#1
I'm starting to think that it doesn't matter to me all that much. I've had guitars with 15.75" radius down to my Fenders with a 9.5". Had a few Gibson types with the 12". I used to insist that 15.75" was the best, no doubt about it. I just believed that flatter was better.

But my playing has improved so much in the last 3 months with a CV Tele Custom with a 9.5" radius, I'm kinda thinking that it doesn't mean all that much to me.

It always seemed that a flatter board was faster for me, but, honestly it was an illusion. What helped to develop more speed and accuracy was some solid practice time. Not saying they aren't faster, I believe they are. But they aren't a replacement for skill or practice. Don't think I'm criticizing anyone who uses a flat radius, I know it's all about personal preference.

Now, I think I am kinda leaning towards a 9.5" radius.
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#2
7.25" with a Soft-V, like a lot of Fender Japan ST's. A close second for me is a 12" with a rolled maple cap and an uneven Oval, a-la Reverend. I also like that Carvin / Warmoth 10-16" compound.

I'd say neck profile has a lot more to do with it. I like radii coupled with certain profiles, but the radii as a sole factor doesn't make a big splash for me in terms of how I like it. Generally I'm more concerned with the fret size and other factors that are a little more apparent.

You may have more of a preference for the C-shape neck than the actual radius.
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Last edited by JustRooster at Jan 13, 2014,
#3
In my case the opposite is true. I developed massively last year and some guitars just feel better in my hands than others now.
#4
I find flatter fretboards more comfortable to play. More comfort = better practice sessions = better playing. YMMV.
#5
fender necks (aside from only having 22 frets) are perfect in every way.
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#6
hate 7.25" radius on old fender necks. have learned to live with the 9.5" on newer necks. actually prefer 12" myself. if the neck is to round then I have some issues otherwise I adjust as my BC Rich has a flatter radius than my strats. my SG is fine with no issues or adjustments needed.
#7
Quote by JustRooster
7.25" with a Soft-V, like a lot of Fender Japan ST's. A close second for me is a 12" with a rolled maple cap and an uneven Oval, a-la Reverend. I also like that Carvin / Warmoth 10-16" compound.

I'd say neck profile has a lot more to do with it. I like radii coupled with certain profiles, but the radii as a sole factor doesn't make a big splash for me in terms of how I like it. Generally I'm more concerned with the fret size and other factors that are a little more apparent.

You may have more of a preference for the C-shape neck than the actual radius.


You bring up something that I haven't paid much attention to yet, and that is how the combination of the radius and the neck shape feels to me. On your last point, I think I am paying attention to the radius instead of the neck shape. I had a Fender Showmaster that had a C shape neck and 15.75" radius. It felt good but not great. However, the other Fenders I've had have had a 9.5" radius with the same neck profile, just like my current CV Tele Custom. Without a doubt, I think the 9.5" radius is the one for me, but the neck shape could have something to do with it.

On the other hand I had a Ibanez semi hollow with a 12" radius and a fairly skinny neck, and it was meh. Not really bad, but not good for me. Looking back, I think it was the radius, because the neck felt ok.

Enough thinking about this crap, I'm gonna go play some Moody Blues, Hendrix, and Sabbath.
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#8
I honestly can't play a guitar with a flat board like an Ibanez. I just can't physically do it. Fender necks are pretty much number one for me.
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#9
7.25? holy hell. thats not even a fretBOARD, thats like literally play a baseball bat. not like, thick baseball bat but actually round like a baseball bat....

i recently went from a 12 (les paul) to a 14 (carvin, standard choice). a bit of a learning curve. noticable difference at first, but like anthing you get used to it.

i was fairly concerned when i first got it that i picked the wrong choice, but i have learned to LOVE IT. i think a difference of 2" makes a big difference. i think 12 is standard, 10 is vintage, less than 10 is legit, 50-60s vintage, less than 9 is whoa....

14 is kinda getting flat, 16 is shredder standard, and up to 20 is .... dude, whats a chord? i shred brah....
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#10
...also, it really depends on the guitar. if you go much below 12, your bridge needs to start having individual height adjustment to compensate and still maintain action. if you notice, almost no guitar with a tune o matic is much less than 12" radius.

teles can go pretty low with saddles that cover 2 strings, but really, a strat has the capacity to go with the lowest radius (like a 7.25") and still maintain a good action with individual saddles.

even then, most tun o matics have a slight curve to them. some tune o matics are deisnged without a curve or less a curve, or in some cases, guitars built for a very flat neck may have a brdge that can be completely flat....like a shcaller hannes bridge (very adjustable, but can be technically flat
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#11
For me, it works like this.....

