Dumb question about neck radius

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by GGardner, Feb 6, 2021.

  1. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Afflicted

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    Personally I prefer 7.25 and 9.5 over 12+. I have played them all. I prefer to have some curve to them. My Ibanez Jet King II is the only electric guitar I have that has a radius flatter than 9.5, and it's the only one I have ever played that I like that is that flat. But, as I am sure you know, everybody is different.
     
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  2. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

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    -- What difference does the neck radius make if the strings can be individually adjusted? In other words, i could conceivably adjust the strings so that they don't follow the contour of the neck, right? So why so much emphasis on different radiuses? Or is the assumption that I'm going to lower each string as far down as I can w/o buzzing so the strings will end up following the contour?[/QUOTE]

    the radius affects how much one can bend a string before it chokes.
    the radius of the string slots mirrors/be the same as the radius of the saddle-they both should be the same.
    the radius affects the over all feel via the fret fingers and the fret hand grip when applied.
    the string height are governed by the string slot final depth and the final saddle height.
    one should/does not adjust the relief to adjust for the string height.=incorrect procedure.
    one should adjust the relief to specifically adjust the curvature of the neck.
    an incorrect adjustment for the relief can be the cause for fret buzz.
    unlevel fret height will cause fret buzz regardless of string height preferences.
    unlevel fret height can only be resolved by levelling the frets, to avoid fret buzz.=but frets will/do wear down eventually.
    one shouldn't level 1 fret in isolation, but level all the frets to eradicate fret buzz.[one could leave uneven fret height just because]
    one can only l and c frets a few times before. .a re fret considered.
    one should lower the string slot depths too after l and c' ng procedure completed.[compensates for loss of original fret height]
    all newly installed frets should be l and c' e d to eradicate fret buzz occurring-one should not assume frets are level[from the factory or other wise etc ]-assess them to be level ,rectify if not etc.
     
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  3. JL_LI

    JL_LI Poster Extraordinaire

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    Neck setup is an iterative process that has little to do with fretboard radius. The first thing I do with each guitar is check the depth of the slots in the nut. Anything else is pointless if the strings are too high over the frets at that end. The nut slots must match the fretboard radius. I set relief for about a business card thickness separation between the low E string and the 12th fret and wait a day. I check the next day. If the separation is down to as low as a playing card thickness I proceed. I set action from the 15th to 22nd frets low but not low enough to buzz either at the saddles or ends of the bridge. Next, I check action for first position chords making sure that the strings aren’t too high and checking that I don’t mute the high E string while fretting on the B string. I reduce relief if possible and test again. I then tune the saddles or shift a floating bridge for the best intonation.

    I leave the guitar out in its playing environment over night and check again, making tiny adjustments as necessary. The only time fretboard radius plays a part is if a fixed bridge radius doesn’t match the fretboard radius. It’s rarely off by more than what a small height adjustment at either end will ameliorate. Where I live, indoor humidity changes make it necessary to do this in early winter and again in early to mid summer. It’s also necessary with a change in string gauge or type. For most of what I play, a nearly flat neck works best. I’m not a strummer. I don’t even have a pickguard on my acoustic.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2021
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  4. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    You CAN ignore matching the radius. It's just another variable for your "muscle memory" to adjust to though. My low E is always higher than the high E by quite a bit. So I guess I have the radius matched but tilted! higher low E string setting eliminates some string rattle when playing the boogie/chord thing.
    I have noticed that playing different fretboards/string radius from flat to 9.5 " causes some missed, or clumsy, picking at times.
     
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  5. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

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    a thicker diameter string oscillates with a wider arc.. than a lesser diameter string.=eg; lowest e/6th string will be adjusted to be left fractionally higher compared to the higher pitched e/1st string. even though all the 6 strings follow a radius...
    if all the 6 strings where left at the same height...[no radius]...when the 6th string plucked it would buzz[contact the fret top/s] first=widest oscillation]....before the next 5th string would, and it would buzz etc=differing oscillations occurring ....
    which is why the radius for the 6 strings is left slightly offset...to the fret board ,its radius.
     
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  6. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

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    the fret board radius is a personal choice...but can be problematic for some when playing solo notes etc. a flatter radius avoids choking and can allow for a much lower string height over all.
     
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  7. ScribbleSomething

    ScribbleSomething Tele-Holic

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    I set my strings up a little flatter than the board of the bridge allows. This makes the high stings a little higher on rounder boards. Which also makes bending a little easier. I don’t play super fast or anything but fast enough.

    For me rounder boards are slightly easier to do stretchy fancy chords.

    For intonation I try to be accurate on the 12th and the 17th. I have had to lower the thicker 2 strings below dead flat to the intonation closer. Then it becomes a balancing act between low E thump-buzz and note accuracy.

    it’s all balance and preference.

    Also tall narrow frets are great for bending on a rounder board.
     
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  8. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

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    the lower the string height the more accurate the intonation of the strings can be adjusted for/will be.=less string travel distance.,[less stretching of the string etc.]
     
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  9. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

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    fretting the string etc some prefer more fret finger pad contact with the fret board itself, others prefer less...its a feel thing. thus fret height preferences can/may differ here just because. all contribute /combine / steers towards the final action preference.=the uniqueness of the player has to be considered.
     
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  10. PhoenixBill

    PhoenixBill Tele-Meister

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    There’s absolutely no law saying the strings must match the fretboard radius. In fact, some guitars leave the factory with bridges that don’t exactly match the fretboard radius. Some guitars deliberately have a compound fretboard radius: it might be 12” at one area and 16” at another. So obviously the bridge saddle height (and string height) isn’t going to follow that perfectly!

