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Changing Fretboard Radius?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Hambone, Dec 11, 2000.

  1. I've been playing a lot recently on the Fender MIJITSO '62 reissue Jazz and have come to really like the radius of the fretboard. Aside from these necks being about the easiest to play I've ever encountered, I think the radius has contributed to my fingering being a bit more precise. Now the question I've come up with is "Can a fretboard be re-radiused?" My Kawai (my dream |shudders in delight|) has a very flat fretboard in comparison. I think I want it to be otherwise. There is another problem - the Kawai is a neck-through construction. Do yall think this can be done? I'm not skilled enough yet to attempt it so I would certainly have a pro do the honors.
  2. It is possible to re radius a fingerboard if there is enough wood on the fretboard but you will also have to invest in a refret job. Putting more radius on a flat fingerboard shouldn't be a problem, It may come close to the side dots if they are close to the surface of the fingerboard or are very large. If you or a later owner want's to return too the original radius that could pose a much larger problem.
  3. I've been doing side by side playing of these two and the more I do, the more I think that it's the way to go. I've been learning a particuarly hard (for me) excercise lately and it really goes better on the Jazz. String tension on the Jazz is a little less than the Kawai which usually makes precise fingerings, like the piece requires, just a bit slower so I don't think that's affecting me. It's boiled down to the radius.

    The fretboard is fairly thick - certainly not like a veneer and it's not a coated fretboard, so I think it's doable. Now I've got to find a luthier that can tackle the job.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Some of the bass makers/luthiers over here in the UK advertise that they will put a new fretboard on for you, so I don't see why they cant change this - they will usually do anything if you pay enough! ;)
  5. I got some advice over on the FDP from Bill Bolton who seems to think that if the fretboard veneer is thick enough, no replacement will be necessary. After looking closely at the neck with this in mind, I believe that I have enough material to do this without having to invest in another top. Whew! Sure, it would have been perfect to put an ebony board on it then but the cost would have been much steep. I think now I'll just shop the job to different luthiers and see what I come up with.
  6. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    Hambone, if you will, let me know if you find a good luthier around here. I have used Mike Marshall who subleases over at Mars in Duluth before, and years ago there was a guy named Bert (Bert's Guitar Shop) down on Memorial Dr. He moved out to Snellville a few years ago, but closed his shop that was on 78. I haven't heard of anyone else around here, but if you know of anyone, please let me know. BTW, Al Gore now seems to be an UNEMPLOYED communist!
  7. John,

    I have used John Marshall and his luthiery school on 78 next to Murphy's Law Pub - just after the Lowes goin' toward Stone Mountain. He has done good work and he has done work that I wouldn't consider top-notch. I don't know why the differences. I'm going to try him first. Then there is a real nice fellow (I don't know his name) at Galaxy Music. I know he's a tech but I don't know if this is in his bag of tricks. I'll let you know.
  8. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    Hambone, I knew of the place (didn't know the name), but didn't mention him, as our guitar player took his Taylor in for a bridge adjustment, and it came out with a nice scar in the top. I guess its a case of YMMV.
  9. Rumblin' Man

    Rumblin' Man Banned

    Apr 27, 2000
    Route 66
    I've re-radiused and refretted several boards but most of those were to make a guitar fretboard flatter from fret 7 up.

    Provided you have enough fingerboard thickness, re-radiusing a fretboard to a tighter radius is not a hard job. You just need the correctly radiused sanding block (Stew-Mac or make you're own), some sand paper, patience, and a steady hand or guide rails to keep the sanding block parallel to the board.

    BTW, after you re-radius the board you may need to deepen the fret slots a bit on both ends of the slot and recut the nut to match the new radius.

    Re-fretting and recutting the nut, IMO, that's where the skill is required.

  10. Rumblin'Man since you've got the experience...

    I've seen the radius blocks in StewMac and Luthiers Mercantile. Wouldn't one of these be somewhat self-centering since the sides of the block would ride the sides of the fretboard as the profile is shaped? If it does then it might not be a really tough job after all, the radiusing I mean. I'm not equipped (mentally or with toolage) to attempt a fretjob.
  11. Rumblin' Man

    Rumblin' Man Banned

    Apr 27, 2000
    Route 66
    Yes, they are somewhat self-centering if you take your time. I freehand it but I also use the 10 inch long blocks which helps keep it parallel. Most of all the neck needs to be stable so it doesn't move. I clamp the headstock firmly to the bench. I've heard and read that it's not hard to cant the block off parallel so a guide jig may be in order for those interested in speed. I just take my time.

    BTW, I asked in your other thread and I'll ask here. I'd like to experiment with threaded steel inserts in the neck (maybe even with a microtilt arrangement). Where did you get the threaded steel inserts. Locally, I can only find brass inserts.

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