Compound radius fretboard questions

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by takeout, Dec 27, 2002.

  1. takeout

    takeout Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Kansas City area
    Hi all- hoping someone will weigh in on this...

    I'm in planning stages right now, and am considering the benefits/drawbacks to having a compound radius board. Questions:

    1. How to do it? Tips or tricks, pitfalls to avoid, etc.?

    2. Do they work on basses? Is it worth the hassle?

    I'm sure I'll think of more; I'll edit accordingly as they come to me.
  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    David King puts a compound radius on all his basses. He feels that it is the most comfortable design.

    He uses a 48" belt sander, I believe, to do the job. I wouldn't want to do it by hand, which is why I don't do a compound radius.
  3. Carey


    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    Compound radii are tricky. I sanded every neck that I fretted at Suhr Guitars by hand on a 6"x86" belt sander. That was about 1000 plus necks. They all had compound radii.
    On my own basses I almost always try to talk the customer into a compound radius. I think this makes the left hand root position more comfortable. It also makes the right hand more even with less elevation change between strings, and I personally like this.
    I usually use a low ange block plane to rough out the radius, starting at the ends with the correct respective radii. Then when I get a little closer I use a long flat block with 60 grit paper to refine it even more. From there it's just a matter of moving up through the grits and continuously checking your progress with gages and a straight edge.
    Eventually I plan to make a jig to sand them on the belt sander. That should speed things up considerably.
    Good luck.