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Is fret radius an issue for you?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DavidEdenAria, Apr 18, 2021.

  1. DavidEdenAria


    Dec 13, 2013
    On a Hill
    Curious..... Have a friend with an old Musicmaster bass and i get the feeling the 7 1/4" radius is an issue.

    Is there any way to compensate playing say a 7 1/4" radius bass when you are used to a flatter radius?
  2. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    I highly suspect other ergonomic factors contribute far more to make that bass less playable than a P, J, Stingray, Spector NS, Ibanez SR, Warwick Thumb, or any other bass that has sold 100x what quantities Musicmasters sold in than the fretboard radius.

    There shouldn’t be any need to compensate for a delta z of less than 1mm.
  3. DavidEdenAria


    Dec 13, 2013
    On a Hill
    Well, we're dealing with small hands....im wondering if another setup with different strings (something in flats or maybe tapes or pressurewounds) would help?
  4. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    I know it is for some. I notice it more with guitar than bass due to the way I make chords but I feel like I could adjust to any bass if I need to. I think I’ve owned a wide variety of instruments such that I never drew a hard line in front of some parameters. Growing up with violin I suppose it’s likely that I picked up a bass and it was a massive neck by comparison and so much wider radius that other basses seemed ‘in range’ as I became more of a bassist.
  5. Tubehed


    Oct 27, 2011
    I prefer a radius in the 9.5" to 14" range with 12" being optimal for me. As others have pointed out, other factors are involved in what ultimately makes a neck comfortable to play. But, yeah, I generally like a somewhat flatter than vintage fretboard. For example, some people don't like that the Fender AO models don't feature a true vintage spec Fender radius. For me, the flatter, more modern radius was huge selling point.
  6. ajkula66


    Sep 23, 2016
    The short answer: yes, it is an issue and a very important one at that.

    The long(er) answer: This was not always the case. In my younger years I used to just pick up and instrument and play it, be it bass or a guitar and not care. The aging process, however, has done its part in more ways than just one and nowadays 12" works the best for me, by far. I own a total of two instruments that sport a different radius - one guitar and one bass - where the bass got zero playtime over the past couple of months and is actually on consignment sale in a local shop right now.For whatever reason, it's easier for me to tolerate a smaller radius on a guitar than it is on bass.

    My $0.02 only...
  7. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    It can certainly have a huge psychosomatic effect on playing.
  8. felis


    Jul 31, 2013
    Midwest, USA
    If it's not 9.5", I don't even consider it.
  9. SJan3


    Dec 8, 2010
    9.5" to 10" I have a narrow comfort zone.
    bobyoung53, Winton and DavidEdenAria like this.
  10. vaesto


    Jun 21, 2010
    I'll be the one who prefers 7 1/4. I've even re-shaped the neck of my beater bass to even rounder radius. For me it is more natural curve for fingers to follow. Besides neck itself feels somethat thinner. I dont play slap or chords though.
  11. Real Soon

    Real Soon

    Aug 15, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Musicmasters are like Mustangs in that they, well, ARE Mustangs in the body shape. And that body doesn't have any back contour, and for some, access to the neck can be affected by having to change how the bass sits on the player's torso.

    That said, I firmly believe that if a player likes a certain bass and isn't hampered by direct physical/ortho limitations, they can adjust to it with some time and work. If the player doesn't like the bass enough to spend that kind of time on it, then choosing another bass may be the best course.
  12. DavidEdenAria


    Dec 13, 2013
    On a Hill
    Good point about the lack of contour!
    20GLJazz likes this.
  13. SLPimp

    SLPimp An Injury to One is an Injury to All Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2020
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    Yes, move your fingers from fret to fret, pressing gently to change pitch.
    96tbird, 31HZ, salcott and 2 others like this.
  14. Bassiclees

    Bassiclees Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2020
    On a guitar i notice it much more. Aerodyne necks are 7.25 but it feels right on that instrument, perhaps because of the other contours. Squier Contemporary is 14 and feels awesome. I've grown to enjoy the differences, it's part of the character of each but, yes, for sure it makes a difference in feel.
    Skillet likes this.
  15. Skillet

    Skillet Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    Yeah my Aerodyne neck is a favorite. To be honest, I never pick it up and go HEY this is 7.25" instead of 9.5".
    andruca and DavidEdenAria like this.
  16. PWRL


    Sep 15, 2006
    Sometimes I think it is, and sometimes I think it's just in my head.
    DavidEdenAria likes this.
  17. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    I must not have the gene for sensetivity to fingerboard radius. I not only have no idea what the radius of any of my basses is, but I couldn't even tell you whether one is flatter or rounder than another.

    I remember when I was an undergrad 40+ years ago I was playing my Peavey T-40 in an ensemble and the professor wanted to show me something so I gave him my bass to demonstrate, and after a single chorus he stopped playing and asked "Wow, how can you play a bass with such a flat fingerboard?"

    I shrugged and said "I didn't realize it was flat."
  18. blowinblue

    blowinblue Kind of not blue. Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2006
    SoCal USA
    I'm not sensitive to fret and fingerboard radius. What really drives me nuts is fret sweat. I can't stand fret sweat. :nailbiting:

    M. M. :)
    DavidEdenAria likes this.
  19. Plain Old Barry

    Plain Old Barry Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2018
    I think you either get used to it, or not...

    I prefer sharper radius bass necks, but I actually like flatter guitar necks. I'm a bass player that pays a bit of guitar, not the normal other direction player. I love narrow, deep radius necks on bass, but flatter guitar necks are easier to me for chording.

    Either way, I think we all find what we like and pursue it, playing style and favorite genres have a lot to do with it.
    DavidEdenAria likes this.
  20. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    My smallest is probably the BB, flattest is like 40" over six strings. I'm getting my new 6 with a totally flat board. On 4 strings I don't really notice.
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