Neck Profile & Neck Radius

Hey Everyone
Can someone give me the Reader’s Digest* (short) explanation of the Neck Profile and Neck Radius specifications that are listed when researching a bass? What’s the playability difference between a “modern C” and a “C” or a “9.5 inch radius” versus a “12 inch radius”?
(* for those of you old enough to get that reference)



The 12" radius would have a “flatter” neck than the 9.5" radius.

Cheers, Joe


Thanks for reminding me @JerryP :scream:


Thanks Joe!


Neck shape and size is so crucial!
Even if you get the radius measurements, how the makers shape the back of the neck is massively important. Warwick has a thicker contour on the back of the neck behind the E string than the G string, and it has always messed with me.
I love the sound of those basses, and the fingerboard radius feels great… but that contour behind my thumb and left hand are too weird!


The concept of neck radius is explained here quite well, in my opinion:

A similar article explaining neck profiles:


Neck profile and neck radius are different things, although both have to do with the neck (obviously).

Neck radius has to do with the amount of arch in the fretboard. Picture if the arch of the neck were extended until the two sides met and formed a circle. The radius of that circle is the neck radius.

In other words, a fretboard with a 12" neck radius will be flatter than one with a 9.5" radius.

Origiinally Fender used A, B, and C to designate nut width (1.5", 1.62" and 1.75" respectively). That terminology is no longer in widespread use, and the designations just refer to the shape of the back of the neck. A “C” neck will be oval shaped and a "modern C will be flatter.

There is more to it, but that’s the Reader’s Digest Condensed Version. :smiley:


Thanks everyone @PamPurrs, @Jazzbass19, @Gio, @Mike_NL & @spidey9. That was all very informative. I’m saving my pennies for a new bass after the holidays and even with this technical ammunition in hand, it seems that the final two pieces of the game are going to be how it sounds and how it feels to me, which is what everyone is always saying.
Thanks Again!