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Fingerboard: Radiused or Flat???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by larrytron, Jul 10, 2004.

  1. Sorry if it has been discussed before, I made a search but I couldn't find an answer.
    I'd like to know the advantages and disadvantages of a flat fb over a radiused one.
    Thanks a lot.
  2. In my experience, a flat fingerboard facilitates a more notey horizontal approach, while a radiused fingerboard will allow more cross string playing. These are just generalizations on my part.
    Also a radiused f.b. usually provides a meatier tone due to the extra wood. Hope this helps :)
  3. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    To me, a flat fingerboard just makes sense. It makes tapping, barring, and raking much easier. If the body doesn't facilitate playing arco, then why should my neck and bridge?
  4. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I just prefer the feel of a mostly flat board. I think my 2 basses have 20" radius.... Perfect to me :bassist:

    They are plenty meaty too. It's the total construction not the extra 1/16" strip up the middle of the board that dictates tone IMHO/E
  5. Cliff Bordwell

    Cliff Bordwell Commercial User

    Jan 6, 2004
    USA , Orlando , Florida
    Owner of CB BASSES
    JP from JP Basses has done a few flat FBs and he said he really likes them.
    He will hopefully see this and give you some of his thoughts on the feel and playability.
  6. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Um... no.

    Lets even pretend that fretboard wood changes the tone noticably (that's a whole different debate). The amount of wood lost when you radius is no less than when you roll the freboard edges, or cut the fret slots. And less than even a single J pup in the body (especially if it's a neck through).

    I think radius has ZERO effect on the sound. Playability, yes, but "meatier tone?" No.
  7. I know that JP loves flat fb's. He's gonna build a fretless for me:hyper: :cool: .
    In term of playability(not talking 'bout the sound ), is the only difference be in the horizontal or vertical approach?
    Of course, I'm gonna ask JP what he thinks about it(even if I already know...[quote JP] Flat RULEZ!!!
  8. Yeah, I would also think that flat fingerboards have more wood than radiused.
  9. Thee


    Feb 11, 2004
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    Flatter is better for my chording techniques. My stubby fingers have trouble with fatigue when I'm trying to make chord shapes with a radius too small. Even though it's popular opinion, in the guitar world at least, that it's small radius for chording, large radius for lead work.
  10. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    For my in-progress new bass, I chose flat fingerboard. Mainly because I saw no reason to have it radiused.

    It'll be a 7 stringer, by the way.
  11. i'll go against the grain and say that i love a good radius. it just feels right, and never gets in the way in the rare instances that i play chords.
  12. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    My first project bass is an unlined flat radius fingerboard. I decided to have it be flat since ,honestly, i didn't want to attempt to radius a fingerboard. Sorta odd reason to go flat-but it is my choice. I'll post a review once the bass is completed on my website and i'll update my threads here. With that being said-the next 2 projects are both having a 12inch radius on them. [one fretted, one fretless both Pau Ferro]. I like how my Ray5's fingerboard plays better than my Pilot Plus 5. I think that has more to do w/width at the nut vs. fingerboard radius though. That's all