    There’s no need to worry about —how was it worded, “intonation clash” if strings are not exactly perfectly even in height. Once the string is set to the height desired, the saddle is adjusted to get proper intonation for that particular string. Then action at the nut might be adjusted, saddle height re-adjusted, and intonation re-adjusted for that string. So certainly intonation for every string should theoretically wind up being exactly perfect at the 12th fret.

    But what about intonation at strings in between? In the practical world, it doesn’t matter. The location of the frets is in reality a compromise. Different string gauges and string height does have an effect in the theoretical world, but in the practical world...we’re dealing with an imperfect tuning system anyway—read up on “equal temperament” and note that we can have an instrument that’s perfectly theoretically in tune for a particular key, say the key of C, but if you play another scale on that instrument, say G, it’s going to sound way off. So tuning was adjusted to try to get instruments to sound ok across all keys and guitars follow that pattern. Hence frets are located to match a compromise. Changing string height or string gauge isn’t going to matter at all on the notes in between, in the practical world.

    We have audio proof of this with tons of recordings that sound great even though those instruments are well known to not be capable of perfect intonation. Teles with 3-saddle bridges, for example, or acoustic guitars with single fixed saddles, or guitars with simple bar bridges.
     
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  11. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    That, and also... you fret on the neck, not up in the air somewhere. Your fingers need to touch the board. The tight radius is more comfortable for the human hand when making chord shapes, especially lower on the neck.

    Go ahead, set the strings to some other radius, but you still don't want them farther from the board than necessary. Otherwise you need to pull the string down to fret a note. It's slower, harder to play, and all your notes will go sharp.


    I routinely play 7.25, and set my saddles to 5/64 on the bass side, down to 4/64 on the treble side, gradually lowering each saddle a bit more along the way. So, my strings are at some asymmetrical arc, a bit shifted from the reference board. I think this is pretty typical. You can do it even easier on non-Fenders with two-point saddles - Gibson, Gretsch, etc. Just set each post where you want, and the height of the D and G are somewhere in the middle between the bass and treble heights. Automatically.


    One thing you definitely don't need for guitar setups is a set of radius gauges. The only time I use a radius gauge, or block, is when I'm MAKING the radius. Either making a board, or purposely filing a different radius on the fret tops than is on the board itself. Though that last scenario is usually more of a 'by feel' thing. Start with known radius, and make it a bit flatter up the neck to compound the radius. No need to measure. It doesn't matter if it's 9.25 or 9.67.

    You don't need a gauge when setting action because if you set the string height above a given fret, then the radius forms itself.
     
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  12. Fuelish

    Fuelish Tele-Afflicted

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    I’ve never measured stuff... roughly “eyeball” the strings to board radius, and adjust bridge/saddle height from there, going by feel as much as anything... works for my amateur arse, but... you probably don’t want me setting upr YOUR guitar. There’s the basics, and then there’s what just feels right to you on top of that. I’ve got a guitar or two with 12” , a few with 9.5”, and one 7.25”, am comfortable playing all of them... they’re “different,” but that different... rotate through them regularly, it all feels normal - you know what guitar you’re playing, you know how it’s gonna feel
     
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  13. Mr Green Genes

    Mr Green Genes Tele-Afflicted

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    Hemingway is right.
     
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  14. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    You are correct- when performing a setup radius is just a number, and it usually represents a player's preference of how the fretboard feels.

    I use an under-string radius gauge every setup I do on a guitar with individually adjustable saddles. I set the low and high E strings to their respective preferred heights and then I use the appropriate radius gauge to adjust the other four strings so the strings match the radius of the fretboard.

     
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  15. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Holic

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    Assuming it's a metric bridge then 1.5mm should be the allen key size. If it was MIA/Imperial the required size would be 0.05" (1.27mm).
     
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  16. gip111

    gip111 Tele-Meister

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    Doesn’t have to be complicated, I would lower the strings individually till almost the buzzing point, play the guitar and see how it sounds to your liking, from there on you can do slight adjustments if needed.
     
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  17. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

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    personal preference-optional-using a specific tool for precision and accuracy,....under/over string radius...or a radius gauge etc is better than applied guesswork etc just because.it only takes secs to complete for 'uniformity'
    one can still measure and set by eye and feel too etc.
     
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  18. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

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    the same can be said for reading the frets for level etc .[1]a straight edge ruler laid on the fret tops reads just the fret tops.[2]a notched ruler eliminates the frets and takes its reading from ..the fret board itself.
    one could say the results would both be the same but-the notched ruler reads just the fret board. frets are embedded into.. the fret board. if the fret board [the neck all inclusive] has a eg; back bow/upbow, [it deviates from being 'straight'.]the notched ruler informs me with its precision.

    if there is any deviation traced ..the fret tops move accordingly since they are embedded into the fb.=all the parts move.. the neck, fb, the frets etc. thus when i wish to assess the neck, the frets etc i use the notched ruler., for assessing the neck overall for being straight or not etc.
    the frets in isolation -the straight edge etc. the fret rocker too.

    many dismiss the notched ruler as being 'un necessary' but i have found the straight edge gives' x' result and the notched result maybe 'y'-a subtle difference., but a difference found no less.

    this is important to me since.. the neck must be perfectly straight[or made to be so ] before a levelling beam used etc=l and c'ng the frets etc.
    each to his own method and use of particular tools etc.
     
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  19. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Friend of Leo's

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    Actually, if you really put your mind, and a heavy hand, into it, you can screw things up badly. Been there, done that. Long ago.
     
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  20. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

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    in the end.. its a personal preference if one uses under string radius like [[gregulater 450] or simply 'eyeballing' like fuelish- the end result satisfies etc.
    i use under/over string radius too.. just because...its there.
     
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