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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. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Tele-Afflicted

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    Godin's Multiac series, both steel and nylon, have very nicely radiused fingerboards, somewhere around 14", and very comfortable.
     
  2. Tark1

    Tark1 TDPRI Member

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    It is my belief that no one understands (or very few) the purpose of putting a radius on the fret board of a retted instrument. It has nothing to do with the natural curve of the fingers, but is simply a way to fit a wider fretboard onto a narrower neck. The assumption being that wide necks are uncomfortable. The fretboard is shaped into a curve, as neck width is reduced, to provide almost the same surface area as with a wider neck and a flat fretboard. Since the days of Fender 7.25 radius necks - string gauges and playing styles have changed to where a wider neck with a flatter radius may be more suitable. After all, music for the classical nylon strung instrument has developed into one of the most technically difficult to play and that instrument has a wide neck with a flat fretboard as the OP points out.
     
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  3. hepular

    hepular Tele-Holic

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    about strings in 50s: later Sumlin certainly did bend strings, but here he's mostly sliding, on what looks like an early LP???:

     
  4. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    I see whut you did there... :D

    Classical guitar players typically have a much different technique than us reg’lar folk. Maybe if I held the guitar that way, with my hand positioned that way, I would prefer no radius. I do know that as long as a neck is somewhere from 9.5 to 16 inch radius, I can play it without thinking about it. I know, because that’s the range of my guitars’ radii. I do find that flat picking and fingerstyle seem to work better on the acoustics with their larger radii, and the rockin’ works better on the electrics at the smaller end of the range. Could just be a mental thing, though. And where does that leave my 16” radius narrowish necked Danelectro? I can play it just fine, too. Well, “just fine” within my limited skill set...
     
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  5. Arfage

    Arfage Tele-Meister

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    I use mostly Musikraft necks, two 14" and one 12". I like the 12 best but it bends strings easier than it would because it has giant SS frets. The 14 feels a little unnatural, but they are starting to feel more natural.
     
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  6. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    Assuming that we never played a classical guitar. ;)
     
  7. Arfage

    Arfage Tele-Meister

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    First remember there are no straight lines or flat surfaces on the human body so there shouldn't be on something so intimate with it as a guitar neck. Yes I can rip solos on a Jackson or Ibanez but Gibsons and my Fenders with 12" are exactly the "no compromise" necks for me. I built a tele and strat with 14" radius necks that feel a little square to me and don't solo any easier. The 12" strat does have SS frets so that might figure in. So yes while a 7 1/4 radius is for collecting as far as I'm concerned, totally flat fingerboard would feel unnatural to me and it would collect as much dust in my house as the 7 1/4.
     
  8. Arfage

    Arfage Tele-Meister

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    Okay you hit on something here; classical guitar, like classical music is not supposed to be comfortable, easy or even enjoyable. Have you ever heard anyone say "I got into classical guitar because It's fun!" ? Usually your parents made you do it or you did it to escape from your parents, similar process to drugs, porn or cutting - real good company there. If you're enjoying it, you're doing it wrong. It's even work to listen to. That's why nobody wants to play it - it's a chore. Sit with your back like this, your thumb like that, your wrist this way - f**k that. I want a curvy Strat body hugging my body and the freedom to coax any sound my right hand fingers (or pick) can get from the strings that makes me feel good and grip the neck any way that strikes me at the moment. Or nice squeaky boomy bronze strings in a weird tuning. The idea that a classical guitarist, gifted as they are, can really get personally submerged in what they're doing within those musical constraints and physical challenges is crazy to me. No thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
  9. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    I is joking, of course.
     
  10. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    I thought you was be.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
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  11. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Holic

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    I believe that stating this as a universal fact instead of one players opinion is wrong. I personally found the "Broadcaster U" with a 7.25" radius to be the most comfortable electric neck I have ever played. On the other hand I also have a nearly flat Radius in my Ibanez Jet King II which also has a rather beefy profile especially for an Ibanez. I also have an American standard Tele with a 9.5," a Classical with a flat neck, at least 1 steel-string acoustic with a flat radius, and at least two with other un measured radii. I say un measured because I am too lazy to go figure them out.

    To assume that everyone cannot play a radiused neck is wrong to say the least. As far as intonation is concerned when you push down on the string breaking it over both frets you are bending and stretching the string, thus pulling the string out of tune with itself. This is an entirely normal and unavoidable situation if you intend to play any type of string instrument. I would also mention the idea that the picking arc does not change drastically based on the radius, at least not that I have noticed. I have actually found my broadcaster to be faster than the other two necks.
     
