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Thread: Alternative Neck Profile Shapes

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Nov 2014
    Norfolk, VA. / Burlington, VT

    Default Alternative Neck Profile Shapes

    Hey Cafe,

    Curious to know if anyone has ever played an instrument with a "non-standard" neck profile. Strandberg guitars comes to mind:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Are these comfortable? Any neck shaping experiments worth sharing?


  2. #2
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    Asheville, NC

    Default Re: Alternative Neck Profile Shapes

    I've played dozens and dozens of them over the years.

    While they all have characteristic that benefit some playing styles and individual needs, at the end of the day I always go back to a more traditional neck and build all of mine that way.

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  4. #3
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
    Redwood City, CA

    Default Re: Alternative Neck Profile Shapes

    At the end of the day. the neck needs to be ergonomic. Things like the mandolin body shape can easily be changed to address aesthetic considerations, all while also trying to fulfill acoustic needs, of course. There are lots of body styles out there. But the neck? It needs to fit the hand, the fingers, and the arm. If it poses any drawbacks at all in that role, it will fail the player. Neck profiles for mandolins may vary a little bit, from "clubby" deep C-type shapes to "narrow" shallower V-type shapes, with the traditional "soft V" being a rather good compromise that a lot of folks tend to like on modern mandolins. Hand size can play a major role in choosing a preferred neck profile. But at the end of the day, there is just not that much room for variation in this department. The neck profile must fit the hand.

    P.S. On a guitar, the thumb can press directly against the back of the neck (in opposition to the fingers on the other side) for certain fretting positions, especially for barred chords. Hence the flat platform on the Strandberg neck that offers a place for this. However, this is not a part of standard mandolin technique, which tends to use hand positions more like those on the violin, with the crotch between the thumb and first finger being maintained at the back of the neck. So, a Strandberg-type neck on mandolin would not be a desired feature.
    Last edited by sblock; Oct-04-2020 at 1:30pm.

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  6. #4
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Nov 2003

    Default Re: Alternative Neck Profile Shapes

    In any consideration of neck shape, be it ergonomic, aesthetic, structural or whatever, we are limited by the strings. The strings must stretch to a straight line. We work from there.
    As with many (but not all) things in lutherie, there is a good reason for tradition. It works, and it has been what works for centuries. There will not likely be an improvement on something that came about from people keeping what worked and discarding what did not work for centuries. Slight variation in neck shape to suite individuals and playing styles is pretty much all that is out there.

  7. #5
    Registered User
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    Mar 2013
    Brooklyn, NY, USA

    Default Re: Alternative Neck Profile Shapes

    One of the issues with a non-symmetrical neck shape is that it will be more prone to twisting.

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