question about fretboard radius

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Thread: question about fretboard radius

  1. #1

    Join Date: Feb 2011
    Location: Arlington, VA
    ME: Schecter Damien 7
    MA: Blueridge
    MB: Carvin
    Rig: VHT Fifty CL

    iTrader: 0

    question about fretboard radius

    So I have made a deposit on a custom guitar, but there are a few items that I have yet to decide on the specifications of. Most important item of my concern is the fretboard radius. I have never owned a custom guitar before and am not even quite sure what my current guitars fretboard radii are.
    Here are my questions regarding fretboard radii:

    What are the benefits of playing on a flatter, or completely flat fretboard, aside from overall personal preference and feel, if any?

    In opposition, are there any benefits to playing on a neck that is curved?

    What measurement equates to a flat fretboard (ie- 16", what does this mean, what does it look like) and what measurements relate to a curved fretboard?

    Last, can anybody link me to a site that better describes and maybe uses pictures as examples, relating to fretboard radii.


  2. #2

    Join Date: Dec 2010
    Location: RTP

    iTrader: 0

    This is very much a personal preference type of question so the answers you get will be skewed towards the player.

    These are all my opinion... I prefer a flatter board on a wide neck. 1.75" nut width with a 16" radius.

    A flatter fretboard (16"-20") is faster playing and better for bending.

    A more raidiused board has a vintage strat feel (7.25 - 9.75) and is better for chords.

    A middle of the road radius has a gibson feel (10 - 12") and is better for all around work.

    A completely flat fretboard is uncomfortable (think classical guitars).

    Warmoth Custom Guitar Parts - Fingerboard Radius

  3. #3

    Join Date: Dec 2010
    Location: RTP

    iTrader: 0

    A compound radius is supposed to be the best of both worlds. A tight radius for chords on the lower octave and flatter radius as you reach the upper octave.

    All the guitars I have played with a compound board have been comfortable even though I do not prefer a compound radius.

  4. #4

    Join Date: Feb 2011
    Location: Arlington, VA
    ME: Schecter Damien 7
    MA: Blueridge
    MB: Carvin
    Rig: VHT Fifty CL

    iTrader: 0

    Thanks for the response, it was very helpful.

  5. #5

    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Herndon, VA
    ME: Jackson Soloist
    Rig: Fractal Audio Axe-FX II

    iTrader: 4 (100%)

    Another factor to consider. If you do a lot of legato-style playing, a totally flat board will allow you to get the action ridiculously low, since you won't fret out in doing string bends. I've never owned a guitar with a totally flat board, and the only major player I know to have used one is Shawn Lane.

    Allan Holdsworth's signature Carvins have a 20" radius, which is pretty flat, but the one I had honestly didn't feel any different to me than the 16" radius you see on the upper register of compound-radius Jacksons. To me, the 10-16" compound radius on Jacksons is a great compromise.

  6. #6

    Join Date: Apr 2009
    Location: BOSTON
    MB: Fender 5 string Jazz
    Rig: JVM 210H-JCM800 2X12

    iTrader: 3 (100%)

    My BRJ has a 20" radius. I can definitely feel a difference, and it ttook me a little while to get used to it , but now I love.
    having said that however all of my other guitars besides my Ibanez are the compound 12-16" that jackson /charvel made popular, and I am completely comfortable with that.
    I can get the action crazy low on my BRJ if I want but I don't play with crazy low action so it's kind of wasted on me. I do find the the BRJ effortless to play but i don't know if that has anything to do with the radius or just the overall quality and shape of the neck?
    You can keep your Doctor....Period!
    I won't come in your mouth...Period

  7. #7

    Join Date: Feb 2011
    Location: Arlington, VA
    ME: Schecter Damien 7
    MA: Blueridge
    MB: Carvin
    Rig: VHT Fifty CL

    iTrader: 0

    I like the idea of lower string action, so maybe I will give a 20" radius a try.

  8. #8

    Join Date: May 2010
    Location: Portland, OR
    ME: Les Paul
    MA: Les Paul
    MB: Les Paul
    Rig: Mini Rec

    iTrader: 10 (100%)

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but the OP has a Schecter Damien 7 - those are 14" radius, right?
    Making metal every night and day.

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