Is a flat radius fretboard harder to play?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Mike_LA, Dec 6, 2019.

Does a flatter fret board take more finger strength?

  1. Yes

    14.3%
  2. No

    71.4%
  3. Maybe

    14.3%
  1. Mike_LA

    Mike_LA Tele-Afflicted

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    Greetings Guys,

    I have a Crate strat that I got super cheap at Goodwill and I leave at work. Well, I was jamming with a buddy with it and after about 15mins of playing chords my hand got tired. Doesn't really happen when I'm playing my Parker. My buddy said he thought the guitar was hard to play as well and his thought was due to it's pretty much flat radius. It also has a fatter neck than my Parkers . . .

    Does a flatter fret board take more finger strength?
     
  2. vid1900

    vid1900 Tele-Meister

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    If the neck is fatter, you may have to adjust your strap for a more ergonomic angle.

    I've got a Triple Tele with that thickass neck - it has it's own strap.
     
  3. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I suspect it has more to do with the neck thickness and profile than the radius. I may mix in one or more of 7.25", 9.5", 12" & 14" radius guitars over the course of a couple hours and that doesn't seem to have any bearing on hand tiredness. However, if I play a skinny neck my hand will start to cramp in 10-15 minutes. Others may find something different because I have some hand issues from old injuries and probably arthritis too.
     
  4. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The guitar has it's own special strap ? That's interesting. Are they only available through Fender...proprietary ?
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
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  5. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Depends on what and how you play. Bending is easier on a FLATTER fretboard, and action can be lower. Rounder fretboards are more conducive for bar chording. Shredders like flatter fretboardss Each has its merits, and its drawbacks.
     
  6. RoarDog

    RoarDog Tele-Meister

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    From my experience I have an easier time chording with flatter fretboards and easier time with single lines with a radius. For me a compound radius would be ideal.
     
  7. GeneB

    GeneB TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    Barr chords for me are easier to play on a fretboard with a more rounded radius.
     
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  8. vid1900

    vid1900 Tele-Meister

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    The OP said the guitar also had a fatter neck.

    LOL

     
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  9. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Tele-Afflicted

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    As far as fingerboard radii, it's really just a matter of getting used it. But your preferrence for the overall neck profile is a personal choice. We all have out preferrences.
     
  10. JDB2

    JDB2 Tele-Meister

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    I may be in the minority but I find everything--open chords, barre chords, single lines-- much more comfortable on a rounder fretboard (like 7.5" on my G&Ls) than on a flatter fretboard. I sold my 12" radius guitars as a result. I've gotten used to having a little higher action and my bends don't choke out. I find the higher action helps make bending more controllable anyway.

    I think I'm really in the minority because I really like a narrow, flat neck profile too. Particularly in conjunction with a round radius. With all the love for fat necks around here I wonder if I'm the last skinny neck holdout.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
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  11. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Classical guitar fretboards are completely (or nearly) flat. How do kids do it?!

    [​IMG]

    And the standard scale length is 26"
     
  12. NewKid

    NewKid Tele-Holic

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    Not for me but maybe for you.

    The good news is that you don’t have to play with an uncomfortable fretboard radius or neck profile.
     
  13. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I play classical in addition to other guitars. The flat, wide fretboard doesn't bother me, but I can see how when playing bar chords you can have a bit more natural curve in your
    barring finger if the fretboard has a bit of curve to it. Of course, it's a bit easier to push down on nylon strings.

    I think it could be more of an issue for higher tension steel
    strings such as on an acoustic steel string guitar or an electric strung with heavy gauge strings. But on an electric outfitted with 9s or 10s and normal action I don't see it
    as being much of a challenge for experienced guitar players to bar a chord even with a flat radius. But a bit of radius might make it a tad more ergonomic (comfortable).
     
  14. Mike_LA

    Mike_LA Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm beginning to see a trend,

    Radius to your taste. I prefer some radius over flat for my playing.

    Neck thickness change means slightly different muscle usage, easier to fatigue. . . . . .
     
  15. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    heck no & 12 to 16 is great
     
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  16. John E

    John E Tele-Afflicted

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    It's a combination of things not least of which is how the guitar is setup specific to all of the traits you mentioned. That said for me it seems more down to fret size. On itty bitty frets I seem to press harder and my hand gets tired. This is after much (MUCH) trial and error. And it's a general rule so there are always exceptions (See first sentence... lol)

    For the most part though, I always feel like I am in a wrestling match with a guitar with small (low and narrow) fret heights.
     
  17. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Classical is how I began. I was 10. The fretboard is completely flat with a 2+ inch nut.

    I didn't think about it. Still don't. It is what it is
     
  18. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    For me it is. Uncomfortable. For you maybe not. I can live 12" radius, I cant do Martins.
     
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  19. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't believe it is harder to play.
     
  20. Antmax

    Antmax Tele-Meister

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    rounder fretboard follows the natural curve of your finger so it's easier to d barre chords. Flatter is easier for bends since the curve of the frets won't intersect the lines the string makes as it slides over the curved frets.

    People that play REALLY fast tend to prefer big frets and flat fingerboards on thin necks. The tall frets make it easier to fret strings with less pressure. I personally prefer chunkier necks, thing necks tend to cause fatigue in my largish palmed hands and eventually get a bit of cramping ache develop if I play long fast pieces for too long. My RG shred guitar mostly hangs in a PRS gigbag in the spare closet because of it.
     
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