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This thing with Radius - is there anyone that feels it is really more comfortable?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by MatsEriksson, Dec 28, 2020.

  1. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The only examples I can bring up from memory would be the two LPs.
    I must have played a hundred before buying a beat to hell modded '71 Deluxe for $700.
    I don't even like LPs but I thought I oughtta have one.

    The only guitar I've found easy to play right off the rack at GC in literally a decade or more was a 20yo cheaply made Danelecto U2 with no truss rod. So i guess Korean poplar necks without truss rods are the best for me?

    The beat old LP was maybe better due to old wood?
    Or the bigger frets and filed off nibs?

    I think there might be a connection between buying a guitar from a player who took care of it and plays kinda like me, as opposed to buying it from an apathetic shop or owner, or maybe from a player who thinks excessive relief and high action sounds SRV?

    A friend wanted to trade his Gibson fat body for my Hagstom fat body.
    But he had a flat wound .013 set on it.
    I asked him to let me set it up with my string preference for a test because i could not get any clue of how it played or sounded with that setup. He refused and we didn't trade but he still wanted my guitar!
     
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  2. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    The fine line and purely semantic/academic difference between a compound radius and a conic radius, is the difference in the very last fret only. On a conical shaped radius, the last fret is still curved somewhat. On compound radius, the last fret doesn't have any radius at all, and is dead flat. Not of any practical significance though. Only to keep in mind, should you go into filing down the frets sometime in the future with a block...
     
  3. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Tele-Meister

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    I own everything from Vintage Fender radius, to totally flat.. and they are all completely comfortable to me. I don't know if I'd even have really noticed a difference, if not for me learning about fretboard radii.

    as long as the nut is cut properly, and the frets are level, I can handle it. I have never played a Strat/Tele with a 12" radius, but I think I'd like it.
     
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  4. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    Skärmavbild 2020-12-28 kl. 23.05.52.png

    straight
     
  5. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    Makes no difference to me, has more to do with overall surface area. the chunkier the neck, the smaller I want the nut width and radius, and vice versa. In general I don’t like too wide of a nut width though.
     
  6. hepular

    hepular Tele-Holic

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  7. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Poster Extraordinaire

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    Curvy boards came along with narrower fretboards. They came about as guitar moved into primarily being a rhythm section instrument. A curvier board gives you an effectively wider fretboard, giving your fingers more space to "get in there" for three and four finger parts on narrow fretboards. Flatter and wider boards tend to be more suited to the guitar in a melodic role, in which you are very often not fingering and/or plucking any more than two or three notes at once. Narrower and curvier boards tend to make 20th century style 4–6 string rhythm playing more comfortable.

    I don't like flat boards. They feel cramped and stiff. But I can deal with them if I have too. It helps if they have wide fretboards...and tiny frets, or at least low ones. For me, the more curve, the better...but if it has to be a flatter board, please also make it a wider nut. Flat boards on Fender nut widths are really an abomination to me. But add just a little more string spacing, like with a 1 11/16" or 1 3/4" nut, and they become worlds easier to play on. And, like I have already said, tiny frets helps a lot as well.

    I am primarily an R&B and early rock-n-roll based guitarist, and I mainly play rhythm or R&B style rhythm/melody mixing. My ideal fretboard would have an even smaller radius than 7 1/4", and small, low frets. Maybe something like a 5" to 7 1/4" compound radius would be the ticket for me, in an ideal world.

    All that being said, I have two G&Ls with 12" radius, wide and tall frets, and typical Fender 1 5/8" nut widths. I really don't like the way they play, but there are other highly redeeming qualities of these two guitars. So I tolerate the necks. Some day, they will get fret jobs, and I'll have some curve added to the boards, and install some smaller frets, at that point.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2020
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  8. tamer_of_banthas

    tamer_of_banthas Tele-Holic

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    i cannot feel the difference between 7.25 and 9.5. i imagine someone like yngwie malmsteem might be able to, but for the majority of folks posting on this forum - no way.

    i have never owned a 9.5 inch radiused FMIC that did not fret out at one point or another in its life above the 14th fret.
     