  12. percy

    percy Tele-Meister

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    I've never even heard about radius concerns until I learned how to turn on a computer
     
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  13. Addnine

    Addnine Tele-Holic

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    I have too many guitars, and I typically play two or three in a day. I have everything from 7.5" to 14". They feel different, particularly for the first minute or two after you switch, but I couldn't possibly say which is "better." I notice a LOT more difference based on what sort of string is on there, for example.

    I do play differently on the different necks, but that's a good thing. What would be the point in having mutiple guitars which sound and feel the same?

    If the question were, "If you had to have one guitar...," I'd probably pick a fairly flat neck, but that's parttly becuse if I had to have one guitar, it would probably be a PRS, as much as I'd miss all the others.
     
  14. papa32203

    papa32203 Tele-Afflicted

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    A 12" man? Quit your bragging...
     
  15. WarBeer

    WarBeer TDPRI Member

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    I've got a Danocaster...with a fret-job that has to be one of the best I've ever owned/played. I got it with a 7.25" radius and the edges heavily rolled. Not only does it play like BUTTER...but I bend the HELL out of it and it doesn't choke out...AND it came with the action set about medium/low. Prior, I kept my action around medium/high side...but this thing plays so nice that I didn't want to mess with it...lol. Now I've discovered that "for me"...the rolled edges make the biggest difference. Honestly, I can't for the life of me figure out why all guitars don't just come with rolled edges...super quick process. Because I can't imagine someone saying "man, this is just too smooth and comfortable on my hands...where are those sharp, hard edges that I love?!"

    I'll also add...that I'm the opposite with the smaller radius = chords...and larger = single notes and bends. I find that if anything, I actually catch more "holes" when I barre on the 7.25...than on 9.5+. But that's just me;) All said....I'm comfortable on both of the common fender radiuses.
     
  16. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    14" is close to 16" which is almost as flat as it can be. I really meant classical nylon strung guitars that is not of the electroacoustic kind. They are made for electric guitarists of course, that can't play anything in flat keys even...:twisted:
    Probably all this started with Gibson CEC (Cutaway Electric Classical) in 1982, and yes, no radius...
     
  17. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    yes I agree, only John Holmes was...
     
  18. Ricoblues

    Ricoblues TDPRI Member

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    I love a relative low action and I bend a lot so the old 7.5" fender radius isn't comfortable to me. I prefer the 9.5" modern radius, but in the last years, playing more acoustic and jazz guitar I'm on the 12" side. So I've modded my Tele with a 12" radius and big frets. Really happy, and amazing machine, now Is the only guitar I play.
     
  19. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    I stated from the start on that it is universal, and a personal taste and opinion, but when scrutinizing the bizarre rationale behind it, it ends up just with tradition, and people have not accepted that the music and playing styles has changed since the 50s (flatwound 012 set gauge strings). Where they didn't bend. As well as why - still - most if not all acoustic classical nylon string guitars has flat fretboards and no radius. Where it really should help with radius, since they play a lot more barre chords, and straight melodies on top without bending ever.

    Where did I state that?

    It's not that what I meant. It applies to any guitar, archtop with thick gauge strings, acoustics where you can't bend at all. The rule of 18 doesn't simply add up there.

    I have actually found my broadcaster to be faster than the other two necks.[/QUOTE]
    I belong to the sort of folks which doesn't equal faster with ergonomic or more comfortable. It has nothing to do with each other. At all.

    Oh btw, you could knock me down with a feather. I just found another one, that shows I am not alone...

    Skärmavbild 2021-01-02 kl. 13.14.56.png

    https://www.tkinstruments.com/id17.htm

    BTW, the rounded edges of any fretboard has absolutely nothing to do with radius at all.Those "bevelled" or rounded edges do exist on completely flat fingerboards too (i e nylon strung classical guitars).
     
  20. Hudman_1

    Hudman_1 TDPRI Member

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    I’ve owned everything from 7.5 to 16. To call 16 flat is not accurate. It’s flatter than 7.5 but it’s still slightly curved. The human finger’s natural curve fits both and everything in between.

    In my opinion, neck shape & profile are far more important to how a guitar feels and plays.I put radius after fret size and scale length in terms of feel and playability.
     
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