What's the preferred fretboard radius?

claptonrules

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Favorite is my soft V 9.5 maple on my Clapton Strat. Also love my PRS guitars, most all 10's. I have a killer Suhr with a roasted neck that has a 10-12 compound that's very comfortable. Bought a PRS Silver Sky. Loved everything about it, but the 7.25 made my hand cramp/hurt very quickly. I tried and tried cuz I loved that guitar but wasn't worth injuring myself, sent it back.
No 7.25 for this kid.
 

oregomike

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In my 'Building a 'Telecaster'' thread I said I'd bought a Mighty Mite neck to save some time and work. But I'm having second thoughts now. There are one or two things I'd like to do with the neck which I can't really do with a finished neck (like veneering the headstock) so I'm thinking of making one.

However, I could save some time by buying a slotted fingerboard from Stewmac or LMII. Stewmac only do 12" rad. or compound rad., LMII do 12" or 9.5" rad. So which should I buy? I can't ask the person I'm making it for, as it's meant to be a surprise.

I have a compound radius neck from Warmoth. It’s 10.5-14. Love it.
 

claptonrules

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My Suhr is a compound radius 10-12 and my second fav. ROASTED neck the bomb. So freakin cool and easy on the hand. I'll put a Suhr Standard Plus up against a Core PRS ($4,300) any day for quality built, sound, playability, artistry, etc... and WAY less money.
 

nickmsmith

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I like everything from vintage radius to classical no radius. Lots of other factors matter more to the feel and play of the guitar. A good neck is a good neck.
 

stratisfied

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There are one or two things I'd like to do with the neck which I can't really do with a finished neck (like veneering the headstock) so I'm thinking of making one.

These are all veneers added to finished necks. Excuse my sanding dust thumbprint on the last one. I didn't wipe it down before the pic. That is same one in the pic with the matching pickguard after I added the black streak to match the pickguard wood.

I don't bother thinning the headstock as the veneer is not so thick as to affect the tuner mounting at all. If you are a stickler for details, the easy way is to sand the the flat backside of the headstock on a belt sander to reduce the thickness and just respray the headstock when done, but it isn't necessary.

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Radius is a personal preference. Me being a rhythm player, I like a vintage 7-1/4" radius for easier bar chording.
 
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Blister

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So what telecasters do you guys have that have a 12 inch Radius snack because I want one I love a 12 inch I don’t play anything less please help
 

epizootics

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This is interesting. The radius question comes back every year or so on this board, and I'd swear that a few years back, smaller radii were more popular. This would be easy to check & quantify, going back to the early days of the forum.

Ten years ago I would have been in the 7.25" club. These days most of my builds have a 12" radius. I don't mind that much, but since my go-to bridge is the Gotoh Nashville TOM, I use 12 by default.
 

Henning

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Small fretboard radii kill bending --- of course it does. the best design is a conical fretboard design, some name it "compound radius". With that design it is possible to lower the action significantly, and it won't so easily kill the sound by bending. Makes sense, eh ? - - - it is a logical solution, and some of the new guitars are born wit that design. It is more difficult to make in a serial production, but it's worth the effort. I made it on my own home built guitar 35 years ago !!
 

Mojotron

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I've played for a long time on just about every radius and compound radius that one would find over the decades and I kept coming back to 12". It's the most well suited for everything and bending strings with low action is not a problem. I make all of my own and I only have tools for doing 12" radii now.
 

Freeman Keller

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In my 'Building a 'Telecaster'' thread I said I'd bought a Mighty Mite neck to save some time and work. But I'm having second thoughts now. There are one or two things I'd like to do with the neck which I can't really do with a finished neck (like veneering the headstock) so I'm thinking of making one.

These are all veneers added to finished necks. Excuse my sanding dust thumbprint on the last one. I didn't wipe it down before the pic. That is same one in the pic with the matching pickguard after I added the black streak to match the pickguard wood.

To go along with Stratisfieds pictures of veneered heads, here are a couple of ones I did. I think they are Mighty Mite necks - a friend brought me the necks and veneer and asked me to put them together

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And my personal guitar with maple veneer (same process, bend the veneer over the hot pipe and clamp with a UHMW caul)

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stratisfied

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To go along with Stratisfieds pictures of veneered heads, here are a couple of ones I did. I think they are Mighty Mite necks - a friend brought me the necks and veneer and asked me to put them together

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Those were the necks you did for me! As you may recall, I had tried contact adhesive and couldn't get them to stay put and reached out to you on "that other forum".

I always like to credit you for doing such a nice job on those and for showing me the secret of bending the veneer so it stays glued down in the cove.

Here is my "Ghetto Luthiery refined for condominium dwellers" (lol) version of your heat pipe process . It works, though. Have successfully done many since learning from the master! That trick and block sanding the headstock face to insure a sharp, square edge are the keys. You can see the caul I made from a scrap of 1x6 with a belt sander for clamping the veneer. It follows the cove of the headstock behind the nut.

I trim the veneer with an exacto knife after the glue is hardened and sand to contour. I drill a small pilot hole through the veneer over the tuner holes from the back and use a Dremel with an abrasive cone bit to open up the tuner holes. A smaller version of the same bit is used for the truss rod hole.


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stratisfied

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Yeah, the "granny's wallpaper" maple cores were likely the problem. lol. Tell you a funny story. After they curled up , I steamed them flat, filled the splits and resprayed them. They looked great so I pressed them flat overnight and then put them back on. About a week later I'm in my "music room" when I hear a sharp "crack" from my rack of guitars. Of course, the Strat was the most problematic and the most likely suspect. I picked it up and the pickguard had buckled in another spot and cracked. lol

I wound up buying custom made guards for them that used a phenolic backer. They were faced with Vavona (Burl redwood) and look like a wood version of a Tortoise shell guard. I over-sprayed the headstocks matte to match the fretboards so your efforts weren't wasted. They look fine, theme-wise, and have held up great.
 




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