the last article. I am happy to hear that so many of you found the article helpful.

Let’s dive right in:

Neck shape is the other factor of how well a guitar plays and feels. The shape of the neck is probably the first thing you notice when you pick up a guitar. This is where all the action happens, so feeling comfortable with the neck shape is very important. So what is it exactly? The neck shape is the round profile or grip shape of the neck.
  • But which shape is right for me?
  • What shape is more suitable for my style of playing?
  • What necks shapes are better for big hands/ or little hands?
These are all good questions and all good points to consider. Playing many different types of guitars can help you figure out what feels the best to you. How a neck feels is a very personal thing, What I like may feel completely foreign to you and vise versa. The radius of the neck will also alter the feel of the neck. So be aware of what you like about a certain neck because it should be the combination of the neck shape and neck radius working together to give you the maximum comfort and playability.

When trying to figure out the right neck shape, here are a couple of things to consider:

How much wood does it take to fill up your hand? To small a neck means quicker hand fatigue. To big a neck is worse, meaning you can't reach around it.

You should feel the same comfort and playability when playing down by the nut as you would play leads from the 12th. Fret and up

A different neck makes me play different?

Now That I convinced you to go out and find that one perfect neck, I’m going to contradict myself a little and tell you that you might like a certain type of neck for a certain type of playing etc…

Most guitar players are into a few different styles of music and most of us like getting different sounds. The sound of the guitar will lead us to play a certain way, so will the neck.


You might like a guitar with a fat neck to play blues, because that style of music requires you dig in a little to get the tone your after. You might like a guitar with a skinny flat neck so you can do your shred riffs.

Neither of these factors is wrong, and if a certain neck shape provides you with the ability to accomplish your goal? Then that’s a job well done.

Below is a chart I found at www.warmoth.com that illustrates the many neck shapes available. This chart can help define which neck shapes are right for you and why.

I hope this closes the gap of why you might like certain types of guitars over another, but don’t forget that there are still many factors to consider.

In this series we will discuss: Fret size, nut width, scale length, wood characteristics, truss rod, string gauge etc…

Thanks for listening and I look forward to your feedback, and I hope this sparks some discussions so we all can share our opinions and expertise.


Tony J. Pasko

Standard Back Contours
Standard Thin .800" 12th Fret- .850" Boat - 1st Fret 1" 12th Fret - 1"
Fat - 1st Fret 1" 12th Fret - 1"
NEW Custom Neck Back contours
SRV 1st Fret - 0.835" 12th Fret - 0.970"
Asymetric Back contour
Clapton 1st Fret - .835" 12th Fret - .910"
Wolfgang 1st Fret - .815" 12th Fret - .940"
Asymetric Back contour
Wizard 1st Fret - .735" 12th Fret - .810"
'59 Roundback 1st Fret .860" 12th Fret - .970"

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Anonymous said...

Great post but unfortunately the right hand side of the diagrams where there are two fretboards across has been cut off.

sarge1875 said...

Yes, that was a problem on blogger. You can see the full article here also if you want to see the cut off portion.