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Let's talk radius

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by bassteban, Jul 5, 2005.

  1. What do you like & why? Advantage/disadvantages to particular radii? What is better for chording, slap, fingerstyle, etc?
    Edit: Let's not forget fretless!
  2. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I like flat myself. I don't know what it's better for, but I like the feel. I guess a really large radius would be alright as well.
  3. I believe a larger radius would lean more towards 'flat', whereas a tighter radius would be more visibly curved- so 'large radius' & 'flat' seem to me to mean more or less the same thing. Of course I may be completely on bad crack...
  4. My first bass had a 40" radius fboard. That feels flat enough. My latest one has a flat board, they both feels about the same.
  5. My favorite radius is the earlier Fender 7.25". After that I like 12". But I play 4's. Tight radii like those would be impractical with extended range instruments because it would add considerably to the stretch.
  6. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I have made the last 10 or so of mine with a 14" radius block. It feels good to me..t
  7. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    By flat I mean infinite radius, or no curvature to the board. And I'm also fairly familiar with the geometry of circles.;)
  8. I think I misunderstood. Happens all the time, according to my wife. :rolleyes:

    BTW, I don't think I've ever seen a totally(or nearly so)flat finger- or fret- board. Is there a well-known, or common- so to speak- bass with such?
  9. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    3" all the way, baby! Well, at least for my EUB.

    Beyond that 12" seems to work for the fours, and I don't waste my time with all these extra strings.

  10. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    JP Basses are flat. I'm not sure of any others, but I'm sure they're out there.
  11. Most (if not all) classical guitars use a flat fingerboard. That's what I tried to achieve on my first bass. I liked it so much that I built a couple more using flat. Try one on your next bass. They're surprisingly comfortable. After all, you can always defret, radius and refret.
  12. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    14" radius for me. Not too arched, not too flat.
  13. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    FLAT indeed for me.
  14. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    I like a 16 for 5 strings, 20 for ERBs. My six will have a 20-flat compound whenever I get done with the "Honey-Do-List"...
  15. -any comments on fretless radius(or perhaps the lack thereof)?
  16. DrSmaggs


    Oct 15, 2003
    Endorsing Artist:
    I prefer a semi thin neck with a pretty much flat fingerboard... that way if I decide to bend a string, the arch on the fingerboard doesn't cause the note to deaden (I prefer VERY low action, just low enough that you get no buzz)
  17. parttimeluthier


    May 7, 2005
    Wow, I can't believe so many people like flat fretboards! For me I want my bass to feel like a bass not a classical guitar with their dead flat and wide fretboards. I guess I'm just too "old school".... but 12" radius has always done it for me. Obviously on a 6 string or higher bass it would have to be flat or nearly so.

  18. You and me PTL, you and me... :D
  19. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I assure you that my basses feel like basses and not classical guitars. The giant strings, wide spacing and long scale length are a dead giveaway. ;)
  20. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    As I've spent most of my playing history on an old ugly p-bass, I find the shorter radii more comfortable and "familiar". Flat or large radius fingerboards feel weird to me.

    On my basses I build and sell, standard on my 4 strings and 5 strings if you don't ask otherwise is 12", with a choice of 12", 16", or 20" as options. I can do compound but haven't had that requested yet.

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