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. chulaivet1966

    chulaivet1966 Tele-Afflicted

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    I agree....I have been playing a long time.
    As a music major for two years I also took classical guitar which I had no problem with because the action and gut strings were easier in general.

    My Tele (1977 Ibanez Silver Series - see avatar) has a 'radius' but I'm not sure what it is....I only presume 7.25 was their default.
    My 1973 Guild D40 has a radius also but appears just noticeably larger (radius wise)

    So...I do find a radius neck more comfortable.

    (Ahem...if anyone really knows what my tele and acoustic radius really is feel free to educate me :))

    Back to it....
     
  2. vintagelove

    vintagelove Tele-Meister

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    I want an effortless playing guitar. The flatter the better.
     
  3. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    The shredders like jumbo frets and flatter necks, but there's plenty of guys that play super fast that don't--
    Albert Lee, Danny Gatton (rip), Vince Gill, etc.

    Fender has settled on 9.5" radius, "medium jumbo" frets, and "medium C" neck as their default setup for good reason--
    this is a good compromise that the vast majority of players can work with just fine.

    I have a range of necks including shredder flat/jumbo, classical guitar, boat neck Tele, etc. Kind of like switching from
    driving one car to another for the first few minutes, it might feel different at first but I quickly adjust to the
    different guitar and then it's all good.

    The one thing I'm not a fan of is a pronounced V neck-- such as on the lower frets of a Jimmy Vaughn
    Strat neck. I just don't like the way that V jutting out feels against my thumb. But some guys really dig that.
     
  4. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Yeah..I caught that after I posted...
     
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  5. Mosstone

    Mosstone Tele-Meister

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    I seem to be an oddball in that I find flatter radii easier to play bar chords on than a 9.5" or 7.25". It makes logical ergonomic sense that a rounder fretboard would make for more comfortable barring, but that's just not my experience. Maybe it's because the first few guitars that owned before I got hooked on Teles all had a 12 or 14" radius. I can deal with 9.5", but not 7.25", and the Teles I build have 12" radius fretboards.
     
  6. Ringo

    Ringo Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I don't know that the flatter radius is "harder" to play but as others have mentioned, on some guitars that have real flat radius fretboards, the neck profile is thin and wide, which is uncomfortable to me.
    I prefer at least medium to large C shaped necks.
    I've never played a guitar with the compound radius, which is supposed to be a good compromise.
     
  7. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't know why 12 inch radius plus is thought of to be for shredders only. I like a 12 inch radius super jumbo fret tele neck and can play nice bluesy bends and vibrato on that with no problems. The tone is the same as when using a vintage radius with tiny frets only its easier to play without having to dig to get your fingers under the strings for bends and there's no fretting out up around the 12th fret.

    If you miss hearing the tone of slight struggle in the bends then you can go up to 11's on the super jumbo neck and get it back with added beef.

    The solution to all tone and feel problems is to play more until they all sound good and feel easy to play.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
    Mr. Neutron likes this.
  8. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I like a 9.5-12 inch compound neck. Have played them, but don't own a guitar with one..all my Strats and Tele are 9.5 inch radius.
     
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