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Compound Radius Necks

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Philibuster, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. Philibuster

    Philibuster Supporting Member

    So I'm curious to see the consensus on compound radius necks. I'm interested to try the new Fender Dimension and Vintage Hot Rod P and don't know anything about compound radius necks. I'm assuming they start at the lower number toward the nut and increase as you reach the neck socket.

    Are these typically comfortable to play? I know that's a subjective question but I can't help but wonder since all I know are the standard necks with one radius.

    Thanks in advance for the help!
  2. WretchedExcess


    Jul 29, 2013
    Compound radius is typically rounder near the nut, and flatter as you go up the neck.

    This can be a very significant to guitarists. Down near the nut the rounder radius makes chords easy to fret, while up the neck the flatter radius facilitates string bending without having the note "fret out."

    I've never played a bass with a compound radius. I can see that it would be really handy for guitar, but I'm not so sure how useful I'd find it for bass. Maybe someone else can explain why people bother with a compound radius for basses.
  3. P Town

    P Town

    Dec 7, 2011
    I bought two new Fender Am Dlx basses in the last two years, (a P, and a J),which have compound radius necks. If I had not read about the compound radius feature before playing these, I would not have recognized that the design is different than my other basses. So to me, the effect is subtle. I have read that one effect of the compound radius is to allow bending of notes without fret buzzing. This would be more evident on a guitar, than a bass for the way I play. I will say, that these basses play really nice, so maybe the compound radius design contributes to the overall feel. The action can be set very low, as well. I don't know if the design contributes to that, or not. Don't expect it to make a big difference in the way a bass plays. But do expect it to contribute to the overall feel of the instrument. There are a lot of great basses out there that do not have a compound radius finger board design. If I was buying another new Fender, I would consider it to be a desirable feature, but not a deal breaker for an instrument with a lot of other things going for it. So, to answer one of your questions, yes, my two basses with compound radius necks are very comfortable to play. Is it because of the compound radius? I don't know if I can confirm that from my experience.
  4. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    I have a couple compound radius necks. I love them. They're comfortable in all positions, but its combined with also being compound/asymmetric neck profile as well. One of them is compound radius, compound profile, compound scale length, compound headstock angle.
  5. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I love my Modulus' with their compound radius.. 10 to 16 degree's I believe. The play extremely well and are very comfortable. That is about the only difference. Both my Bassstar and my Genesis have the compound radius. None of my other basses do and when I play them, maybe because I am used to them, I don't really notice on a short 2 hour set. 4 or 5 hour sets and my compound radius necks seem to keep me feeling a little less fatigued. Could be coincidence though.
  6. Randyt

    Randyt RAAPT Custom Wood Productions

    Jul 21, 2010
    Barrie, Canada
    my custom FBASS's (AC6's) all have 17-22" radius...much easier for soloing and chording...I find it very comfortable specially with a six string...I highly recommend it
  7. no point on a bass, IMO.

    The whole concept is for the ease of chords down low and no fretting out bends up high.
  8. Hans Gruber

    Hans Gruber

    Jun 18, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Carey Nordstrand had some good things to say on it.

    "The compound radius is a better idea - playability is improved because the taper of the neck and the path of the strings is better matched by a truncated cone shape than a cylinder. I don't believe I can make a bass play as well with a straight radius."
  9. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    Earlier this year I played an American Deluxe Jazz V a few times and it has the most comfortable neck I have ever found on a fiver. That neck is compound radius and it has an asymmetric back. I could not tell you how much either of those features contributes to the overall effect, only that I liked it a lot.
  10. zortation


    Dec 26, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I have bass with a 10-14" compound radius and I like it. But I think I agre with another poster that when you have a fairly large radius to begin with, there isn't much point in the whole concept. I prefer more vintage necks.

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