1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

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. 40flash

    40flash TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    66
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2014
    Location:
    Mesa, Arizona
    I've built 6 guitars now. The first four I used necks I've purchased. For the last two I finally obtained or made all the tools needed to build necks including a jig to do compound radius. The two necks I've built are 10-14 compound radius. I regularly switch and play them all. One of the advantages of becoming comfortable with a wide variety of neck shapes and radius' is that when I get the chance to play someone elses guitar I can adjust quickly and not be afraid to pick it up and play something. You won't need the excuse that its' not what you're used to.
     
  2. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,387
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Location:
    Sweden
    Ok. So here it comes. Especially when repairing and setup-ing Telecasters of the 7.5 variety - for others, I have noticed they came in just because of string bending choking out. So, what give. Well you must raise the action of the two outer B&E strings, and even on the low E and A string should they bend "downwards" into the middle of the fretboard. Now, these bends does different depending on their gague. Everyone knows that a 011 gauge and thicker gauge, you can keep a lower action, but you can't bend as far (without choking).

    Now, most of Telecaster players actually uses thinner than 010 gauge, and most of them I've encountered, uses 009 (including myself) gauge sets. What I've encountered is that the regular 3 part vintage bridge saddles isn't enough to raise it that high on the outermost strings, since the threads will run out on the outer hex screw so to speak. You must buy or hunt down a longer one. As fast as you put on a 010 or 011 set you don't need to raise it as high. Same at the other end with the low E&A strings. Most people will not change gagues from what they're comfortable with.

    Now, with a 9.5 or 10 or anything 2 digit radius, it's all within the extreme limits. This is mostly due to that vintage spec'd guitars wasn't made for thin slinky gauge strings. Even the Teles came with 012 and a spun third, and you didn't bend them. Now, since Tele is moreso a country guitar music where a lots of bends actually do occur, as well as double stops, yada yada, and full note bending at the 2nd fret on the G-string (hower the g-string is not prone to choking out), it's very clear that most of the times, the 7.5 radius, is a tad over the top radiused for those strings and bendings.

    Me myself feels that it feels too crowded up at the first few frets, on a 7.5 radius neck. As fast as it becomes 2 digits, 10 or 12" I feel more comofortable in playing all kinds of chords up there even barre chords. Of course, overall nut width plays a huge role as well as neck thickness, but by and large, it's the incentive, and bizarre rationale behind most peoples reasoning, that I think when all things considered, I can't help but detecting something in the same vein of "but this one goes to eleven" kind of answers from most people, to it all.

    A guitar that has 7.5 and 009 set and has been set up for not choking out, feels very weird to me, and especially in the intonation department, and truss rod relief department it makes it more trouble than it is worth. Law of diminishing returns so to speak. It almost feels like all of the guitar is set up for slide/bottleneck playing on the outermost strings. Only.

    - - - - - -

    BTW I do have thick sausage fingers too. Should be said.
     
  3. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,387
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Location:
    Sweden
    Of course, but I don't set up MY guitars for someone else to even trying them out, or do that in order for me to pick up anyone else guitar and play it. And be sure if I do, I discover the choking out when it's too late. In front of an audience maybe...those people doesn't bend as far as I do, or the reverse...
     
  4. tattypicker

    tattypicker Tele-Meister

    Age:
    48
    Posts:
    114
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2019
    Location:
    UK
    Coming from a background of playing classical, I doubt that the flat finger boards I’m used to were designed with intonation in mind. More to do with classical technique, and the emphasis on fretting fingers hitting the board at 90 degrees to allow other strings and voices to ring out. Whereas, on an amplified electric, I think there is more emphasis on muting neighbouring strings.
     
    AAT65 and lammie200 like this.
  5. vintageampz

    vintageampz Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    227
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    Location:
    Orange County and San Diego County
    Maybe the OP is a "Synth" or Robot with Square straight fingers.
     
  6. Frankentronics

    Frankentronics TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    54
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2020
    Location:
    New York City
    The way I measure the radius is with the radius gauge and a .002" feeler gauge. When I place the 9.5 radius gauge over a fret (under the strings, so the strings are firmly holding the radius gauge in place) I can insert the feeler gauge between the radius gauge and the fret, on both sides. But when I put the 7.25 radius gauge over the same fret, I can insert the feeler gauge between the fret and the radius gauge, in the center.

    This leads me to the conclusion that the fret is somewhere between 7.25 and 9.5, but closer to 9.5.

