Fretboard radius, do you care?

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by gnoll, Jun 7, 2021.

  1. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    I've never paid any attention to fretboard radius. I never felt like a fretboard was too flat or too round for me.

    I can be sensitive about stuff like neck shape and dimensions for sure, and nut width. But not fretboard radius it seems.

    So I was curious if other people are more concerned about radius? And if so what about it is the problem? Like, in what way does the wrong radius impede playing?
     
  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Technically speaking, the more round (smaller) the radius the higher the action needs to be to avoid fretting out while bending. So, if you bend a lot, prefer extra low action, or both, you'd probably benefit from using a guitar with a flatter (larger radius) board. All things being the same.

    But radius of the board is but a small part, the radius of the nut and bridge will factor in as well.

    That said, most probably couldn't pick out a variance of a few inches blind. But you can usually tell when moving to more dramatic ends of the spectrum, which can play a part in determining how comfortable it is or isn't based on individual player preference.
     
  3. Matt08642

    Matt08642 SS.org Regular

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    I guess I'm used to playing 15-17" radius boards since I mostly play Ibanez, but I'd say a much more noticeable change is fret size. I can go from 17" radius to 9.5" and not be too affected, but going from jumbo frets to vintage or even medium will throw me off like crazy.
     
  4. Ben Pinkus

    Ben Pinkus SS.org Regular

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    Yes/No

    I tend not to like vintage 7.5 radius, but comfortable on everything else - and I think neck profile becomes more important.

    But if I'm doing more shreddy stuff I do prefer a flatter radius
     
  5. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire pointy purveyor

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    Radius is rarely an issue for me. Personally I find the size of frets far more critical than the radius. Playing a les paul or tele with itty bitty frets and a 12" radius irritates me to no end. But slap some bigger frets on those radii (like I did with some of my warmoth necks) and it's totally fine.
    I only do jumbo frets or bigger anymore.
     
  6. michael_bolton

    michael_bolton SS.org Regular

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    I didn't care until I started playing on a 20'' fretboard. definitely noticing 16'' and ofc 14'' fretboards being more round. probably some other factors at play + it's not like these rounder boards are unplayable or anything - but yea going forward I'm definitely sticking to 20'' radius.
     
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  7. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    Hm interesting.

    For fret size I kinda like small frets. I feel much more connected to the guitar like that, and I can slam my fretting hand down without so much worry about pushing notes sharp.
     
  8. Demiurge

    Demiurge Intrepid Jackass

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    If someone put a gun to my head and demanded that I state or guess with reasonable accuracy the radii of any of my guitars... well, I would die a very dumb death because I have no flippin' clue.
     
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  9. protest

    protest SS.org Regular

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    Doesn't matter to me as long as it's not like 20" or 7.5". Anything in the 10" - 17" range is fine with me.
     
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  10. lurè

    lurè Fake Shredder

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    I sligtly prefer flatter boards (>17" radius) but usually are the frets that are a dealbreaker for me.

    I have 2 identical guitars with same radius but one has med-jumbo frets and the other jumbo and I find myself playing more comfortably the one with bigger frets.
     
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  11. mastapimp

    mastapimp SS.org Regular

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    I tend to bend a lot so I prefer 12" and up. Comfort and playability-wise, it doesn't matter too much, but I'll notice when I bend above the 15th fret on the rounder boards. I have a few 9.5" strats that will still choke out in a few locations on big bends.
     
  12. Kyle Jordan

    Kyle Jordan Ace of Knaves

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    Somewhat. I seem to have a preference for 16" radius or 12-16. Years ago I played my Jackson KE3 and a JEM7V back to back many times and the necks were remarkably similar shapes. Differences were the fret size (a small difference) and radius. Always preferred the KE3 neck. Both great, but certainly had a preference. Can't be certain it was just the radius though.

    I think radius plays a good part in why I've always preferred Jackson and Ibanez necks over ESP/LTD necks though.

    Still, the shape and the frets are probably bigger deals to me.
     
  13. Spicypickles

    Spicypickles Sweeps & Mops

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    I don’t care a whole lot, but I do prefer a flatter one if I can get it.
     
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  14. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Colorless green ideas sleep furiously Contributor

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    Doesn't matter to me. I have everything from 7.5" to 20". I will say I prefer more rounded just because I play thumb over a lot (thank you Paul Gilbert). I expected more of an issue with the Ibanez RG565 Reissue since it's wide and flat, but not really anything other than some wrist soreness afterwards (@MaxOfMetal was spot on about this lol).
     
  15. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Not really.
     
  16. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Hey...how did everybody get in my room?

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    I’ve got all of them and don’t really care. In the vintage/dad guitar world: I get along fine with 7.5”-12” radii, thin D to thick C necks, and vintage frets to jumbos. I have preferences of course, but i get used to new instruments very quickly.

    I like the 14”-20” radius zone on my shred/metal guitars, and tend to favor different sizes of D shape necks. I also prefer skinnier fret wire to have more room for my fingers up high, and medium height; but still play guitars with extra jumbo/wide frets.
     
  17. axil

    axil nya

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    I've played 7.5 up to 20 myself and honestly don't care. They all can feel good and i can sort of shred and chord on whatever. It's more about the neck shape for me. I love a good neck. Really gets my wood going.

    That being said if i dropped 2k+ on a custom i'd go 14-16
     
  18. mmr007

    mmr007 (anti)Social Influencer

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    Not anymore. In my youth I would only play wizard necks and picking up a strat with a 7.25" radius really tripped me up and I found it unplayable. But ever since really branching out and enjoying all manner of necks and various radiusususus, it doesn't matter. Maybe subconsciously if I know I am going to play a certain way that day I'll grab a guitar with a 12" radius or higher
     
  19. SCJR

    SCJR SS.org Regular

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    This is my experience as well. Going from 20" to 10" on is very noticeable and I much prefer the flatter if I play the way I usually do. It's all what you get used to, though. At a certain point you should be able to adapt to anything after however much time any particular radius.
     
  20. RevDrucifer

    RevDrucifer SS.org Regular

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    I bought a Classic 50’s Strat this year and completely forgot how much I fucking hate a 7.5” radius. Fuck that shit. Even getting over the difference between switching guitars AND preferring higher than usual action, the amount I have to raise my high E is straight up fuck that.

    I’m building a replica of Gilmour’s CAR Strat, which is a ‘57 vintage reissue Strat. At this point, I’m going to part it together just so I can get a neck made that I’ll want to play with at least a 12” radius.
     

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