What Is a Guitar Neck? – The Long and Short of It.

Giraffe Guitar

While not as long as the neck pictured above, a guitar neck can be seemingly daunting to some. Today we are going to slide right along and answer the question you asked to get here, what is a guitar neck.? Similarly, to the image above, the guitar neck is one of the most outstanding features of the instrument. Let’s take a look right now.

What Is The Guitar Neck – Can I Get Rid of It?

Guitar Neck

To keep things simple, think about your neck. What is one of the most basic functions of your neck? The most basic role, in my opinion, is keeping your head attached to your body, right? Well, this is basically the same on a standard shape guitar. Note I said standard because guitars come in all shapes and sizes, some without bodies others without the headstock etc.

Your guitar neck is basically where your left hand ( or right hand if you’re a lefty) will live on your guitar. The design of the neck allows you to comfortably curl your fingers around it, and reach a wide range of notes on your guitar. The neck also acts as a supporting structure for your thumb (which is like an anchor or guide while you play)

Guitar necks are seemingly simple and probably often overlooked, however, their importance is not to be taken lightly.

Who Are It’s Closest Friends (And Enemies)?

The friends and neighbours of the guitar neck are:

  • The body – Supporting structure to the neck
  • The truss Rod – Literally a rod inside the guitar neck used to support the neck’s resting position. (like a spinal cord)
  • The fretboard – usually made from a different type of wood to the underside of the neck.
  • The inlays – Those little dots or other patterns in the fretboard telling you which fret you’re on.
  • The frets – small metal bars dividing the fretboard up into sections
  • The nut – commonly the white ” wall” looking thing that holds and guides the strings. I call it Fret 0
  • The Strings – The reason you are here (this site, not the earth) The strings and neck share a special bond worth exploring a little more.
  • You – The one who cares for the instrument in its entirety, and the one it serves, a symbiotic relationship.

Enemies of the neck:

  • Heavy loads/ Forces – These will probably distort or break your neck, Not fun!
  • Sharp objects – These are likely to damage the fretboard, possibly hindering playing ability.
  • Excessive moisture – Basically it is like a gremlin, don’t let it get wet or risk the catastrophic consequences.
  • Dirt build up – Not only unattractive but the grime that builds up here can travel to more delicate parts of your guitar.

Rule of thumb, if you would”not let it near your neck don’t let it near the neck of your guitar.

Guitar Strings – Won’t They Strangle The Neck?

Guitar Fret board On The Neck

No. The strings and the neck are good neighbours. Without the neck (and you) the strings would be very sad as they would never be able to change pitch. Scales and chords, poof, gone without the neck. You would have to change the tuning of your strings every time you wanted to change the pitch of any note.

The combination of the neck and all of its friends (the nut, the frets, the fretboard, the inlays and the strings), all come together to make it easier for you to make your music. Play enough and your fingers also become more familiar and friendlier. Perhaps that’s why sometimes it seems like they don’t even need you to tell them what to play right?

One term you may have heard is the action of the guitar. This simply refers to the height of the strings above the fretboard. The higher the action the further you have to press down the string to play a note. Conversely, if the action is too low the strings may buzz as they make contact with the fret bar which is bad ( unless that is the sound you are going for).


Taking Care Of My Neck – The Guitar One That Is.

To care for your neck simply avoid its “enemies” list above. Investing in a hardshell guitar case is a wise choice. These cases do a good job of protecting your guitar from most harmful things like the elements and unexpected forces like things falling on them.

Some guitars require a custom case to fit properly and make sure that the neck is not being bent inside the case. Certain people will not like the bulkiness of these cases and opt for lighter material cases. I personally opt for hardshell cases as soon as I can afford them because of the protection factor they offer for my guitar.

There are also special oils for cleaning the fretboard and strings to remove grime and dirt build up and preserve the finish on your guitar. Gently and thoroughly wiping off your guitar fretboard with a clean cloth can be a good way to maintain a healthy guitar. Just be extremely careful to make sure there is nothing on the cloth that can scratch your guitar as you clean.

The Guitar Neck Is Pretty Cool, Huh?

Yep. Every part of your guitar is special and deserves your care and respect. The neck is also the most susceptible to damage due to its position. Your guitar is quite literally sticking its neck out for you, as in this position the neck is very vulnerable to attack?

What do I mean by attack? Let’s say your seemingly innocent friend where to sit on your guitar by “accident”. If they sat on the body, you might get away with little to no damage (if you’re lucky). However, if said “friend” were to sit on the neck. I fear you may lose two friends in one day.

So hopefully now if someone asks you “what is a guitar neck?”, you can confidently answer that it is one of the most important parts of your guitar – then send them here for the rest 🙂

All the best, and see you in the next post.





4 Replies to “What Is a Guitar Neck? – The Long and Short of It.”

  1. Hi, Renton!

    I had no idea that guitar necks had such a impact of the overall performance with guitars. This is excatly why I want to read new posts…to learn more and more.

    I like the suggestion to get a guitar case…are there any special ones you recommend?

    Cheers for music!

    Regards, Jan

    1. Hi Jan, would you mind giving me a bit more information about your guitar, like if its acoustic or electric and possibly the guitar model. The reason I ask is that some guitars like mine require a custom case to fit properly but I believe there could be a generic case to suit your needs and protect your guitar.

  2. I am a avid guitar player too. Guitar necks can come in many different length and sizes. My hands are small, so I mostly use a mini guitar size. Shorter guitar necks are easier to play but the sound may not be the best. Still the small guitar can serve me a good practice. I enjoyed reading your review.

    1. Thank you for the comment. It is fitting that guitars come in many shapes and sizes just like the people who play them. I think that is is great that you did not use the fact of having small hands as an excuse and that you found a guitar to suit you.

      I think that guitars, like people, are more than just their size. If the material on the inside is of high quality and workmanship, I believe those smaller guitars could probably achieve a sound that a “standard size guitar could not.

      Keep on working towards your goals and I am sure you will be more than satisfied with the musician (and person) you become.

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