Difference Between Neck Width and Fingerboard Radius?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by reel big bassist, Nov 30, 2001.

  1. reel big bassist

    reel big bassist

    Mar 27, 2000
    Wasup everyone,
    I have a MIM Jazz Bass, and I'm looking into buying a replacement neck for it.
    Before I buy a new neck, I have a few questions.

    -What is the difference between neck width, and fingerboard radius? On Fender's site it says that my neck has a fingerboard radius of 9.5, and on the warmoth site, it says their neck has a fingerboard radius of 10. Will their be a noticible difference?

    - I'm struggling between 3 different neck finishes: Clear Gloss, Clear Satin, and Vintage Yellow.
    I like the Finish on my Jazz now, which I think is like a Clear Gloss. On the other hand, I love the finish on a Music Man Sterling's neck, which is a satin finish. So, I'm not sure which one I should get.

    When I played a G&L L-2000 with a Gun Oil Tint Finish(which is similar in color to the vintage yellow finish warmoth offers) it seemed a little bit stickier than G&L's standard finish. Would Warmoth's Vintage yellow finish, be "stickier" than their clear gloss finish?

    Greg P
  2. BoogieNight


    Jun 15, 2001
    The neck width is measured as if you put a ruler across your neck measuring the distance between the upper and lower edges.

    The radius tells you how much curvature exists on your fingerboard - lower radius mean greater curvature. So with higher radius you have a flattened fingerboard (as you see in five or six string basses). Beware: radius has nothing to do with neck bow. Neck bow is the curvature in a longitudinal, while radius is the curvature in a transversal aspect.

    Sorry if any mispelling here, hope i have helped. :)
  3. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    A way I've always thought about radius is if you were to take a protractor and draw a circle with a diameter of, say 20 inches, you'd have a radius of 10 inches (half the distance of the diameter, from geometry;)).

    The curvature of the circle with a radius of 10 inches is the same curvature of the fretboard with a radius of 10 inches.
  4. elwood

    elwood there is no spoo

    Jul 25, 2001
    Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    there's just slightly less curve on a 10" neck radius, and I can't tell any difference in feel myself between that and 9.5". Doubt you'd notice much difference yourself.

    The questions about neck finish are personal preference. Mine would be for clear satin. Safest bet, if you ask me. YMMV.

  5. reel big bassist

    reel big bassist

    Mar 27, 2000
    Greetings Everyone,

    Ok, just so I get this straight.
    When were talking about fingerboard radius, the smaller the number, the more curve a fingerboard will have. And the larger the number, the flatter a fingerboard will be, correct?

    Would that also hold true for neck radius?
    I.E. A neck with a radius of 8 would have more curve to it than a neck with a radius of 12.

    Greg P
  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Manufacturers don't usually publish a figure for neck radius. If they did, it would be a more conical radius like a compound radius fingerboard.
  7. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL