25 Guitars With U-Shaped Neck – Acoustic & Electric

You are currently viewing 25 Guitars With U-Shaped Neck – Acoustic & Electric

A U-shaped neck can offer nice vintage style playability but still give great comfort and be relatively easy to play. And this is exactly why I like the U-neck shape.

In 2012, I decided to buy a ESP LTD MH-400 with a thin U neck. It has been really fast-playing axe, and while my MH-400 was not the easiest to play guitar for me, it was still the right one. It taught me correct thumb placement and was comfortable to play.

My good experiences with guitars equipped with U neck shape made me really pumped to put together this article listing the cream of the crop guitars with U-shaped necks. Both acoustic and electric guitars. And I also reveal the 3 best ones. If you have any questions, just check the FAQ section or leave a comment.

Let’s get started!

To find out more about neck shapes, check this article I crafted: Guitar Neck Shape Guide – Shapes Explained.

photo reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Author: Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I also noticed that most guitar websites don’t do a really good job, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website. I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as Songsterr, Musicnotes, GuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar. I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog(I guess that went the right way…).


U Neck Shape

image displays Vintage U neck shape looks

U shape (also called “standard U” or “vintage U”) is chunky and less round than familiar C shapes. Also, the shoulders are larger and the straight sides of the neck are longer. This shape is great for correct thumb placement(at the back of the neck) and moving up and down the neck is really smooth. For me and my small hands, C shapes provide better upper fret access, but U gives a firm grip and I especially enjoy playing riffs with this shape. U shape can work great for players with large hands.

image displays Thin U neck shape looks

Thin version of U shape. Great for correct thumb placement because of its flat back. This neck is in general faster to play than the regular U. For example, most ESP guitars use a Thin U neck shape. With this shape, both moving up and down the neck is smooth and you also have better access to the fretboard than with a regular U.

I also included other different variations of U neck shape in this article. Such as,

  • Extra Thin U
  • Vintage Soft U = Old-school U shape with a bit more roundness
  • 1952 U = Resembles 1952 Telecasteres U neck shape

Almost all ESP guitars have either “Thin U” or “Extra Thin U” neck profile. Gretsch guitars is another brand known for using different variations of a U neck shape.


3 Acoustic Guitars With U Shaped Neck

ESP LTD TL-6 is a smooth-playing acoustic guitar with great quality hardware (NuBone nut & saddles, Grover tuners, etc.). It also has Fishman SONICORE electronics and great sound unplugged and plugged in. It’s a really good fit for an electric guitarist transitioning to the world of acoustic guitars.

Unfortunately, the acoustic guitar selection with U-shaped necks is really limited. But I found a couple of really cool acoustic models to share with you, have a look!

Price Range Icon Meanings:

$= $400-599

$$= $600-899

$$$= $900-1050

$$$$= $1051-1399

$$$$$= $1400-

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ModelBody StyleNeck ShapeNeck MaterialPrice RangeCheck Current Price (affiliate links)
Gretsch G5021E Rancher Penguin Parlor ParlorStandard UMahogany$Sweetwater*Thomann*
ESP LTD TL-6 BLJumboThin USingle-cut$SweetwaterThomann
Gretsch G5022CWFE Rancher Falcon Jumbo – Best AcousticJumbo – CutawayStandard UMahogany$$SweetwaterThomann

22 Electric Guitars with U Shaped Necks

ESP LTD EC-10 displayed for readers

If you are a beginner or your budget is really tight, plus you like metal, ESP LTD EC-10 is a great option. It has a Thin U neck shape, Extra jumbo frets that do make playing effortless, and the guitar has the best hardware of the electric guitars priced around $200. And yes, this affordable guitar sounds mean.

