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Fret board radius

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by theshadow2001, Feb 7, 2006.

  1. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    When I de fret my bass I was wondering if it actually matter what size radius block I use. I think the radius of my fret board is around 9.5 or 10 inches but Im really not fussed about what it ends up as. Its a piece of crap bass really. So does it matter what radius I use or is it any way imperative to stick to the boards existing radius.
  2. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    im assuming youre going to try and file the frets down to the fretboard and just the metal things as fretlines? please dont.

    haha im not an expert on the topic but i think its easier and looks better if you pull out the frets and then fill them with wood filler.

    about the fretboard, do you want to stick to your current radius? then you can use either a flat sanding block or one that matches your radius.
  3. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    Assuming that your fingerboard has a consistent radius you will save yourself a lot of work and end up with a better fingerboard if you get a block to match the current radius. Otherwise You will be removing more of the center of the board if the block radius is flatter, or more from the edges if it is rounder. And that means that you run more of a risk of making the board uneven.

    If you have some stiff paper or thin cardboard you can make radius gauges with a compass and an exacto blade.
  4. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    Filing down the frets seems like a bad idea for many reasons. Im planning to pull the frets and replace them with a wood veneer.

    I've tried making radius gauges from cardboard but I've had trouble seeing if a ten inch or twelve inch radius block would do the job. They both seem not to fit quite right but that maybe due to inconsistencies on the card gauges I made. Or maybe it's an 11" radius which doesnt seem to be much good because I can't get an 11" radius block from Stew Mac
  5. Kronos


    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    Is it possible that you have a compound radius on your fretboard? (flatter on the higher frets, rounder on the lower ones?)
  6. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    Absolutely its possible, whether or not its likely is another question though. How could I tell if its a compound radius? And how would it affect my methods of sanding the neck? Its probably a cheap enough jazz copy. I got it for £80 off of a friend.Its made by a manufacturer called legend ive never heard of them. These cheap instruments usually don't have a compound radius board. If it is compound will this cause further issues if I change it to a single radius?
  7. jeffhigh


    May 16, 2005
    for what you are doing you don't need a radius block.
    just use a 40x19 x450 long straight dressed timber (check it with a straight edge) with abrasive paper glued to the edge.
    run it parallel to the neck and gradually move it across the neck so that you sand evenly across the width.
    It is more important to be straight along the neck than work to a radius.
  8. +1
  9. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    Are those dimension mm or 16ths? I would imagine that I would be more likely to take whatever radius thats is on it off the fretboard using this method since my wood working skills are hardly quite up to scratch. I think doing this would require having a feel for what your sanding or some sort of intuition which Im sure I lack whilst a radius block would keep a certain radius and seems a more straight forward way of doing it. Any thoughts?
  10. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Setup and repair/KRUTZ Strings
    Jeffhigh and Hambone are right. I defretted my bass recently and I actually used a 3/4 x 1 1/2 inch block about 18 inches long with first 180 grit working up to 320 on it. I sanded lengthwise being sure to sand the same amount across the radius. A metal yardstick was the reference.
    It now plays with very low action with no buzz.

    The defret wasn't too bad.
    1. warm iron set on the frets to loosen them
    2. butter knife
    3. I used plastic wood, but veneer strips would look better.
    4. adjust the truss rod to make the neck as straight as possible
    5. sand smooth and straight.
    There were only a couple of frets with minimal tearout. The others came out cleanly.
  11. jeffhigh


    May 16, 2005
    Yes , dimensions in millimetres basically the same as the inches size clink mentioned.
    It is not hard and will get you a better reult than using a short radius block.
    Think of it this way, the strings do not know what radius is beside them, but they will protest if the area between your finger and the bridge has dips and humps.
  12. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    This is a valid point. Plus I would be saving a small fortune by not having to order a radius block from the states. Ok I'll give it a go and see what happens. If it doesn't work out to well I can always try the other way.