There are several main Martin acoustic guitar neck profiles:
- Modified Low Oval/ Modified Low Oval with High Performance Taper
- Low Oval
- Low Profile
- Modified V
- Performing Artist
- Full Thickness
- 30s Style V
|Neck Profile||Depth (1st-10th Fret)||Neck Shape|
|Modified Low Oval||0.58-0.67”||C-shape|
|30s Style V||0.65-0.77”||V-shape|
Modified Low Oval
The Martin Modified Low Oval Neck has a C-shape and moderate thickness, making it comfortable for most players. It measures 0.58″ at the 1st fret and 0.67″ at the 10th fret.
There are two types of thick neck profile:
- Modified Low Oval
- Modified Low Oval with High Performance Taper
The Modified Low Oval and Modified Low Oval With High Performance Taper neck profiles have the same depth and shape, but a different fretboard width.
Both have a nut width of 1.75″, but the High Performance Taper version is slightly narrower at the 12th fret measuring 2.125″, compared to 2.25″ on the original Modified Low Oval version. The taper helps to make the guitar feel more comfortable on the upper frets.
The Modified Low Oval was replaced by the Modified Low Oval With High Performance Taper neck profile in 2019.
The Martin Low Profile neck is slightly thicker at the 1st fret in comparison to the Low Oval/ Modified Low Oval neck, but slightly thinner at the 10th fret. Here are the measurements:
- Low Profile: 1st fret depth = 0.06″
- Modified Low Oval: 1st fret depth = 0.58″
- Low Profile: 12th fret depth = 0.65″
- Modified Low Oval: 0.67″
In terms of the shape, the Low Profile neck has slightly shallower shoulders at the lower frets and is flatter across the middle in comparison to the Modified Low Oval neck shape.
The Performing Artist neck profile is slightly thicker at the 1st fret compared to the Modified Low Oval, but thinner at the 10th fret. Overall, it is relatively slim and has a comfortable C-shape.
It is considered the closest feeling Martin neck to an electric guitar profile which is typically slimmer than an acoustic guitar neck.
The Modified Low Oval, Low Profile and Performing Artist necks are all reasonably similar and considered pretty universally comfortable for most hand sizes and positions.
The Martin Full Thickness neck profile is the deepest neck available and has a C-shape. It measures 0.65″ thick at the 1st fret and 0.77″ thick at the 10th fret, which gives it a chunky feel. This neck profile is less suitable for players with smaller hands.
The Martin Low Oval neck profile has shallower shoulders compared to the Modified Low Oval profile, however it shares the same thickness at both the 1st and 10th fret. The Low Oval neck is no longer used and has been replaced by the Modified version.
The Low Oval shape has a more pointed mid-section and shallower shoulders making it resemble more of a C/V profile rather than a true C-shape with more curvature.
The Martin Modified V neck is thicker in comparison to the Modified Low Oval neck profile at both the 1st and 10th fret.
This V-shape is characterised by shallow shoulders and a pointed mid-section, and typically suits players who prefer to rest their thumb over the top of the fretboard or at the centre. It is typically not considered as universally comfortable as the C-shape of the Modified Low Oval neck.
Check out my article comparing C-shape and V-shape necks for more information.
30s Style V
The 30s Style V neck profile has the same thickness as the Full Thickness neck profile but instead of having C-shape, has a V-shape with shallower shoulders. Thick V-shape necks such as this are quite polarising and are less suitable for players with smaller hands.