Fender P Neck Questions

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by huskies90, May 25, 2007.

  1. huskies90


    May 17, 2004
    OK I searched everywhere and could not find a consolidated list. Can somebody please either post or point me to a place where I can find what all the P Bass neck dimensions mean? What is an A, B, C neck? What does the radius mean? What is a '57 neck or a '62 neck and what are the dimensions?

    And finally, the $64,000 question, I am trying to match the neck I have on my late 80's Fender P Bass MIJ (with the "E" serial number). Of all the P's I have played in my life, I have yet to find a neck as comfy as that one. Does anyone know the dimmensions of those??


  2. I'm not too sure on the "$64,000 question" but I know that the radius is the curvature across your neck. For instance a 12" radius is gonna be conciderably flatter than a 7.25". I've heard from some of my gui**** playing friends that a flatter radius will keep you from "fretting out" in the upper register.
    Now the the difference between the A, B, & C necks are the nuts or how wide the neck is. An A neck for all intents and purposes is a Jazz bass profile neck or 1.5" wide at the nut; a B neck is more of a current/ modern P-bass neck coming in at 1.65" wide at the nut; and a C neck is a whopping 1.75" inches wide. You can find a good example of a C neck on the MIM 50's p-bass.
    I hope this helps.

    -Joe P.
  3. huskies90


    May 17, 2004
    I thought this too but if you go to the Fender website both the current AM Jazz bass and the current Am P bass say Neck: Modern "C" shape. And then the Jazz says width at nut = 1.5" and the P bass says width at nut = 1.65"

    So, you can see why I am confused...
  4. huskies90


    May 17, 2004
    This is the second piece that confuses me. Where is this radius measured? 12"?? That is a huge radius and a big difference from 7.25". And wouldn't the 7.25" be flatter than the 12"??
  5. theLimeyBrit

    theLimeyBrit Used Register

    Feb 3, 2006
    Longview, TX
    Rather than curvature across the neck, it's actually curvature across the face of the fretboard.

    The curve of the fretboard is an arc of a circle; a fretboard's radius refers to the radius of that circle. The smaller the radius, the smaller the circle, and thus the more sharply curved the fretboard. The larger the radius, the closer the fretboard is to being flat.
  6. Tom Howland

    Tom Howland Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    A-neck 1 1/2" = Jazz bass neck style. Early 70's

    B-neck 1 5/8" = Little chunkier than Jazz. Late 60's, early 70's

    C-neck 1 7/8 = Biggest P-neck fat, chunky, Late 50's, 60's
    came back in 80's-present.
  7. Tom Howland

    Tom Howland Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    Quick note.
    No matter what style A. B, C, D.
    They all feel slightly different.
    Due to sanding final shaping ect.

    There were big differences, in shape, when hand done in 50's and 60's.
  8. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    I don't know of a Fender Precision with a 12" radius fingerboard. My '51 P RI and '50s P RI both have the 7-1/4" radius (I prefer a flatter board, but I love both those basses so I'll tolerate this feature). More modern Ps have a 9-1/2" radius.

    I thought the "C" in Fender sales literature referred to the profile (in other words, "shaped like a C"), especially since other instruments are described as "U" or "V" shaped.
  9. Fender uses A-B-C to define nut widths as explained above.

    However, it also uses C to define it's neck profiles, as well as U, V, soft V, etc. Nowadays it's mostly all "Modern C" shape while some guitars have a "soft V" or a "large C" (Jeff Beck Strat) and some 5 string basses have an asymmetrical profile (Roscoe Beck, possibly Marcus Miller 5?). They're all pretty much what their name implies, albeit less exaggerated.

    That Japanese P probably had a B width (standard contemporary P - 1 5/8" or 1.675) with a modern C shape, unless it a reissue or special model. In the 80s a lot of P's had J necks (PJ's, P Bass Specials, etc) so you might have to recall whether or not the neck felt wide.
  10. huskies90


    May 17, 2004
    Measuring the width at the nut is easy. Is there an easy way to measure the radius?
  11. savit260


    Mar 6, 2006

    C necks aren't always fat. Many mid 60's C necks are fairly slim, front to back compaired with other C necks.
  12. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Oh yes, and I so love those! Wish I had one on my '71. :hyper:
  13. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    The only way I know is to get a set of gauges from Stewart-McDonald (stewmac.com).

    Some differences in radius are pretty subtle, for example 12" vs 14", but a vintage-style Fender with a 7-1/4" radius has a noticeable crown to the fingerboard, which can't be mistaken for the modern 9-1/2" radius; by the same token, 12" is obviously flatter (to me) than the 9-1/2". For a while last year I was taking my Fender 51 P RI (7-1/4") and my Tribute L2000 (12") to gigs and when I changed basses it was VERY obvious which one I had in my hands.

    When you get to the flatter fingerboards an inch or two of radius proportionately means less than an inch or two with a smaller radius fb.
  14. marc40a


    Mar 20, 2002
    Boston MA

    Jenderfazz hit the nail on the head.

    Many people get confused with the difference between the letter designation for nut width "A = 1.5", B= 1.625", and C = 1.75" and the letter for neck shape or profile "U Shape, C Shape, Shallow D, V shape etc.."

    The letter designation for shape is largely irrelevant for Fender bass necks.

    You can easily see how someone would say that their "A" neck Precision is a "C" neck.

    The nut width letter and radius by far yield the most info regarding what era neck you're getting.

    That said, my prefence over the years has shifted from A width necks to B width necks. I can get along w/ modern 9.5 radius or vintage 7.25.

    Presonally, I think that P's are more accomodative to vintage radius necks than J's because you can slant both halves of the pickups for even response.
  15. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate

    Aug 14, 2009
    This thread has been revived due to challenges of searching the archives for discussion of nut width and neck shape.

    Here's specs on the older MIM P bass from a web search.

    2000 Fender Standard Precision Bass
    Body: Poplar
    Neck: One-Piece Maple (7.25" radius)
    Machine Heads: Standard
    Fretboard: Rosewood
    No. of Frets: 20
    Pickups: Split-Coil Hum Canceling
    Controls: Volume, Tone Bridge: Standard P-Bass
    Scale Length: 34" (864 mm)
    Neck Width @ Nut: 1.625" (41 mm)
  16. JTE

    JTE Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    A B and C refer the width of the nut. The thing is that there's also the "C-shape" neck, that refers the neck's profile. So you can have a B width that's a C shape, and you can have a C width that's a V profile... It's confusing and Fender originally did NOT use "C" to describe anything except the width. But the informal parlance of people talking about the necks with profiles that resembled the letter "C" became so common that Fender elected to start using it, originally in the custom shop.

    Yeah, it's confusing... but the best resource I've found for sorting through this stuff is found in Dan Erlewine's "Guitar Player Repair Guide" book. There's a section under "Action & Setup" that discusses "Production Neck Shapes" a little bit.


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