Fender neck radius question

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by descendent22, Jul 23, 2018.


  1. descendent22

    descendent22

    Jul 29, 2015
    Connecticut
    So I prefer jazz bass necks. I've only owned modern C at 9.5 radius.i could never feel 100% comfortable playing.However I have tried out 7.25 radius and found it more suitable and comfortable for my playing. Is it just in my head or is there a big difference in those specs?
     
  2. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Just because it's happening in your head doesn't mean it's not real.
    -paraphrased from J.K.Rowling

    Some players are very sensitive to the fingerboard radius. Others don't care. The only thing that is important is what you think.

    Shorter radii make it easier to play chords. Some players think it makes it easier to find the strings under the left hand without looking. People who started on double bass are more comfortable with it.

    Longer radii (flatter fingerboards) are touted by many as being quicker to play. Some feel that it makes it easier to play across the strings and makes skipping strings a breeze.

    Then again, many players who are now revered were able to play quickly and accurately on Fender guitars made before they lengthened the radius.

    Folks who own(ed) a lot of different basses seem to care less. But some think radius is very important.

    So again, it all comes down to what you prefer.
     
  3. 7.25 feels best to me too, but it's a marginal thing and I wouldn't be able to tell you exactly why.
     
  4. linda mitchell

    linda mitchell

    Jan 23, 2019
    Seattle
    Hi, so the larger the number on radius, the "thinner" (not narrow-wise) the neck is to "grip"? So my fender P is 9.5 and I love the feel, so 7.5 would be "thicker"? Thank you for sharing your knowledge...
     
  5. No, the lower the radius number, the rounder the fretboard. The "roundness" refers to the cross section of the neck from a fretboard perspective, if that makes sense.

    7.25" is the classic radius, most Fenders are 9.5" now. 12 and 14" are a common option on more "modern" basses - these have a flatter fretboard.

    The width (from E to G) is referred to as the nut width ie. literally the width of the nut at the headstock end. These days, 1.5" is the classic Jazz nut width, Precision basses vary from 1.62" to 1.75" depending on the model.
     
  6. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    No, the thickness of the neck (front to back, at the center) is not dependent on the fingerboard radius. A Fender with a 7 1/4" radius fingerboard will usually be about the same thickness as one with a 9 1/2" radius. However, the one with the 7 1/4" radius will feel a little bit smaller in circumference as you wrap your hand around it. Not a lot, but most players can feel the difference. Some players prefer flatter radius, some prefer rounder, many don't really care.

    Actually, the feel of your right hand is a bigger deal. With a 7 1/4" radius, the two center strings are raised up a little higher than the outer strings. Your plucking technique is changed. The rounder radius is usually preferred by players who dig in and pluck harder, old school bass style. The flatter radius is usually preferred by players who play lighter and faster, low action, hand flatter. It's a matter of taste and playing style.
     
    4sight likes this.
  7. linda mitchell

    linda mitchell

    Jan 23, 2019
    Seattle
    Thanks, I like it flatter, like my p bass, so I am still confused, is the larger number the flatter or rounder? And I play both, dig in and fast...but my right hand is never a problem if the strings aren't too close together. I came from classical guitar so my right hand can do just about anything I ask it to, fortunately!
     
  8. A larger number means a flatter fingerboard. For reference, modern Fender P basses have a 9.5" radius 'board.
     
  9. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Larger radius number is flatter; smaller number is rounder. A 20" radius or greater is almost flat. 9" to 14" are kind of medium radius. Less than 9" are round fingerboards. 7 1/4" is the classic 1960's era Fenders and most other basses of that era. Not many basses are made with smaller than 7 1/4" radius. I'm an exception off in the exotic territory; I make one of my Scroll Basses with a 4" radius.
     
  10. linda mitchell

    linda mitchell

    Jan 23, 2019
    Seattle
    yay, thank you!!
     
  11. linda mitchell

    linda mitchell

    Jan 23, 2019
    Seattle
    you got it right on thank you
     
  12. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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