The Skinnier The neck, the higher the action I can put up with.

The Thicker the neck, the lower the action I prefer.

So take for example, a vintage Fender with a 7.25" radius, I prefer an A or B Width neck (speaking in Vintage Fender Terms). My Jag-Stang, Musicmaster, and Mustang have that.

My Memphis Strat Copy has jumbo frets, and a wide neck, but the 12" Radius = lower action, which evens out the wider neck.

So basically, if I have a wider neck, the bigger the radius for me to be comfortable. And by skinny neck, I mean width at the nut, from the side, most of those vintage necks are quite a bit chunky, vs. something like my Memphis or my Stagemaster 7 which have a flatter neck profile.

The optimum for me though - 24" Scale 22+ vintage Fret Fender-style late 60's profile with 7.16" Fretboard Radius and an "A" Neck Width, strung up with 009's for all those crazy full chord bends I get into from time to time.
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#12
kinda but not always.
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#13
For me absolutely, it's one of the biggest things that affects it for me. Thin necks and small necks or whatever size neck i can deal with cos i have big hands and can adapt, but man a radius that's too flat is all but unplayable. Ideally i like compound radius fretboards where the change isn't dramatic.
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#14
I generally prefer something around 15-16" radius. 12's the minimum and for me, a 7.25" radius Fender just feels strange.
#15
I agree with Acϵ♠. For me it is the most important thing.
I can play on any neck, however, I have the ones I prefer, an if it isnt that, then I am not feeling comfortable.

And for me the things is, when it comes to the neck shape, when I play with a pick on an electric guitar, I prefer a C shape always.

However, if its finger style on acoustic, the thicker the neck the better it is. If the neck shape is thin, I cant feel it and just can not play.
#16
Hard to say.

While I have never really paid attention to radius when shopping, I do know that some guitars' necks bother me and some don't.

But looking at the guitars I own, you'd see some significant variation.
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#17
i would really like a compound. wish carvin did that. 12-16 would be great!!

i have been playing 12+ for so long, vintage fenders feel weird. generally the standard stuff is ok, it just feels like "a fender".

i will say this:

i really think a more curved fretboard helps when playing standing up and playing chords, especially bar chords. it changes the posture of the hand/wrist. i can get away with playing with the strap lower / guitar sitting lower on my body.

with a flatter neck, i was to play jazz style, guitar jacked up higher on my belly / chest. in that sense, i think THAT is more conforatble. i WOULD NOT like a flat radius neck and my strap slug real low like an 80s hair band player. to me that would be hell.

sitting down i think eases this issue, because the guitar is so close and tight in when we sit down and play.

i personally developed the perspective that a higher guitar give more control, accuracy, and upper fret access. i just read yesterday that synester gates of avenged sevenfold has his guitar switched out to one with a tigher strap, jack it higher up, so that he can more easily / accurately play the higher frets when you pulls off a huge solo.
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#18
Quote by ikey_
i would really like a compound. wish carvin did that. 12-16 would be great!!

i have been playing 12+ for so long, vintage fenders feel weird. generally the standard stuff is ok, it just feels like "a fender".

i will say this:

i really think a more curved fretboard helps when playing standing up and playing chords, especially bar chords. it changes the posture of the hand/wrist. i can get away with playing with the strap lower / guitar sitting lower on my body.

with a flatter neck, i was to play jazz style, guitar jacked up higher on my belly / chest. in that sense, i think THAT is more conforatble. i WOULD NOT like a flat radius neck and my strap slug real low like an 80s hair band player. to me that would be hell.

sitting down i think eases this issue, because the guitar is so close and tight in when we sit down and play.

i personally developed the perspective that a higher guitar give more control, accuracy, and upper fret access. i just read yesterday that synester gates of avenged sevenfold has his guitar switched out to one with a tigher strap, jack it higher up, so that he can more easily / accurately play the higher frets when you pulls off a huge solo.


Fully agree with you there, regarding having the guitar higher. Never understood how people can play when the guitar is so low.

If you want to have a look at someone who literally has his guitar above his belly, have a look at Robert Cray and how he holds it.
#19
Quote by JustRooster
7.25" with a Soft-V, like a lot of Fender Japan ST's.

That's my favourite as well. My first 'proper' guitar was a 1995 Japanese 54RI Strat with the soft-V profile. It my remains my absolute favourite guitar; it feels like it was made for me...
#20
Neck profile is more of a factor to me that the radius. My primary guitar is an American Special Strat with a 9.5 radius, which I find really comfortable combined with the Modern C neck profile.

