Which fingerboard radius?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Tele-friend, Sep 15, 2021.

Which fingerboard radius do you prefer?

  1. 7.25"

    33 vote(s)
    19.8%
  2. 9.5"

    68 vote(s)
    40.7%
  3. 12"

    28 vote(s)
    16.8%
  4. Doesn't really matter as long the setup of the guitar is fine

    49 vote(s)
    29.3%
  5. Some other radius - please specify in post

    12 vote(s)
    7.2%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Stanford Guitar

    Stanford Guitar Friend of Leo's

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    Yep!

    I've never owned a guitar that I didn't level and re-radius the frets to some degree. I don't really measure, it's more a by feel thing but I'd guess 9" near the nut to 12+" further down the neck. Saddle radius is also important to me. Intonation comes into play, and I intonate my guitars a bit differently than most people, I won't go into that here, but again by ear, as I've never owned a guitar tuner.

    I don't think there is a magic off the shelf formula, at least not for me.
     
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  2. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    note to the nerdy nitpicker of all nitpickers out there. Hairsplitter of the hairsplitters. It's not the same.

    1. Conical radius = where even the last fret has radius, as well as the rest, however at a slight radius. A cone is radiused at the bottom too, it never gets flat.

    2. Compound radius = where the last fret on the fretboard is totally flat and has no radius at all. And only that one.

    Subtle, and hairsplitting difference. Only when you take the neck off and do sanding of the frets, or levelling you'll have to know this diff, otherwise you'll be aware of this the hard and expensive way... :twisted:;)
     
  3. frank a

    frank a Tele-Meister

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    I really can’t stand 7.25 radius. Give me 9.5 or 12.
     
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  4. Willy-son

    Willy-son Tele-Meister

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    I think that's an urban legend. I play a lot of jazz and lead work on a 7.25 without a problem.
     
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  5. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    9.5 to 12 for me. I like me a flat board.
     
  6. moonman2

    moonman2 Tele-Meister

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    10-16
     
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  7. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I think the music magazine industry started this by talking about non-cylindrical radii using "first and final" nomenclature, ie, 9" -12", 10"-16", etc. However, If the change is constant and linear, the numbers represent a conical radius. They often used "compound" to describe this surface, but it is a misnomer.

    A flat last fret or, more often a flat bridge, makes for a transitional surface. It starts with a radius but ends flat...just like the weird piece in your HVAC ducting where the round duct transitions to a square vent.

    A "compound" fretboard represents a non-linear surface. Some makers use(d) a progression of radius sanding blocks to emulate a conic surface. Slight variation in the transition zones were inconsequential but since the surface is made up of a series of blended radii...compound is as good a name as any.

    LOL, for a conic fretboard, I tend to use a flat bridge. It is easier to set up and the string height difference if it were geometrically perfect are tiny...I can measure the diff, but I can't feel or hear it.
     
  8. Slacker G

    Slacker G TDPRI Member

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    I really prefer Warmoth compound radius necks for all my bolt on neck guitars. Most of them sport the Gotoh side adjusters.
     
  9. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    As did every Fender player prior to ... 1980?

    I don't know or care what the rest of the world does. My point was that the tight radius is easier to chord on. That's simply a function of human ergonomics. And even though I have no problem, there are a ton of people who seem to have trouble bending on it. Hence my comment.
     
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  10. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Afflicted

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    But harder to bend on, period. If you like the choking of frets, well then, be my guest. You can't have the cake and eat it too.

    While there is some merit to radius, as in the strings at the lower end (across not along) will not be in the way for your fretting fingers above it (ie half way), they do get in the way as fast as you cross the D-string and low E and A. The last 3 high E-strings will not buzz at your fingers, since they are at lower level. But as fast as you fret low E (for example) the strings that resides directly under and adjacent to that one, will have a "hill" thanks to the radius and go upwards and tickling your fingers. All that said, the narrowness and width at the nut plays a role too. My partscaster strat has a nut width at a whopping 46 mm (like the Brian May guitars), and a compund radius of 12-16 (inch that is) which means it is basically flat. And it's way easier for me to chord on a WIDER fretboard, neck, regardless of radius.

    If it's under 2 digit, the intonation of the outer strings are compromised too, since you have to raise them in action a bit too high off the fretboard in order to not fret out while bending. I've already been in a flame debate in the other thread about this. People just left, when exposed to this claim. Rather than staying around and confess to their gaffe, they just left.

    Once, in the 50s, the Teles, Strats where made for 012 sets, spun thirds, and flatwounds at that. No one bent strings back then. Not until the mid 60s where everything was changed out to banjo strings folks started to bend strings, and then the design flaw was detected.... for that kind of playing.

    And if I am playing full barre chords, give me as flat as possible, any day of the week. Also, when playing partial barre chords, 7.5 and 9 etc radius is always a liability.
     
  11. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Perhaps I should have said "the tight radius is easier to chord on, and harder to bend, but depending on your playing style, and setup, you may or may not notice either or both of these conditions."

    If that's not OK, then call my lawyer :lol:.
     
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  12. HoodieMcFoodie

    HoodieMcFoodie Telefied Ad Free Member

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    My partscaster has a 7.25" radius neck. My Ash Dlx Tele has a 9.5" radius neck.

    I much prefer playing the partscaster.
     
  13. Kevin Wolfe

    Kevin Wolfe Tele-Holic

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    I’m loving a 9.5” board on my Esquired partscaster, and that’s how I voted. Although the guitar shown in my avatar, a 2013 American Deluxe has what the specs call a 10-14 that is fantastic. Came off the rack with the most perfect setup I’ve ever encountered on a brand new Fender, so maybe that has a lot to do with how comfortable it is.
    I also love the radius of my ‘09 Les Paul Standard, but I don’t know what it is.

    Whatever works for ‘ya!
     
  14. Kevin Wolfe

    Kevin Wolfe Tele-Holic

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    I didn’t read all the post so forgive me if it’s been mentioned earlier.
    The neck profile and fret height and width also work in conjunction with, or against for that matter, the board radius.

    So again, whatever works. Just play music
     
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