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12" radius questions.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ultra60, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. ultra60

    ultra60 Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2010
    Herndon/Chantilly Va.
    What's the benefit, or detriment, of a 12" radius over 7.25" or 9.50"? Looking at a couple G&L's, but unable to try. Both are 1.75" at the nut, which is already a little tough for me, but I am still considering. One is 12" and the other is 7.25". Needing to understand if a 12" radius, with 1.75" nut width, would be difficult to play.

  2. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    12" is as flat as I can go w/o it getting uncomfortable for my fretting hand. But then, I'm old and have arthritis. I think flatter is supposedly "faster" ("shred" guitars all seem to have very flat radii) but (A) I don't care and (B) even if I did, it would be moot because they make my thumb hurt so I just stay away from them. I prefer narrow (but not necessarily THIN) necks with MJ frets and 7.25" or 9.50" FB radii.

    My 2¢...
    ultra60 likes this.
  3. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    It's purely a personal preference thing. I like flatter.

    The flatter the radius, the easier it is to bend notes without fretting out. Not so much an issue with bass as it can be with guitar, although David Gilmour made out just fine on 7.25".
    ultra60 and bdgotoh like this.
  4. ultra60

    ultra60 Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2010
    Herndon/Chantilly Va.
    How about this... will a 12" flatter radius make a 1.75 nut width neck feel like it is wider than the 7.25" radius?
  5. Vinnie Boombatz

    Vinnie Boombatz

    May 26, 2010
    Purely personal preference. No "pros or cons" to any of them.
    Malak the Mad likes this.
  6. Vinnie Boombatz

    Vinnie Boombatz

    May 26, 2010
    One guy or gal may think so, while another doesn't. Seriously, I know you're looking for definite answers, but you're not going to get them. The only definite here is going to be what you don't want to hear, which is, the only way you're going to tell is by playing them for yourself.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
    ultra60 likes this.
  7. deeptubes


    Feb 21, 2011
    I have 2 basses with 1.75 nut - Precision Elite II and T-40. The P has 7.25 radius, T-40 has 12. Other than that, the necks measured the same. My short fingers easily prefer the T-40 neck over the P. Sometimes I put a pretty hard bend in my wrist to reach the first couple of frets on the low D of my P.

    Of the rest of my basses, I prefer the flatter radii. However, a 1.5 nut makes the difference substantially less noticeable to my fingers. To me, it seems like I reach across the 12 but have to reach around the 7.25.
    ultra60 likes this.
  8. ultra60

    ultra60 Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2010
    Herndon/Chantilly Va.
    Thanks... that's the kind of info I am curious about.
  9. TDR1138


    Apr 11, 2007
    Section 204
    Having had both 7.5” and 12” G&Ls with 1.75” widths, I’d say that neither were uncomfortable, but the 7.5” feels like it fits the hand better to me. My hand would get more fatigued with the flatter radius on long playing sessions.
    ultra60 likes this.
  10. I have small hands, and fingers. I prefer a 12" board on my Gibson SG Std., over a more arched one. The more arched board means my fingers are closer to rubbing the A, and D strings going around to get the E string. I also believe the flatter board makes a setup easier. The strings are more even in height on the 12". On a 9.5", or 7.5" the E, and G strings sit somewhat lower from the A, or D strings.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
    dmt and ultra60 like this.
  11. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Similar story here. I prefer flatter radii because there's less of a "hump" to reach over for the lower strings, which is especially important on fives. IME, flatter boards also allow lower action, which I prefer. I know some disagree about that, but Fender's setup guide does prescribe lower action for flatter fretboards.

    Interestingly, necks with 9.5" or even 7.5" radii used to feel more comfortable to me when I first grabbed them, but eventually I figured out that I play better on 12" or flatter fretboards. When I was a total newb about basses, I had a DiPinto Belvedere alongside a couple of others, and found I played a little better on the DiPinto's neck. For whatever reason, it just felt different, and really slick high up on the fretboard. So, one day at the company shop, I asked Chris D. about the radius -- and it was 14". I've found the same thing with my G&L's with 12" radius boards.
    ultra60 and gsgbass like this.
  12. I've been playing for 50 years now, and it took me a while to just take a day, and play nothing. But what I did do was, evaluate my entire playing profile, and the bass I was playing as well. I found out I was making it harder for myself to play. I readjusted my entire playing posture. It really helped me anyway.

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