Price Range Icon Meanings:

$= $200-399

$$= $400-699

$$$= $700-999

$$$$= $1000-1499

$$$$$= $1500-

ModelPickupsNeck ShapeNeck MaterialBody StylePrice RangeCheck Current Price (affiliate links)
ESP LTD EC-10 – Cheapest – Read The Full In-Depth ReviewNeck: ESP Designed LH-100N humbucker & Bridge: ESP Designed LH-100B humbuckerThin UMapleSingle-cut$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD MH-10Neck pickup: ESP Designed LH-100N humbucker & Bridge pickup: ESP Designed LH-100B humbuckerThin UMapleModern Stratocaster$SweetwaterThomann
Gretsch G2215-P90 Streamliner Junior Jet ClubBroad Tron BT-2S (bridge) and P90 Soap Bar (neck)Thin UNatoSingle-cut$SweetwaterThomann
Gretsch G5222 Electromatic Double Jet – Best Budget Electric2 x Black Top Broad’Tron HumbuckerThin UMahoganyDouble cut – Chambered$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD SN-200HTESP designed LH-150B (bridge) & ESP designed LH-150N (neck) humbuckerThin UMapleModern Stratocaster$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD EC-256FM – Best Budget Electric for MetalESP designed LH-150B (bridge) & ESP designed LH-150N (neck) humbuckerThin UMahogany  -3-Piece set-in neckSingle-cut$$SweetwaterThomann
Gretsch G2410TG StreamlinerBroadTron BT-2S (bridge), BroadTron BT-2S (neck)Thin UNatoHollowbody$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD MH-200QMESP designed LH-150B (bridge) & ESP designed LH-150N (neck) humbuckerThin UMapleModern Stratocaster$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD Xtone PS-1ESP designed LH-150B (bridge) & ESP designed LH-150N (neck) humbuckerThin UMapleSemi-Hollowbody$$SweetwaterThomann
Gretsch G5622 Electromatic Center Block Double-Cut with V-Stoptail2 x Black Top Broad’Tron HumbuckerThin UMapleSemi-Hollowbody$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD KH-202ESP LH-301N Humbucker & ESP LH-301B Humbucker
Extra Thin U
MapleModern Stratocaster$$SweetwaterThomann
Guild S-100 Polara2 x Guild HB-1 HumbuckerVintage Soft UMahoganySG-Style$$$SweetwaterThomann
Gretsch G5420T Electromatic – Best Overall Electric with Standard U Neck2 x Black Top Filter’Tron HumbuckerStandard UMapleHollowbody$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD F Black MetalEMG 81 HumbuckerExtra Thin UMapleLTD F Black Metal$$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD EC-1000 – Best Overall Electric – Read The ReviewEMG 60 Humbucker (neck), EMG 81 Humbucker (bridge). Thin UMahoganySingle-cut$$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD H3-1000FM Seymour Duncan Jazz Humbucker
& Seymour Duncan Custom-5 Humbucker
Thin UMapleModern Stratocaster$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Guild T-50 SlimFranz P90 Single-coilVintage Soft U2-piece MahoganyHollowbody$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Guild Starfire IV2 x Guild LB-1 humbuckerVintage Soft U3-piece Mahogany/Maple/MahoganySemi-hollowbody$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Fender American Original ’50s Telecaster2 x ’52 Pure Vintage Single-coil1952 UMapleTelecaster$$$$$Sweetwater
Gretsch G6131G-MY-RB Limited-edition Malcolm Young Signature Jet 2 x TV Jones Ray Butts Ful-Fidelity Humbucker & 1 x TV Jones Starwood HumbuckerStandard UMahoganySemi-hollowbody$$$$$Sweetwater
ESP E-II Horizon FRSeymour Duncan Sentient Humbucker
& Seymour Duncan Pegasus Humbucker
Thin U3-piece MapleModern Stratocaster$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Gretsch G6228FM Player’s Edition Duo Jet 2 x BT65 Broad’Tron HumbuckerStandard UMahoganySingle-cut$$$$$Sweetwater

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3 Best Guitars With U Shaped Neck – My Favorites

Best Acoustic Guitar – Gretsch G5022CWFE Rancher Falcon Jumbo

What I like

  • Gives a great Standard U neck shape experience
  • A solid Spruce top and laminated maple body provide bright, crisp, and articulate sound
  • Sounds good plugged in and unplugged
  • High value
  • Great quality Fishman Sonicore pickup and Isys+ Preamp

What I don’t like

  • Synthetic Bone is not the best material for nut and saddle

Who is it for?

