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No radius fingerboards? Anybody have one?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by tjclem, Aug 12, 2005.

  1. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I have never done or played one. Are they playable? :confused: The customer for the 6 string fretless is thinking about having me do it that way. I don't know if it is good idea....t
  2. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    The practice of a flat fingerboard (to which I assume you are referring) has been around for centuries. It is as old as the guitar itself.

    It's all a matter of preference. Although I have 12" radius boards on two of my basses (the third has a 7.25"), I happen to like the feel of the flat board. I think Spector uses a flat board. Just be sure to round the edges.
  3. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    yes I am refering to a flat fingerboard. I just was wondering if this was still done, if there were any disadvantages to it and what people thought of them...t
  4. Anyone who's played a Warwick prolly has played one.

    I love it.
  5. warwicks are not flat ...they have a big radius, but definetely not flat. Maybe they offer them as an option? Spectors are not flat either, they do have a very big radius, bigger than warwicks, but not flat (at least the ones I've owned, both Spector originals and Kramer era).

    JP is a big fan of the flat boards.
    I am too. In fact, I prefer them. I build my personal basses with a flat board. I hold the neck like a classical guitarrist holds the neck, so I'm quite comfortable with flat boards. Those that play with their thumb wrapped around the neck might not find it as nice.
  6. From what I've heard, it's kinda standard for Warwicks. Maybe my sources are tainted.

    I bought my Thumb used, and it is definitely sans radius.
  7. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    The JP fretless 6 I had had no radius. I loved it.

    The basses I'm building for myself also have no radius.
  8. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    I'm considering a flat fb for my next build. I've got a nice piece of acrylized bubinga for the fb on what will be a fretless 6, but was wondering if it wasn't such a goot idea sans-frets...
  9. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    Mine has a flat fingerboard. Plays very well.

    One thing to think about though. is that if you have many strings (I am thinking 6 and more) you'll basically have an inverse radius over the top of the strings, assuming they are all the same height over the fingerboard. Because the thick ones get much thicker as you go lower, and the thin ones doesn't get that much thinner as you go higher.
    Interesting, eh?
  10. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    San Antonio
    I think mine does, although when I eyeball it it looks like the bass and treble sides slope off a tiny tiny bit.

    How can I tell for sure what the radius is, if any?
  11. put a ruler on it, if it rocks, it has a radius.
  12. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    San Antonio
    Sorry, I actually meant, how do you measure what the radius is (if one)
  13. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Radius gauges.
  14. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Warwicks are definitely radiused. 400-600 mms, depending on model (16"-24"). If you are used to e.g. Fender, a wide Warwick would feel flat. If you're used to flat, you wonder about the extreme curvature... ;)

    Measuring radius: I'm sort of 'off the maths' right now, but there is a way to calculate the radius from the width and the hight difference between the center and the edge. I believe it's called the ' cord height' formula(?).
  15. oops! my bad! If you have a CAD program you can draw a series of curves with different common radiuses (radii?). Then you print them and and cut them. You use those as your home made radius gauges.