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Fretboard radius: Fender vs. sadowsky

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jnewmark, Oct 18, 2010.


  1. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    Looking at some Sadowsky Metro basses, I noticed that they have a 12" fretboard radius, while the American Standard Jazz has a 9" radius. Am I going to really notice the difference on the Sadowsky,as far as left hand comfort and feel ? Any comments, pro or con welcome.
     
  2. SnakeKappele

    SnakeKappele

    Sep 20, 2010
    I doubt it. If you draw a circle with a radius of 12", the arc is that of the 12" radius fingerboard and the same with 9".

    The 12" is just a little flatter.
     
  3. Mr Guy

    Mr Guy

    Sep 27, 2010
    Flatter radii allow for better string to string balance I find. If I set the strings up to follow the radius on my old jazz bass (7.25 I think), the A and D are considerably further away from the pole pieces.
     
  4. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I much prefer a flatter fretboard radius, but not everyone does. It's a very personal thing.
     
  5. colcifer

    colcifer Esteemed Nitpicker Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    A Galaxy Far, Far Away
    Which is why predominantly the middle pole pieces are higher (though I couldn't say whether they are on a Sad).
     
  6. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    HI

    All the 5 string Sadowsky's are 12 degree. Most of the 4 strings are also except for the UV metros and the UV NYC's. They are both 9 degree. 12 degree is flatter

    Rob
     
  7. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    For some it matters, for some it doesn't. I used to alternate between my Sadowsky and Fender fivers with no difficulty. Now I'm with Sadowsky pretty much full-time.

    For awhile I owned a Warwick Streamer Stage I fiver that had a 20" radius board, as I recall... the flattest I've played! Felt fine to me.
     
  8. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    Thanks for the replies. I would be getting a 4 stringer Metro, but since I've always played Fender Jazz basses, it seemed like a big difference, at least on paper.
     
  9. I find that I prefer the flatter radius, but I can pretty easily adjust to either. After a while of playing, you'll likely not notice the difference.
     
  10. mstott25

    mstott25

    Aug 26, 2005
    Guntersville, AL
    I think you'd notice a bigger difference in comparing two 5 strings. I never owned a 4 string Sadowsky, I owned a 5 string and loved the feel of the neck. When I played a 4 string Metro and A/B'd it with my Fender Jazz I noticed a difference but only because I was sitting there going back and forth. IMO the Sadowsky radius (and the flatter back of the neck) make for a much more comfortable feeling neck.
     
  11. Mr Guy

    Mr Guy

    Sep 27, 2010
    Off the top off my head I can't think of any drop in single coil replacement pickups that have raised inner pole pieces and I've I think tried them all...
     
  12. Musicfreak1988

    Musicfreak1988

    Feb 2, 2005
    Belgium
    Actually, when you go 4-string and NYC, you have the choice between 9" or 12" (and 20 or 21 frets FWIW).
    Furthermore, they can make a copy of a specific neck (this is an upcharge, though).
     
  13. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    HI

    Im talking standard necks on the NYC's. You can order either 12 or 9 but 12 is standard on all NYC's except for UV's

    Rob
     
  14. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Philadelphia
    My main basses are a 2003 MIA Fender Jazz with the 9.5" radius, and two G&L's with 1.5" nut width and 12" radius, one of which is a new JB that has a neck more like a Fender Jazz than older G&L's. The G&L's have slightly better playability IMO, which I think is mostly due to Plek fret levelling, but I think the flatter radius plays a role too. I switch back and forth, no problem, and don't think the radius alone is a big deal. It's really a matter of preference. I generally don't like the vintage 7.25" or 7.5" radii.

    I agree with the poster above who said you'll notice the difference more on a five (or six) string, where the flatter radius affects playability more. I love my Fender Jazz V, but think it would be better with an 11" or 12" radius.
     
  15. +1 to all the above. You really notice the difference of the standard Sadowsky 12" radius on the wider 5 string neck, versus, for example, the 10" radius on the Alleva-Coppolo 5's. For 4 strings, 12 versus 9 doesn't feel massively different to me, but for those who find the vintage radius more to their liking, it is a no cost option (I believe) for the NYC basses.
     
  16. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    I prefer more curvature, and flatter fingerboards feel uncomfortable to me. But as you can see from this thread, flatter fingerboards get lots of love, too. It truly is a personal thing.

    Still, fingerboard radius is has a relatively minor impact on feel. You're far more likely to notice the differences in neck profile, how the fret edges are finished, etc., between the Sadowsky and the Fender.
     
  17. lx_night

    lx_night

    Sep 3, 2008
    Oklahoma city
    i own an Am Dlx and a Sadow (both 5'ers) and yes the necks are very diffrent. i had been playing my Fender only for about three years beofre i got my Sadow (i was really used to the Fender)

    I thought it would be a big deal that the Sadow had a larger neck but it definatelly feels more comfrtable than my Fender. 9sounds great too!)
     
  18. vince a

    vince a

    Jun 13, 2006
    Modesto, CA
    I also alternate - between a Fender MIA (9.5 inch radius) 4 string and an Ibanez 5 string (16 inch radius), and though I noticed it when I first picked up the 5 string, now I don't even notice that difference . . .
     
  19. Sadowsky

    Sadowsky Commercial User

    Nov 1, 2000
    New York City
    Owner: Sadowsky Guitars Ltd.
    We offer a choice of 9" or 12" radius on our 4 string basses. We only offer 12" on our 5 strings.

    Roger
     
    navijaz likes this.

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