Guitar Neck Radius Preferences

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Tele Plucker, Jan 26, 2020.

  1. Tele Plucker

    Tele Plucker Tele-Meister

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    I have been itching to get the “players” perspective on the radius they prefer.

    I play Fender, Gibson and Martin guitars. The Gibson and Martin radii are flatter than Fender, and for electrics I prefer 7.25 on my Fender’s.

    It seems that in the mid 70s Fender began to use the 9.5, and now they are all over the map regarding radii. So many younger players complain that bending strings is too hard on the 7.5 radius all the while finding the old music so wonderful. Gees, how were the likes of Beck, Clapton, Page et al able to persevere the Fender guitars they played so well.

    Of course I’m biased toward the 7.5 radius, and in one YouTube interview with Robben Ford, he talks about how he likes a little fight in his playing.....it makes him work harder and he achieves more.

    That is my feeling as well. You all give us your take on the subject.
     
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  2. stratoman1

    stratoman1 Friend of Leo's

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    My guitars are all either 9.5 or 12. I'm good with that range. I like Robben but we'd have to agree to disagree about wrangling with a guitar
     
  3. Fretting out

    Fretting out Friend of Leo's

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    I like and prefer a 7.25 radius on my guitars
    Maybe because I’m mostly a rhythm? Player although when playing leads I’ve never had strings choke out
    I think a lot of the 7.25 bending (myth) comes from improperly set up instruments and people trying to get impossibly low action (no you won’t get 2/64s on the low E)
     
  4. Obelisk

    Obelisk Tele-Afflicted

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    I will play about any radius though I get why others have preferences. I use heavy strings that don't ride close to the fretboard, so I have never had too many problems fretting out during a string bend. Most of my guitars have the 7.25, but I have a couple of necks with compound radius & a few with 12 inch. I do prefer the sound of the 25.5 scaling over the 24.75 scaling. I have never used a Feiten style zero nut adjustment to see if I preferred its sound & feel.
     
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  5. Vibrolux59

    Vibrolux59 Tele-Meister

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    I'm with you on the 7 1/4 as far as playing chords especially with a neck that really fits your hand comfortably. It becomes almost effortless. I have a mix of mostly 7 1/4" and a few 9 1/2" fretboards amongst my Teles and Strats. But I do cheat a compound radius into the frets on the ones I play all the time. Just enough to get full step bends without fretting out and I still have moderately high action, enough to get my finger under the string. I hate the way I play on low action guitars and completely agree with having to work for it. Better dynamics I think too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
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  6. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

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    I can deal with 7.25, 9.5, or 12, any flatter and I don't really like it, but I prefer 9.5.
     
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  7. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    They all seem the same to me.
    As long as the guitar has nice medium jumbo frets and is really well set up the REAL differences are too minor to matter.
    Before the "internets" nobody cared about or even KNEW the guitar radius of his guitar.
     
  8. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    I like 7.25” radius. I don’t often go around bending high on the neck, and when I do, it’s certainly not more than a step...and compared to most people, I keep my strings high off the board. Result? Zero problems with the curvy board, and a lot more playing comfort over all.

    I’d love to try a 6” or 5” radius, but it’d have to be custom made.

    Also, for me, the skinnier the frets, the better. The width of classic 6230s is great, but I could go even skinnier (and taller).
     
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  9. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I had a tele with 7.25" and I never noticed really.

    I'm good with 9.5 or 12". I have one neck with a 10-16" compound radius, and that flat part seems mighty flat, but I guess my playing is not such that FB radius becomes a significant factor in performance...many other more limiting factors...
     
  10. Thanasis

    Thanasis TDPRI Member

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    I have 9.5 on my telecaster. I'm used to playing on flatter fretboards coming from Gibson but i must say that after a minor setup adjustment, I've had no trouble at all adjusting to the 9.5. Which makes me think that there's probably no reason why i wouldn't be able to adjust playing on a 7.25.
     
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  11. Cesspit

    Cesspit Tele-Holic

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    No preference I play it as it comes. I've a Tele, Strat and a Les Paul, all different, all great.
     
  12. WingedWords

    WingedWords Tele-Afflicted

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    No preference as long as I like it (if that makes sense).
     
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  13. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    I prefer 7¼" and vintage frets on a chunky soft V neck, but I play everything from mandolin to bass, so I just get on with it.
     
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  14. nathanteal

    nathanteal Tele-Holic

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    The radius generally is less of n issue for me, rather fret size. I'll play 7.25" no problem, but I hate the tiny vintage frets that generally come on them. So 9.5" or up with a 6150 or 6105 (.047" high, tops) fret is my preference. But I don't mind some 6105s on a 7.25" radius.
     
  15. howdy-doo

    howdy-doo TDPRI Member

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    I used to think my favourite was 7.25, but currently I have basically two number one guitars I just can't pick between. One is 7.25 and the other 12. I really thought I'd find one more comfortable than the other as I play mostly thumb over the top style, but honestly whilst I'm playing I don't really notice the difference. They both play and sound great so it's all the same to me
     
  16. Matthias

    Matthias Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I have two at 7.25”, four at 9.5” and one at 12”. The comfort is all the elements of the neck working together. I find a C shape with 7.25” easier to play than a U shape. 12” on a narrow, skinny neck feels better to me than a chunky neck.

    Our hands and fingers are all made differently. The sure thing is all guitars need a good set up, to the player’s style, to get the most out of them.
     
  17. raysachs

    raysachs Friend of Leo's

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    On Fender or Fender like necks I like 7.25” and 9.5“ about equally. I have yet to play a 12” I could even stand let alone like. Kinda weird, because I like 12” Gibson type necks just fine. Paul Reed Smith claims that the classic old Gibson necks that were listed as 12” were actually 10” which is why that’s basically a go to dimension on most PRS guitars, so maybe that’s why I’m ok with those necks? Then again, I’ve had a few Ibanez guitars with a listed 12” radius that I loved, and I’m guessing they’re pretty accurate with their numbers. So who knows? But on Fenders, 9.5 or 7.25...
     
  18. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I like the standard 9-12 inch radii.

    The 7.25 inch radius had basically flamed out on forums up until Mayer kept going on and on about his early 60s Fender and PRS made their S-copy to match Mayer's whims. Now the fretboard radius argument is running strong again.

    The old complaints by many players prior to Mayer's market entry was the smaller radius choked out on big string bends. Same with the push to 12 and 16 in radii by the shredder folks as they wanted to avoid strings choking out.

    Fretboard radius has seemed to become fashonable. Just like fanned frets, fretless, baritone, and guitars with more than six strings spent a season or two being fashionable. After everyone tried a guitar with whatever gimick feature was being promoted in magazines/forums/youtube/NAMM then players went back to what is simple and works for most players.

    If you have an accurate drawing/CAD program and overlay the 7.25, 9.5, 10, 12, 16 inch diameter circles at the width of a fretboard ... you'll see a huge change in arc from 7.25 to 9.5 but beyond that point you will be challenged to see much of a change.

    .
     
  19. RottenTheCat

    RottenTheCat Tele-Holic

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    The Warmoth compound, or straight 9.5
     
  20. Unionjack515

    Unionjack515 Tele-Holic

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    Some number of strings between four and six (inclusive) and stays in tune and I’m good. Haven’t tried a fretboard radius I can’t get along with, haven’t found a neck profile I can’t get along with.
     
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