In terms of radii, my only preference is to not have something on either extreme. I've never really felt comfortable with the 7.5 or smaller vintage necks, and the same can be said about the extremely flat ~20-ish radii on shred machines.
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#21
My V has a 12" radius and my Futura has a 14. I didn't need a spec sheet to tell me that the fingerboard felt flatter on the Futura.
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#22
I like flatter boards for better big bends, really the biggest advantage they have.
#23
Quote by sjones
Neck profile is more of a factor to me that the radius. My primary guitar is an American Special Strat with a 9.5 radius, which I find really comfortable combined with the Modern C neck profile.

In terms of radii, my only preference is to not have something on either extreme. I've never really felt comfortable with the 7.5 or smaller vintage necks, and the same can be said about the extremely flat ~20-ish radii on shred machines.



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#24
fretboard radius matters to me because it affects how low the action can go before you get problems with string bends choking out against the frets. if the radius is bigger than around 14" though, it doesn't really make a difference to me anymore, because then the action will get low enough to cause fret buzz all over the neck before I have to worry about string bending issues.

That said, the radius isn't really a factor in whether I will buy a guitar or not - I can work with any guitar provided it's competently set up to meet my requirements. I generally find a 10" or 12" radius the most comfortable though.
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#25
Jackson compound radius for me. I think my DK2Ms have 14-16" rather than the more standard 12-16", and I love it. It's just so comfortable that I really notice the difference when I play on other guitars. The Jacksons I just play and don't even think about it.
#27
Quote by Confuse-a-Cat
Jackson compound radius for me. I think my DK2Ms have 14-16" rather than the more standard 12-16", and I love it. It's just so comfortable that I really notice the difference when I play on other guitars. The Jacksons I just play and don't even think about it.


Last week I played around with a Charvel San Dimas at my local shop. It had a 12 to 16 compound. I really liked the guitar as a whole, it was smoking.

I guess what I am trying to get at is that I used to be fixated on flatter radius guitars. Now I just don't know what I was thinking. The Fender 9.5 feels very comfortable to me as my skill has greatly improved.
Ibanez SR1200E
#28
I notice big differences (say vintage fender 7.25" versus ibanez 17") but smaller differences I don't really care so much about. Really the only big difference (for me) is 7.25" (very curved) and anything much higher than about 10" (fairly flat).
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#29
I didn't know radius mattered. I played guitars with various radii for many, many years. Then I discovered guitar forums and learned that I should have a strong preference. I don't.

I do like a fat neck though.
#30
7.25'' feels kinda strange, but I don't dislike it. I'm actually pretty comfortable with any radius but I guess I prefer a 9,5''. Feels just right, but I play a lot of chords so that might influence my preference. Curious as to how compounds feel though, don't think I've ever tried one.
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#31
If you buy a vintage Fender made in the 50s 60s 70s and some of the 80s (but I don't how much of the 80s) then you got the 7.25 radius, that's what Fenders were neck wise, they did vary a bit with the thickness of the neck but it was pretty much a case of if you don't like 7.25 then it's off to Gibson you go. I think players just grew up playing those necks so it was a case of having to get used to them if you wanted to play a Fender. I personally think it's one of those things that your brain and hands just get used to. I personally used to really struggle when I played a Gibson, it felt totally alien because I had grown up with Fender necks, I'm sure if I'd bought one and played it for a few weeks I'd have got used to it....maybe.
#32
Doesnt really matter to me, I prefer flatter boards but ill use anything. Right now I have a strat knockoff with a 20" radius that im working on. Cant wait to finish that. But doesnt feel much different from a strat I had with a 12" radius. Only time I can really tell is when doing a lot of barre chords and with a lot bends on the upper frets.
#33
my favorite is a 7.25" radius with vintage small frets and low action on a medium c shape neck.

honestly, I know a lot of people complain about fretting out while bending on a 7.25" radius neck, but to be honest, I've never had that problem unless I was trying to be dimebag darrell. While the flatter radius necks (not knocking anyone who uses one) have a purpose, I feel like their purpose is over hyped and greatly exaggerated.

I do think radius makes a difference to some extent though. Like, I can't stand the modern fender radius of 9.5". I can play it, but i don't like it. But I can deal with Gibson's 12" radius alright. That is probably my second.

Another thing to consider is the size of the frets you are using. They make more of a significance in how you play than the radius does, imho.
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