  9. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Ok...
    I have never met one where the last fret is flat. That would be a PITA when doing a fret level after installing them...and depending on the radius at the end, it would likely cause buzzing or fret-out when playing at the next-to-last fret.

    "Compound" became a thing due to luthiers creating conic analogues with multiple radius blocks used along the fretboard...even though the final fret-dressed product was/is a cone. I believe magazine writers coined "compound" out of sheer ignorance.

    I have experimented with a flat bridge vs a radius fretboard. The specific string height difference is very small. Assuming the nut follows the radius and with the bridge being flat, the strings lie in a transitional surface, not unlike an HVAC duct that transitions from square to round.

    These geometric surfaces are muddled with the need to adjust each string for height as a stand-alone...and the need to have relief in the neck. Even a true conic radius becomes slightly wasp-waisted once you get it up to tension with relief.
     
  10. black_doug

    black_doug Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I learned on an acoustic and now go back and forth between acoustic and electric (9.5”).

    I don’t even know the radius of my acoustic neck. It’s a Martin with a low profile neck. I couldn’t find anything on the Martin website about radius. Does anyone know?
     
  11. Alter

    Alter Tele-Meister

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    I have guitars ranging from 14 to 7.25 radius. The 7.25 is my favorite, really comfortable for my fingers. Needs medium action though i believe, which is ok for my playing.
     
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  12. Twin52

    Twin52 Tele-Meister

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    I definitely noticed a difference going from Gibson and Tom Anderson to Fender 9.5. And I personally prefer the larger flatter radius.
     
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  13. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Poster Extraordinaire

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    ...and not covering the A or E strings.

    Move it up so it does, and the curve in the finger is running into the edge of the board.
     
  14. Wallaby

    Wallaby Friend of Leo's

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    It is more comfortable.
     
  15. Varmonter

    Varmonter TDPRI Member

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    My bridge is flat therefore my strings are flat across a radius fretboard. No issues.
    .
     
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  16. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    Strict classical guitars have very wide and flat fretboards, but nylon string guitars from Martin, Taylor, and others, have fretboards that are less flat and less wide. I can deal with 7.25" necks, but I prefer 9.5", and anything over 12" I don't care for.
     
  17. Fuelish

    Fuelish Tele-Holic

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    Have several guitars with different radii (is that a word?) and they’re all pretty much easily playable to me, I notice the difference, but it’s not enough of a big deal for me to think about it. My MIM Fender Thinline has a 7.something radius, up to a 14 on one of ‘em... guess I’m adaptable enough that different guitars in whatever way (board radius, neck profile, whatever) don’t bother me, just something to adjust to on the fly... no big deal
     
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  18. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    That's definitely for me too. As I am aging, anyone who is married can attest to that the wedding ring starts to get a little too tight, you get fatter fingers, and I am more often than not "buzzing" the adjacent strings within a chord at the first few frets these days. The "Hendrix" E6 chord with "thumbover" I can just do on a flat fretboard with almost classical guitar string spacing, and at least 46 mm at the nut. The only other guitar I've managed to do this on is the Brian May Special which has 46 mm at the nut width, however, it has radius. The "Hendrix E6 chord" can be heard on the intro to "One Rainy Wish". Can't be played any other way. Full of partial barré with one finger covering two strings "inside" the chord so to speak.

    I can pull it off, on a narrower neck, but I can't lean in with the pick, I have to carress the strings faintly. As fast as I bang it, the fingers dampens the adjacent strings and an annoying "pfft" and "buzz" is heard...like a sitar sort of...
     
  19. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes, it's pluralis of radius. Latin though...but it's not radiuses. Like sports stadium, is stadia. If one should brag and strut about ones education...one plectrum two plectra. And so on.
     
  20. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I would enter that all of my electrics have radiused necks and all of them, without exception, are more comfortable & easier to fret chords on than any acoustic I have ever touched regardless of price point or brand recognition. Others may have varying experiences.
     
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