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Flat or Radius Fretboard?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by poptart, Dec 19, 2006.

  1. poptart

    poptart Commercial User

    Sep 13, 2005
    Owner: Bass Direct
    I am having a custom 5 string singlecut bass built by Alan at AC guitars (see link below) and one of the options is to have a flat fingerboard. Alan is also offering 16", 20" and 24". My current basses, Roscoes, have 16" radius, I believe, and I find that very comfortable.

    However I have been checking out a few threads here on TB and there seems to be a consensus with users of flat boards that they really enjoy them, and that they seem to have various advantages.

    Does anyone have any advise please as I am keen to try the flat radius but have never done so yet. Are there any disadvantages or problems with a flat radius? What are the benefits?

    Any help/advise would be greatly appreciated:)
  2. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    Go to a GC or other store with basses and try out different ones.

    I was going to make a guitar myself, but then I realized I only had 1 to have any comparison from, so I didn't know if I liked radiused boards or not, etc.

    Your best bet is to try them out. Obviously at first it will feel different, but the goal is to see if you could even get used to them or not. My SX fretted one has a really small curve, so it's probably like a 24" and my fretless Dean has a flat fingerboard. I do enjoy playing on my fretless more because I just find it easier to hold down the strings, probably due to the curve. Or maybe because it's fretless... :confused:

    So yeah, try them out. I don't know if you can do this, but have him post-pone doing the fingerboard until you can get a feel for other radii.
  3. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    EBMMs have a 11" radius. It looks funny on paper, but for some reason it feels incredible. I can't say I've played a more comfortable neck than a Sterling neck. I also enjoy the necks on the Ibanez SR3000e Prestige series (you know, the mahogany bodied, wenge/bubinga necked beauties that they discontinued, even though it was the best product theyve had in years.) Unfortunately, Ibanez isnt great about communicating their bass specs to the public, regarding radius.

    I tihnk I like a little more curve in general. 11-16" radius feels comfortable, as well as anything below that. To me, the fret size seems to be more important than the fingerboard radius.
  4. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    That is really a personal preference.

    After trying anything from 7.5" to 16", I have seetled for 9.5" or 11" - Anything flatter I don't find comfortable.

    I found that I like the little fret buzz I get when bending the strings with rounder radius, which you don't get with flatter radius.
  5. poptart

    poptart Commercial User

    Sep 13, 2005
    Owner: Bass Direct
    I am not sure what basses if any have flat radius necks - but I agree that it would be a good idea to try one out. I have some time before I need to make that decision so am tring to get some more info - thanks for the comments.
  6. Ten Four One

    Ten Four One

    Dec 5, 2006
    +1 Fig, MM's have great necks.

    I suspect the Geddy Lee has (almost?) no radius, or an incredibly thin/flat back profile. Whatever it is, I can't stand it.
  7. bassjigga


    Aug 6, 2003
    I know Tripster's got a couple Alembics with flat radiased fingerboards. His fretted 8 and a fretless 5. I can't really comment since I've never played a flat board. Maybe he'll drop in. From what I hear, the main benefit is in tapping.
  8. Human Bass

    Human Bass

    Aug 26, 2005
    Well...if it is a 4-string, almost nobody can tell the difference between 20 or a 24 radius.
  9. bassman10096


    Jul 30, 2004
    Good advice if you are not sure. Seems like a basic matter of taste, though I have heard slappers say they preferred a flat board. I prefer 9 or 10 inch myself. As best I can tell, the reason they feel more comfortable to me is that I have short fingers. The curvature seems to make it more natural (and less of a stretch) to arch my fingers (to play cleanly on fingertips) on the D and G string side. Of course it makes it harder to do that on the other side of the board, but that doesn't seem as big a problem.
  10. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    Zombie thread, I know. I just stumbled on it whilst searching for benefits of flat radius. I had to comment as I couldn't help chuckling at the idea of the OP going to GC, what with him being based in the UK. And, although maybe not at the time of posting, owner of the largest specialist bass shop in the country. :D

    I've recently got a flat radius ACG and find it very comfortable. (Sorry Mark, if you stocked ACGs I'd have bought it through you!)
  11. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I can't see GC having anything on the walls with more than a 16" or 20" radius, unless they've got some used piece. The 16 or 20 I'm thinking of is a Jackson.

    The Geddy has a 9.5" radius like most modern Fenders.
  12. vince a

    vince a

    Jun 13, 2006
    Modesto, CA
    I like a 9.5 radius, so when I purchased my Lakland JO 5 string, it felt comfortable and familiar to me, as it has a 10" to 13" compound radius . . . it's pretty difficult to actually feel a few inch differences between various basses . . . compounds included . . .

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