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Fingerboards with no radius

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Peter Parker, Mar 26, 2004.


  1. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker Banned

    Jun 10, 2001
    I recently played a bass with absolutely no fingerboard radius i.e. it was completely flat. I expected not to like it at all but instead found it very easy to play. It was a 5 string with a wide neck. I typically don't like a Fender like radius, it feels a little too round, but most everything I own has a 16 degree and though rather flat compared to a Fender it still has a good bit of curve. Has anyone else played something like this and if so what are your thoughts? My hands are kind of big so that may help to explain why it was comfortable.
     
  2. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Hey Peter,

    Flat boards are a really cool thing. People can't imagine until they try them. I had the opportunity to do a flat board on Jérôme Wolf 7 string Zia and I'll be doing it again on his next 7 string fretless. Also, William who tried Jérome's bass ordered his 6 string with flat radius too!!

    I really find falt to be more comfortable and quicker to play.

    Peace,
    JP
     
  3. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker Banned

    Jun 10, 2001
    Thanks for the reply, JP. I knew you had done one on a 7 string with success but I how do you imagine it would feel on a fretted 5 string? I liked it enough that I'm considering it for my next bass.
     
  4. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE

    Go for it Peter, you wont regret your choice!

    Peace,
    JP
     
  5. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    To my experience, quite good.
    BassLab makes flat boards as standard, and it works great. If you are not too much into thin bassball bats (round on both sides ;) ). Personally, I liked it so much that it is from now on the style of all my basses. And, for that matter, my guitars :eek:
     
  6. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    haha

    I didn't notice that Heiko was doing flat boards!! I need to check that on thursday. We will have some nice party in frankfurt!!!!!

    Peace,
    JP
     
  7. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Taking this idea a step further: does anyone think a bass with a concave board will ever be made? Think about the arc described by the fingertips when playing... a concave radius makes ergonomic sense. I thought of it first! (I think...)
     
  8. Acepiloto

    Acepiloto

    Aug 25, 2000
    Actually, the first time I played an instrument with a flat board (not a bass, but my friends NS Stick) I thought that it was concave. I do want a bass with a flat board, but I'm poor, so Leo Fender designs for me! (not that it's a bad thing)
     
  9. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    I had the same thought when I played a classical guitar. (And Fenders are cool!)
     
  10. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Hmm, I have never used degrees to measure fretboard curve. How does 16 degrees compare to, say, the 7.5 inch radius on my P bass?
     
  11. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    Umm..how could you play chords comfortably if at all?
     
  12. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    You could measure what length of arc a fretboard traced out in degrees, but only if you picked a particular fret to measure it at, only after you had determined the radius, and it still would be a nearly meaningless description. I'm certain he actually meant 16" radius.
     
  13. Aaron

    Aaron

    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    I played a bass with a flat board once and really enjoyed it. Another great thing is that setups are easy. Just find where you want the E and G string and whip out a ruler.
     
  14. SharkB8

    SharkB8

    May 29, 2002
    NorCal
    That's the whole theory behind scalloped fretboards. Been done for years on guitar. Between the frets the fretboard is scalloped out so that you never actually touch the fretboard. Yngvie Malmsteem (sp?) has sworn by this for years.....IMHO, IMRC....YMMV...(all other applicable disclaimers)
     
  15. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    The drawback of scalloped fretboards is that if you do not have a light touch you will push the notes out of tune!
     
  16. SharkB8

    SharkB8

    May 29, 2002
    NorCal
    Absolutely agree. I've witnessed that 1st hand...but if you can somehow harness all your enthusiasm (esp. during live performances) you can fly around the fretboard like nobody's business!
     
  17. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    12" is far from flat to me. I use 16" and yu can definitely still FELL the curve. 18" or 20" starts to fell flat ;)

    Please let us know how the hotwire plays...

    Peace,
    JP
     
  18. brock29609

    brock29609 4 strings, 2 wheels

    May 11, 2003
    Greenville, SC
    I always thought I preferred the flatter 12 and 14" radius boards, until I played a 62 RI Jazz with a 7.5" radius. Man, it played like a dream.
     
  19. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    According to Jon Shuker, my basses have a 36" FB radius. Still not fully flat, but pretty close. Feels great to me too. That could be partly because I started out on, and still play, nylon-string guitar. In any case, works for me.
     
  20. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    36" :eek:

    I need to confirm that with Jon...looks weird to me. in fact 36" is almost dead flat considering the width of a bass fingerboard.


    Peace,
    JP