Types of Fender Stratocaster Necks

Written by robert russell
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Types of Fender Stratocaster Necks
A Fender Stratocaster is the guitar of choice for many guitarists. (James Woodson/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The Fender Stratocaster is one of the most recognisable guitars in popular music. Buddy Holly played a Stratocaster in the 1950s, which influenced the next generation of rock guitarists. Jimi Hendrix helped to turn the Stratocaster into the definitive rock and blues guitar. Stratocaster necks are easily interchangeable. The neck is bolted to the body of the guitar with four bolts. Fender makes a variety of Stratocaster necks to accommodate different playing styles and preferences.

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Neck Profile

The neck profile refers to the shape of the guitar neck. The profile does not affect the sound of the guitar, but it does have an affect on how someone plays the guitar. Fender Stratocaster necks are available in three neck profiles: the C-shape profile, the U-shape profile and the V-shape profile. The C-shape is the most common neck profile with Stratocaster necks. It is a smooth and comfortable oval shape that is easy to play. The neck is not as deep or thick as the U and V-shapes. The U-shape is a little more chunky and rounded than the C-shape. It is similar to the Fender Telecaster neck. The V-shape is more rare, and it was used on the early Fender Stratocasters. The V-shape works well for guitarists who like to keep their thumbs on the backside of the neck.

Types of Wood

Stratocaster necks are made from a variety of woods, but maple and Brazilian rosewood are the two most common woods used for Stratocaster necks. Ebony and alder are also used. The fretboard is made from either maple or rosewood. The maple fretboards are blond coloured and covered with a lacquer coating. Guitarists debate the values and differences of maple versus rosewood necks. Maple necks are usually considered to assist speedier playing and guitar riffs. Some guitarists believe that maple necks have a brighter sound. Eric Clapton's Stratocasters have maple fretboards. Jeff Beck prefers rosewood fretboards.

Frets

Stratocaster necks are available with varying fret sizes. Frets on Stratocaster necks range from small to jumbo frets. The size of the frets is a personal preference. The best fret is the one that suits your playing style and technique. Stevie Ray Vaughn preferred to play with heavy gauge strings, and he would bend the strings up two whole steps or more to emulate the style of Albert King. Vaughn preferred jumbo frets because it suited his aggressive playing style and technique.

Neck Quality

The quality of the neck depends upon the type of wood and other materials used and the craftsmanship involved in making the neck. Fender Stratocaster necks fall into four categories in terms of quality: Mexican necks ($140 to £107), American necks ($220 to £182), Deluxe necks ($300 to £260) and Custom Shop necks ($500 to £487). Custom Shop necks are made from high-quality wood and have a high-gloss finish.

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