If you are after crips-sounding acoustic guitar with a cutaway and high value, Gretsch G5022CWFE Rancher Falcon Jumbo (that’s a long name, haha) is one of the best options. It does have a synthetic bone nut, which is not the best option in terms of sustain and tone, but because this guitar is so good otherwise, I’ll let this slip. But if you replace nut and saddle with real bone or Tusq, this guitar starts to be really great.

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Best Budget Electric Guitar – Gretsch G5222 Electromatic Double Jet

What I like

  • Black Top Broad’Tron Humbuckers provide really great rock, blues, and rockabilly sound
  • Chambered body gives the guitar more loudness & projection when played unplugged
  • Thin U neck is smooth playing
  • Usually really good finish and all-around quality
  • Stunning
  • High value

What I don’t like

  • Synthetic Bone is not the best nut material

Who is it for?

If you are after a high-value budget electric guitar that offers easy playability with a thin U neck and great sound for classic rock, rock, blues, etc. Gretsch G5222 Electromatic Double Jet is a great choice. It usually has a flawless finish out of the box, it looks just beautiful, and it for sure is fun to play.

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Best Overall Electric Guitar – ESP LTD EC-1000

What I like

  • Great metal tones
  • Stunning looks
  • Spot on the action and smooth neck make this axe comfortable to play
  • Works well with small hands too
  • Versatile
  • High quality
  • Smooth Thin U neck
  • Tons of different color options are available
  • You can get LTD EC-1000’s with tons of different extra features from piezo pickups to Floyd rose

What I don’t like

  • Upper fret access is not great
  • The use of plastic nut feels a bit cheap for this price

Who is it for?

I’ve been lovin’ this guitar since I first tried it out a couple of years ago. With this axe, you get excellent value for money. It’s built for metal but can handle different music too. For people who mostly play metal, but want to explore other genres too, this guitar is definitely worth the money. And yes, it’s got a smooth & comfortable thin U neck.

And another awesome thing is that there are so many different versions of this guitar available. Versions with:

  • Evertune bridge
  • Seymor Duncan pickups
  • Floyd Rose
  • Piezo pickup
  • etc.

I know, it can be hard to decide which one, but it’s awesome that there’s an LTD EC-1000 for almost everyone. It’s an awesome, versatile metal machine, and this version with EMG pickups is one of the best options out there (the one with the Fishman Fluence pups is awesome too). And yes, all versions of this ESP I have found come with Extra Jumbo frets.

You can read my full review of this guitar here: ESP LTD EC-1000 Review 2022 – Before You Buy

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FAQ

Pros and Cons of U-Neck Shape

Pros

  • Flat back of the neck helps with the correct thumb placement
  • Many different variations of U neck shape are available
  • Thin variations enable really fast & smooth playability
  • Vintage/normal/standard U shape is still comfortable and fun to play.

Cons

  • Some people do prefer a completely round neck shape (C and D for example)
  • Vintage/normal/standard U might be too bulky for some players

Who Should Buy A Guitar With U-Neck Shape?

If you are after a firm grip, a less round shape than C and D, and a flatter backside of the neck, a U-shaped neck is probably worth at least a try. It’s really good for correct thumb placement (at the back of the neck), since the neck is not super round.

For everyone who is not sure about which neck shape is the right fit, I highly recommend trying different variations of the U neck shape. Back in the day, I chose the thin U shape and it has been a really good fit for me.

When and How did The C Neck Shape Start to Gain Popularity?

U shape is one of the oldest neck shapes. It started to gain popularity in the 1950s when the electric guitar boom started. Vintage U shape necks were chunky back then. Deep U-shape is also sometimes called “a baseball bat” neck. U shape is also used on some classical guitars, like Cordoba.


Conclusion

U neck shape is not for everyone, but I really recommend trying guitars with them out. Try the normal U, thin U, and ultra-thin U. You might find the right neck shape for you. For me and my tiny hands, a normal U shape is not the easiest to play, but it for sure is fun. And I really don’t know what I would do without my ESP LTD with a thin U-neck.

I hope this article helped you out, and maybe you even decided to get one of the guitars featured. If you have any questions, leave a comment, I and the GND team are here for you.

Now go, my son, and Rock!

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