7.25 radius fretboard changers out there

old wrench

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It's a funny thing :)

I started out with a 7-1/4" radius guitar (after playing a Teisco for about a year), but back then, I had no idea what the fret board's radius was, and I don't ever remember anyone else talking about what radius their guitar's fret board had.

We knew there was a difference, of course, between Fenders and Gibsons and the rest - but no one I knew was really focused on minute details like fret board radius.

We were more concerned with stuff like trying to put together a light-gauge string set with strings that wouldn't bust when ya made a big bend ;)

It's pretty interesting to look in the Black Guard Book and check out the fret board radius' on vintage Teles as measured by Nacho.

They actually varied quite a bit, and some of them were even pretty wacky - iirc, there was a reverse compound radius that went something like 9" at the nut to 7-1/4" at the 12th fret :)



The poster that referred to "shaving" a neck was referring to shaving some of the heft off the back of the neck, not anything to do with the fret board.

I'm pretty sure old Virgil (the original owner of Lay's Guitar shop down in Akron) is the fella that shaved down Page's LP neck before Page got it from Walsh - Lay's was the best shop around for guitar work back then, and Virgil was the man ;).


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57joonya

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I’m terrible at Checking my sentences. For some reason it changes my words to bizarre things like that . Partscaster I meant
 

BostonTeleGuy

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Im sure he didn't change it. If set up properly a 7.5 won't fret out on the bends so much as be just a little harder to bend but , I like a little more fight in the neck. It changes the way I play a little bit. Those Bbc clips of Page playing that Tele show him bending like crazy and absolutely wailing on it. I bet if Page picked up his Les Paul that day his phrasing would have been a little different with the shorter scale length and flatter radius.
 

Spooky88

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Once I went to a 10-16” compound radius I built all my guitars around that neck radius including my Les Paul parts guitars. I don’t use any manufacturers guitars live.
 

MrJazzedBlues

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This new stairway to heaven thread got me thinking about pages tele that he played it on. Do u guys think some of these classic rockers actually flattened the radius a bit on these beloved teles?im sure some of them did,but let me know if any well known ones out there . I have a 63 reissue with that particular radius on it and it is a little touchy with big full step bends . But I’m used to it. I’m assuming he left it stock . Yes I probably will look it up now- but now that I’m here , let me in on your knowledge

I don't know if any known guitarist flattened the neck. Personally I prefer the 7.25 radius which I have on My MIJ Tele. To overcome the problem when bending strings is solved by filing down some of the frets from 15 (I think) and below. Had a luthier to do that.Works great.
 

Tele Plucker

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This new stairway to heaven thread got me thinking about pages tele that he played it on. Do u guys think some of these classic rockers actually flattened the radius a bit on these beloved teles?im sure some of them did,but let me know if any well known ones out there . I have a 63 reissue with that particular radius on it and it is a little touchy with big full step bends . But I’m used to it. I’m assuming he left it stock . Yes I probably will look it up now- but now that I’m here , let me in on your knowledge

I can’t speak for what Page did, but if you look at many of the vintage dealers sites on line you will often see Telelcasters that came with a 7.25 radius fretboard that have been flattened to some degree.

The dealers have come up with a new category for damaged and modified guitars. It’s called “player grade”, and you will see a significant reduction in value.

So many vintage guitars have been ruined IMHO and there’s no rewind for that. Proceed with caution.
 

Tele Plucker

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I would consider this to be the roundest fret board radius I could use. I really don't understand how anyone is getting huge bends like David Gilmour or many blues guitarists get on a guitar with a straight 7.25" radius. I've played quite a few because I've always wanted to have one in my stable as an example of vintage '50s Fender builds but I've never found one that can handle extremely wide bends pushing / pulling the outer fret board edge strings onto the the higher middle of the radius. This is especially true at or above the 15th fret. I've found a few examples that could handle a half or whole step bend but anything greater than that would tend to fret out. A 9.5" radius allows for these bends. My own personal preference is a 10.5" radius that allows me to do whatever I want, never fret out and retain a higher comfort level than the Gibson 12" or higher.

I had been pretty much a weekend player when I was an active player, with an original 1964 Stratocaster and didn’t have issues bending at all.

That said, I have a younger brother that played for years in a traveling band. During a recent conversation I brought up the bending issue. I use 10s while he uses 9s with flatter radii. We both have a different approach to bending.

