So, why do fretboards have a radius anyway?

foreright

SS.org Regular
Joined
Aug 13, 2012
Messages
408
Reaction score
510
Location
Reading(ish), UK
If you ever play an electric with an infinite/flat radius, you'll immediately realize why most guitars aren't like that lol. At least for my playing/comfort preferences.
All the guitars I’ve built for myself over the last few years (6s and 7s) have a completely flat board as it’s my preference :) It’s a marginal thing and I have no issue with playing guitars with almost any radius but it feels better to me. I play with my thumb on the back of the neck (ie. A more classical style) though which might make a difference?

The only slight thing is that it looks a bit odd - almost like the board is convex.

What exactly do you find uncomfortable about it out of interest?
 

cardinal

F# Dive Bomber
Joined
Mar 6, 2007
Messages
7,084
Reaction score
5,577
Location
Northern Virginia
All the guitars I’ve built for myself over the last few years (6s and 7s) have a completely flat board as it’s my preference :) It’s a marginal thing and I have no issue with playing guitars with almost any radius but it feels better to me. I play with my thumb on the back of the neck (ie. A more classical style) though which might make a difference?

The only slight thing is that it looks a bit odd - almost like the board is convex.

What exactly do you find uncomfortable about it out of interest?
It's just a strange feeling. Like you say, almost like the board is convex and curving away from me.
 

Adieu

SS.org Regular
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
3,723
Reaction score
3,121
Location
California
Floyd bridges are actually radiused

I *think* a "small" radius (steep curve) is supposed to help you with barre chords (natural finger posture is somewhat curved, not flat straight) and perhaps also strumming accuracy (like you can strum straight down without pulling away much or at all if you want to omit the first or second string)
 
Last edited:

Winspear

Tom Winspear
Joined
Oct 23, 2009
Messages
12,292
Reaction score
3,255
Location
Yorkshire, U.K
Good point raised by @ixlramp I'd not really considered in thinking about the microgeometry of guitars! With a typical 10 gauge set and consistent action, one requires roughly a 10 inch radius to avoid a concave top string surface
 


Top