Ok, fingerboard radius.. info, thoughts & a special G&L

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by GorgeousTones, May 24, 2019.

  1. GorgeousTones

    GorgeousTones TDPRI Member

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    Hey all! I need some help clearing up my understanding of fingerboard radius. I’ve always thought that a smaller number (say 7.5 for example) gives you a much larger curve, than a larger number (like 10.5+) which would result in a flatter fretboard. Is this correct??

    I was at a local guitar shop recently and pulled down a G&L ASAT w/2 Strat style MFD’s and a T bridge. And I Immediately fell in love with the neck!! It had a much flatter radius than I was used to and had a fantastic chunky profile. Much fatter than any T style guitar I’ve ever played, which I really like (I have really big hands).. I was ready to buy it right there.. Unfortunately all my excitement disappeared when I plugged it in. I just didn’t care for the sound of those “MFD” pickups at all, And the treble/bass tone controls weren’t my cup of tea either :(

    I’m pretty fussy about the setup/playability of my guitars. One of the biggest issues I’ve always had is with what I believe are “smaller radius” necks. But I’m not sure..

    I started thinking that a larger (flatter) radius is what I want, but according to G&L’s spec sheets the ASAT I played was most likely 9.5.. Which is what 90% of Fender Am & MIM Telecasters have right?? And I have compound radius Strat neck that seems like it’s flatter towards the Nut and curved more at the 12th fret. Again I don’t know.. Also I bend a ton, will having a really flat radius make big bends impossible?? Thanks
     
  2. Unionjack515

    Unionjack515 Tele-Holic

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    Generally, compound radius necks are flatter at the 12th than at the nut. Modern Strats are usually a 9.5” and Les Pauls are 12”ish. Vintage Fender Strats were about a 7.25” radius. Chording is typically easier on a tighter radius board and bending is easier on a flatter radius board, so some folks opt for the compound radius due to that (or other reasons). Tighter radius near the nut where you might be chording more and flatter near the 12th where you’ll be bending more. I’ve always liked this video’s explanation:

     
  3. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    ^ Yup.

    I'd add that, while fretboard radius will have an effect on your playing, a radius you're not used to should not be an obstacle. Hendrix had huge hands and played lead like a mother, but Strats at the time had a tight radius that's "better for chords", according to common wisdom. On the other hand, I'm used to my 9.5" Strat, but I can still play chords just fine on my 12" Ibanez and 14" Schecter. It's an adjustment, but no different than the sort you'd have to make switching between a Strat and Tele, or electric and acoustic.
     
  4. vgallagher

    vgallagher Tele-Meister

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    My Texas Highway has a 12" rad. It's become my preferred guitar since it feels a lot like my Martin D18's which is what I play 80% of the time. So switching back and forth is a lot easier.
     
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  5. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yes. Generally, the larger the number the flatter the neck.

    IIRC, for necks with a "compound radius", the radius flattens out as you move toward the body.
     
  6. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'm skeptical about the "experience base" of someone who finds a USA G + L neck to be fatter than any other T style he or she has ever played. Even the largest profile necks that Fullerton sells are small next to a number of necks on readily available T styles.

    I've got 5 USA G + Ls and have always gone for the biggest necked G + Ls I could negotiate a deal on. My G + Ls have about the largest fretwire of any of my guitars, but the necks on them are actually among the smaller necks I have.
     
  7. GorgeousTones

    GorgeousTones TDPRI Member

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    Hmm,That’s interesting..

    -Well, to be perfectly honest I’m not all that familiar with G&L.. In fact I’ve probably only played 5 or 6 in my entire life! So I suppose you could say this is my “experience base” as you put it. Which pretty much qualifies as nill.

    *This specific G&L though, which I was referring to in my OP. I just discovered today that it was a “semi-custom” order from 2007-2008. When (according to the sales guy, which you probably know more about this than him or me) G&L still offered pretty extensive custom options on their US models.. I’m going to post details w/pic’s & spec’s below
     
  8. GorgeousTones

    GorgeousTones TDPRI Member

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    *Update; G&L Pictures & Spec’s

    FA50863C-FA00-4132-82A9-6792CD8665EA.jpeg CD9B9258-419E-427A-8901-9F4604A2331B.jpeg
    AC40D287-ACA6-4686-AAAA-D3CABF49F027.jpeg 24E44855-D2E2-43A5-BC90-673DE22C2DC7.jpeg


    Specs; 2008 G&L ASAT Classic is a custom build! It adds a middle single coil to the classic T-style platform. Features include-
    a swamp ash body, G&L Classic Plus C maple neck and fingerboard with 1 11/16” bone nut, medium jumbo frets, and 12" radius. Boxed steel 6 saddle bridge, a 5 way switch, standard G&L tuners, & OHSC


    So, I kept thinking about that G&L for the past couple weeks and decided to check to see if it was still there. And surprisingly it was! So I grabbed all the info and specs for it and some pic’s.. For 899$ I think it’s a great deal and if it’s still there Monday then I’ll just buy it.

    *As it turns out, the fingerboard radius on this G&L that I love the feel of so much is 12”. Which is actually good for me because I thought it was 9.5. Exactly like the plethora of Fender’s I’ve always been less than happy with.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. GorgeousTones

    GorgeousTones TDPRI Member

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    Okay so that’s opposite of what I thought. Which would make a flatter radius “better” for bends..?

    So, can you (or anyone else reading this thread) tell me; What is the benefit or theory behind that? In other words, Why have more curvature near the Nut, and flatter up towards the body?? And what makes a larger (flatter) radius preferable near the body w/compound radius? Thanks!

    thanks!
     
  10. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    Flatter boards are easier to bend because there is less issue with the strings leaving the board. On a more curved radius, you run out of real estate if not careful. The reason the compound radius can be desireable (I think Warmoth created that first) is because you are not going to be bending strings in the cowboy chords, they happen from mid-neck on up the neck so having curved "cowboy land" and flatter up higher seems to be the best of both worlds.

    I have that compound radius on a parts tele and it seems to work well enough, but I don't really notice a big difference between it and a standard 9.5 radius all the way. It really doesn't matter that much to most people anyway, you can get used to a different radius or nut width pretty easily. I do like a flatter radius (a 12 is a good one) because I started out on acoustic and it feels more like that kind of neck. I also tend to be a bender, but I also have a few 9.5's and compounds...they all feel fine as well.

    I wouldn't get too wrapped up by it, if it feels comfortable to play, just go with it.
     
  11. aerhed

    aerhed Friend of Leo's

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    A choke is when you bend a string so far across the fretboard that the next fret interferes. Geometrically affected by radius and string height. Flatter and higher gives more sideways string travel. If you need it.
     
  12. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Firstly, note the space between the frets nearer the nut. Now, note the space between the frets nearer the body.

    Secondly, consider the physical action of bending, i.e., sliding the string (or strings) along the fret.

    Bending closer to the nut requires a longer bend along a bigger curve.

    Bending closer to the body requires a shorter bend along a smaller curve.

    Make sense?
     
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