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RainSong Guitar Neck Shapes Explained

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

A timeline of RainSong necks over the years.

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RainSong guitars are famous for their necks. A big part of that is thanks to their stability, never needing adjustment or pulling your guitar out of tune. But equally as impressive are the neck profiles and shapes we’ve designed over the years.

Their popularity is no accident. We’ve worked hard to craft neck shapes that immediately feel familiar in your hands and offer options for a wide variety of players. And thanks to customer input - especially Steve Miller’s, but more on that in a minute - we’ve been able to tweak and optimize each design.

Come with us on a journey through our history as we explore each neck profile, its evolution, and the technical innovations that created them. By the end, you’ll know exactly which RainSong neck is perfect for your next guitar.

RainSong Neck Designs at a Glance

  • N1: Thin, fast-playing neck without truss rod

  • N2: Vintage-feeling U-profile neck with increased energy transfer

  • NS: Identical to N2 but with a shorter 24.875” scale length for 12-fret guitars

  • 12-string: 1.875” nut width | 25.4” scale length | No truss rod

  • Baritone: 26.675" scale length | 1.75" nut width

  • Nylon String: 24.875" scale length | 1.75" nut width

The 1990s - Composite Molds & Performance Shape Casting ™

In the early years, RainSong necks were built using composite molds. These molds were responsible for our very first designs and put our necks’ legendary feel and stability on the map. Unfortunately, our composite molds weren’t as durable as the necks they made. All of them eventually broke down and required extensive maintenance.

In late 1999, we made the transition to the aluminum molds we use today. Though they’re more expensive to design and fabricate, they last a very long time. They also make higher-quality necks, which has allowed us to continue innovating our designs and processes, such as our proprietary Performance Shape Casting ™.

“Performance Shape Casting™ is a process where we cast our necks and fretboards simultaneously as a single graphite matrix. This ensures flawless intonation, no dead spots, no string buzz, and necks that will never twist, warp, bow, or need adjustment.”

1999 - The N1 Guitar Neck

WS Black Ice with N1 neck
Custom WS Black Ice with N1 neck

The N1 was our first guitar neck design utilizing Performance Shape Casting™ and our aluminum molds. The necks were a noticeable step up in comfort and playability, but they weren’t perfect yet. Over the next couple of years, based on customer feedback, the molds were re-machined to create a unique, low-profile design, one that is at once comfortable and different.

It’s a thin neck that’s easy to play, but it’s also one of the most stable guitar necks in the business. So much so that it doesn’t require a truss rod. Instead, it is pre-engineered for optimal relief and buzz-free performance. Best of all, it will not warp with humidity/temperature changes.

N1 Specs:

  • 1-3/4” nut width

  • 25.4” scale length

2001 - 12-string Guitar Necks

When we released the N1 neck, we found it was fantastic for a wide variety of guitar designs. But after building a few 12-string guitars, we knew we needed to come up with a neck specially designed for the task. We wanted to create the best playing and durable 12-string with unmatched tuning stability, so we designed and machined the new, dedicated aluminum mold that we still use on every 12-string we make.

12-string Specs:

  • 1-7/8” nut width

  • 25.4” scale length

  • No truss rod

2005 - Our First Truss Rods

Advanced Series acoustic guitar
Advanced Series acoustic guitar

In the mid-2000s, we decided to put truss rods into RainSong necks. Although our carbon-fiber necks are extremely stable and do not warp, we wanted players to be able to customize their neck relief to their individual preferences. These necks arrived in our Advanced Series (discontinued) acoustic guitars. The necks on the Advanced Series were extremely low-profile and incorporated a double-action truss rod, which was accessible through the soundhole.

2009 - The N2 Guitar Neck

DR Vintage with N2 neck
DR Vintage with N2 neck

The N1 neck was so popular and effective that it became the only profile we offered on our main production guitars for nearly a decade. And it might have stayed that way if not for Guitar Legend Steve Miller and Master Guitar Luthier John Bolin.

RainSong’s relationship with Miller goes way back, and we’ve had the honor of building him pieces right from our Custom Shop. So when he asked us for a fuller-feeling guitar neck, we were happy to oblige. The two parties, along with Bolin, set about designing a neck shape based on a ‘50s- style modified “U” profile. Completely unique from the N1, we had to design and utilize brand-new molding techniques and supporting equipment for the job.

The N2 has a more substantial feel than the N1 and is a favorite of players looking for a “vintage” playing experience. It offers better transfer of string vibration to the soundboard. And its headstock-accessible truss rod lets you set the perfect amount of neck relief. It wasn’t long before the N2 dethroned the N1 and became RainSong’s production neck of choice.

N2 Specs:

  • 1-3/4” nut width

  • 25.4” scale length

2011 - The NS Guitar Neck

25th Anniversary Special Edition with NS neck
25th Anniversary Special Edition with NS neck

With our venture into vintage-style 12-fret acoustic guitar construction came the need for a new neck design. But with the N2’s popularity, we didn’t want to venture too far from its specifications. We came up with the NS. Though fitted to a 12-fret guitar, the NS shares the same 1-3/4” nut width and profile with the N2. But, thanks to its 24.875” scale length, it adds the warmth and mellow tone 12-fret guitars are famous for.

2020 - The N1 & 12-string Necks Return

Between 2009 and 2014, RainSong supported the original N1 and 12-string guitar necks as well as the newer N2 and NS neck shapes. But the newer necks were gaining in popularity, and it was becoming increasingly hard to justify supporting the two different molding techniques. In late 2014, we decided to discontinue the original designs.

Our mistake.

In 2020, in spite of having not produced the original necks for over 5 years, we kept getting requests for 12-strings and the fast-playing N1 neck profiles. Listening to our valued customers, we decided to bring the N1 and the 12-strings back, just like we used to make them. We even use the original aluminum molds ensuring these necks are identical to the original necks.

The Future (Of Tradition)

Today, nearly all of our models are available with all four of the neck designs we’ve discussed. We’ve even added our Baritone (26.675" scale length, 1.75" nut width) and Nylon-string (24.875" scale length, 1.75" nut width) designs to the mix. So no matter what style you play or feel you prefer, there’s a RainSong carbon fiber acoustic guitar neck design that you’ll love.

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