Effect of Neck Radius on P Basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Villanova, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. Villanova


    Nov 5, 2011
    Hey guys!

    I want to preface this by saying that I am a guitarist and builder interested in dabbling with bass playing. I've decided on a Precision Bass, with a 1962 P Bass being my dream bass.

    I started narrowing down parts and specs when I reached the question of neck radius. On guitars, the uses and traits of each radius is well known and well discussed.

    What does radius mean in terms of Precision basses? I know the 1962 basses were 7.25" and Fender transitioned to 9.5" and 10" later on (as modern P basses are now).

    Playability-wise, can I have some context for the differences?

    I'm not looking to become a professional. I'm interested in bass so I can record it on my own material. My genres are blues, rock, alternative rock.

    Thanks all for the help!
  2. I think it just comes down to personal preference. Guitar or bass, you're still pressing strings down on to frets with your fingers, and the various radii will have some affect on how that happens.

    I like a 12" radius, personally, but have no problem with other radii.
  3. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    All the physics are the same on bass as on guitar, with respect to radius. It's less of a practical issue for bass players, though, because fast soloing and big string bends are less common.

    In the end, each radius feels different and each player prefers a different feel.
  4. Groover


    Jun 28, 2005
    Ohio, USA
    I prefer the older/vintage style 7.5 radius on a precision neck. I think it gives me better control over muting notes and stuff on the fatter and wider P neck. I may prefer the more modern 9" (or is it 9.5"?) radius on the jazz neck though, but I'm just thinking out loud here so I may say something else tomorrow in that regards ;)

    If your dream bass is a 1962, then go with the 7.5 radius if you are building one. Might as well head that direction!
  5. Villanova


    Nov 5, 2011

    Looks wise, the '62 is it for me! I'm not so dedicated to staying true to spec if it'll lessen playability.

    I never thought about that. Tighter radius compliments a wider neck. Seems to make sense.

    With guitars:
    7.25" = vintage, old school feel. Easier for chording. Leads can fret out. Old fenders.

    9.5/10" = happy medium. Less curved board for chording but easier leads.

    16" = shredding territory.

    Can anything be said for 7.25" and 9.5" on bass?