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flat fingerboards Pro, Cons and thoughts on them

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by thebassbuilder, Apr 14, 2015.

  1. thebassbuilder


    Mar 7, 2012
    Spartanburg SC
    guitar builder, Meyers Guitars
    I see some people here and other Builders use a flat (No radius) fingerboard. How many of you have done this or played one and what do you think of it? I have always built my basses with a 16" radius and like it. The closest thing to flat I have played is Warwick which I think use a 20" radius. I do like the way they feel but has been a while. Tell me if it is better in any way or worst and if building this way what to look out for.
  2. michaelwayneharwood

    michaelwayneharwood Builder of the Wastelands Commercial User

    May 1, 2014
    Owner Melodious Resonance Constructs
    I build with flat fingerboards for all of my personal instruments. Going from a radiused board to flat has a bit of a transition period as it feels a first like the board is concave, but you get used to it quickly. I find that finger style playing is easier, but chords and arpeggios are initially more challenging as they take a slightly different approach. From a setup perspective bridge adjustments are easier in regards to action.

    I personally like them better than radiused boards.
  3. lukylutte


    Oct 14, 2004
    It's only a personal taste. I never liked small radius. I always end up holding the neck as a baseball bat. Also for playability for 5 and 6 strings the best to keep a good position is flat board with asymmetric neck.
    thebassbuilder likes this.
  4. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
    I've done them both ways, building flat is a bit easier, but for playing my own preference, I just didn't care for it.
    thebassbuilder likes this.
  5. Yaal


    Feb 12, 2015
    Montreal, Canada
    I did a flat fingerboard on my first build to make things simple and it turns out to be very pleasant to play. It is easier for me to play in the upper range with a flat fingerboard and to play chords. Otherwise I think it's a matter of taste but it's worth trying.
    thebassbuilder likes this.
  6. CHaoZ


    Jan 27, 2015
    Ashhurst ,NZ
    Can't even sell my stuff for what it costs in parts alone
    IMG_0947.JPG It's not flat ,the cool kids call it infinite radius :),I made an 8 string and didn't have a radius block wide enough - so it was kind of an experiment out of necessity ,the guy who now owns it loves it and said the radius and fanned frets were really not too hard to get used to and going between this and his Ibanez is easy
    thebassbuilder likes this.
  7. On most of my builds I make the fingerboard flat, purely based on my playing preference.
    As far as building goes there is no big difference, it's only marginally simpler to make a flat fingerboard, an advantage with a radiused fingerboard is that crowning the frets is easier to do.
    thebassbuilder likes this.

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