Depending on the task at hand, I will vary from using I finger (ring) to 2 or 3 fingers depending on the nuance needed in playing the bend. This really works great with whatever control is needed for the bend.

My avi and another partscaster I built are both 7.25 and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

That’s just my method. Something to consider?
 

monkeybanana

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I firmly believe that the majority of these guitars that were owned and used as first calls by serious working players were flattened out. It’s well documented that SRV’s “#1” is around a 10”, as is Bonnie Raitt’s main axe. Clapton’s were flattened some. Many others were as well.

I’m not gonna say they all did it on purpose. I think a lot of it was the result of continuous re-frets and levels, etc. Although I’m sure some of it was done on purpose. Players telling their techs “I want it to do this. Make it do this.” And the tech figuring it out.

There are however, ways to make a 7.25 work perfectly fine. But it’s labor intensive, and therefore expensive, and pretty much nobody takes the time.

I recently bought a PRS Silver Sky. This guitar positively defies everything I ever knew about a 7.25” radiused neck. It does things I never thought possible. Paul says it’s always been doable, but people don’t want to spend the time or the money to make it happen. After playing this guitar for a month, I believe him.

I set it up with very nearly zero relief, and the action at the 12th fret is the barest hair under 1.5 mm on the high E, and just under 2mm on the low E. It plays like a dream and doesn’t fret out or choke anywhere on the neck, no matter how far I bend, and I am not a gentle player. I beat on this thing. It’s doable. I now know that. But nobody else I’m aware of does it like that from the factory.

I read Eric Johnson too? I agree that it was probably more common than we think. Pre internet players were just as fussy as we are.
 

cruiser32

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I've had my 72 tele since new. Back then we didn't know about radius differences, just that Gibsons were typically wider necks ( save for a SG special). More specifically, were the different sounds from single and humbucker pickups and depending on what and who you covered, you needed a certain guitar. I played all the old Jimmy page stuff, the bends took some finger power but it was what it was. I discovered that bends were easier on a les paul, than a tele, but also if you wanted a clear clean sound, you needed a Fender. Now in hindsight, using more modern guitars, most of which were Gibsons, I started going back over those old songs and found them to take less effort with the flatter fret board. I went back to the tele and found that it was harder for a while, but still doable. For me I also realized that I had the action set extremely low compared to my Gibsons and even my Strat. Raising it up drastically (to new guitar levels) improved bends and not being interfered with on the other strings. It did make other things harder, when not doing a straight lead. This is really no different than needing different amp settings and even different pedal settings to play the same song with a different guitar, if you want it to sound like the original.

Just my 2 cents :)
 

boris bubbanov

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I'd say yes, it was common enough to flatten the board a little during a refret, and a tech would also sometimes flatten the upper frets a little for a picky player to create a slight compound radius which almost totally eliminates fretting out.
Techs that did this were not hobby chatting on social media though, they learned and honed skills including tricks we may not have known about.

Very well said.

There's techs who massage the fretwork a little bit, as per their customer's needs. But why "Stairway" sounds as it does, IMO has essentially nothing to do with whatever functioning radius this guitar had at the time of the recording. This is mostly about setup, and the player, and not "specifications" as we understand this term today.
 

GRAVITY-LHP

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It's tough to have low action without high E string bends choking out in the upper frets. I always have to add some fall away. The 7.25"-9.5" compound radius is perfect to me.

I thought so too until I got a PRS Silver Sky. The bends are effortless… no fretting out at all. I guess it’s in the set up and fret work. The radius feels noticeable from my 9.5 and 10 fenders. And it feels particularly good!
 

NGS Guitars

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7.5 ain’t gonna bend far no matter how well it’s set up. But they are just so sweet to play. Flattened out fender necks are fit for unblocking drains.
 

old wrench

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I'll bet most of folks who have such "problems" with 7-1/4" radius necks have never even played one :)

And the rest of them probably haven't played a 7-1/4" guitar that was set up properly ;)

It's just like saying that all the good music, including the bends, that's been played on 7-1/4" necks never happened.

History is a real thing, and they still build 7-1/4" radius necks ;)


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moosie

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I'll bet most of folks who have such "problems" with 7-1/4" radius necks have never even played one :)

And the rest of them probably haven't played a 7-1/4" guitar that was set up properly ;)

It's just like saying that all the good music, including the bends, that's been played on 7-1/4" necks never happened.

History is a real thing, and they still build 7-1/4" radius necks ;)


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Internet forums are the source of much certainty. :lol:
 




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