    I do agree that "Fender is quite consistent with their neck radius" but the fret radius is not 9.5. I also find a lot of frets that are not fully seated on their rosewood boards. Again, I can insert a feeler gauge between the fret and the board, in the center part of the fret. This is quite consistent but it feels to me that the board is 9.5 while the frets are less than 9.5.

    I've called Fender about that but I was unable to resolve the issue in any meaningful way.
     
  7. Frankentronics

    Frankentronics TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    54
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2020
    Location:
    New York City
    I sure thank you for taking the time to explain these details, and images.

    It is actually along the lines of what I thought you might have hinted at in your initial post, but I didn't think about all those details at that time.

    Again, thank you for your thorough post. I've learned some new things from it and your explanation was very interesting to read through.
     
  8. BerkshireDuncan

    BerkshireDuncan Tele-Meister

    Age:
    58
    Posts:
    275
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2020
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    Gotta disagree on #2
    A little radius makes barre chords MORE comfortable and playable- especially over a long session.
     
  9. Danny B.

    Danny B. TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    83
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2013
    Location:
    portland or
    I find that I pretty much adapt to each different guitar I play. It seems that every guitar has its own desire to be played a certain way, which is awesome. I almost purchased one of the Washburn Bettencourt (sp?) guitars because I really loved the flat fingerboard. The guitar was totally not my style, designed for the billion notes per minute players, but I really liked the flat fretboard. I play a lot of classical guitars (couldn’t play classical music to save my life though) and actually prefer their wide string spacing and flat necks. Can’t really define why, just do.
     
    Reivaj likes this.
  10. Reivaj

    Reivaj TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    63
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Location:
    Madrid Spain
    You are essentially right.

    The only thing I can think a rounder radius might be better suited is wrapping the thumb over the 6th string.
     
  11. Reivaj

    Reivaj TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    63
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Location:
    Madrid Spain
    What do you mean by saying your fingers are flat? Are they arched when you straighten them? Anyway what does it have to do with the radius or flatness of a fretboard??
     
  12. Reivaj

    Reivaj TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    63
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Location:
    Madrid Spain
    Acoustics usually have far larger string gauge than electrics.
    My experience is that with Gibson electrics I have to be careful not to fret the strings to hard because otherwise I bend them sharp. That’s because the shorter scale and already fat sound lend most people to using light strings; I’m yet to see the same in a classical/Spanish guitar.
     
  13. Mr Ridesglide

    Mr Ridesglide Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,152
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2009
    Location:
    Bloomington, MN
    eh - no matter what we all must probably have liked playing telecasters. Most of the ones we play are 7.25" is my best guess. Set them up the way we like them individually and if they sound like the telecaster you want, you'll be able to do what you wish with them. Bend, barre, hammer on, hammer off, vibrato, you can do it with your setup.
    I like the 7.25" myself. My flatter electrics - ES, LP's they don't get nearly as much show time.
    Now this acoustic thing has me piqued.
     
  14. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    13,595
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Thanks for all the technical considerations. There are many factors to be considered. But I also wonder about the thought that one size must fit all? I think that it takes all kinds.

    There are so many styles and different types of music to be played. I like the 7.25 ok, but I get along with 9.5 and flatter radius fretboards as well. Learned on a classic guitar, aircraft carrier flat. Played only on a relatively flat SG for years. All my teles are 9.5; one strat is 7.25.

    On the bending technique, I find that I learned to adapt - to do more horizontal pushing, and that helped avoid choking out. But I am just as likely to slide as bend - it's a stylistic choice.

    And I'm not sure finger size makes a difference. To illustrate that, I leave a photo of Buddy Whittington, as graceful and elegant a player as one may encounter, with short sausage fingers and, oh, look at the radius on that fretboard...

    Buddy Whittington 2 (2).jpg
     
    2manyteles likes this.
  15. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    17,858
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Location:
    Western Connecticut
    I have never played a flat classical neck, nor do I really care to.

    My Martins have 16" radii, and they're fantastic.

    But the electrics.... in recent years I've come to notice the radius very strongly. And I like the 7.25. It just feels right.

    Regarding choked bends... it's just a minor setup tweak, nothing more. I can set them up with a nice low action, just raising the E and B a little bit. No choke. But I actually prefer the clarity and resonance of slightly higher action these days. I set my strings 4.5 - 5 64ths above the 12th fret.
     
    2manyteles likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.