Barbarossa Guitars

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Custom Neck Design

Because my guitars are completely hand-made and I make your guitar when you order it, I can make the neck of your guitar just the way you like it.  This will give you the very best in playing action and comfort:  exactly the way you want it.

I think most guitar players haven't thought too much about the design of the neck of their guitar.  So, I have created this page to explain what I can do in customizing the neck of your guitar.

I can customize the following on your guitar neck:  the thickness, the width, the section shape, and fretboard radius.
Here's a link to my page about building the guitar neck: 


Typically, my guitars' necks, in their "standard" form, will be about 13/16-inches (0.81 inches) thick at the first fret and about 15/16-inches (0.94 inches) thick at the ninth fret.  This is the thickness you will get, if you do not specify a different thickness profile.  Most people will find this thickness profile very comfortable and very familiar.

Essentially any thickness is possible, though very thin necks pose some special problems.


Width of your guitar neck is critical to your playing comfort.  There is a huge difference between the 2.06-inch wide (at the nut) neck of a classical guitar and the 1.68-inch wide neck of typical dreadnought.  I recommend that you try many guitars with different neck widths to find which you prefer.  With a Barbarossa guitar, you can get exactly the neck width and string spacing that best suits you.


 For the guitars I build, the "standard" neck widths are as follows:

For B1, B0, B00, B000, OM, dreadnought, GA:  1.81 inches at the nut;

and 2.35 inches string spacing at the saddle (width at 12th fret to match)

Classical:  2.06 inches (52 mm) at the nut;

and 2.25 inches string spacing at the saddle (width at 12th fret to match)
Section Shape:
This is another critical factor in the comfort and playing action of a guitar's neck.  Pre-war Martins and most dreadnoughts today have a V-shaped neck.  In my experience, most finger-style players prefer a rounded or flattened shape neck.  The flattened shape is sometimes found on classical guitars.  Please see the diagrams at left for examples of these shapes.

My "standard" neck will come with the rounded shape.  This neck shape is very similar to the Martin Custom Shop "Modified Oval" neck shape.  I find that this is the most versatile shape for almost any style of playing.

I can make your neck like any of these styles, some blending of them, or I can copy the shape of the neck of a guitar which your already own.  Again:  I will make the neck just the way you want it.
Fretboard Radius:
My "standard" fretboard radius is 20 inches.  I can also make your fretboard with either a 15-inch radius or flat (flat is standard for the classical guitar).  Other radii can be made but may require an additional charge.

"Rounded" shape neck profile.
This is the kind of shape you will get if
you do not specify a neck section shape.

This is the "V-shaped" profile

The "flattened" profile, sometimes found
on classical guitars:

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© 2015, James W. Blilie, Barbarossa Guitars                        5997 Turtle Lake Road, Shoreview, MN 55126                        This page was last updated:  23-May-2015