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P bass fans: What is your preferred fingerboard radius and why?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by petrus61, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Particularly pertaining to 9.5 vs 7.25. I'd like to from people who own or have owned both types and what their preferences are, pros and cons, etc.

    Why did 9.5 become the norm on contemporary Fender instruments? Are there advantages aside from string bending? Do you find there isn't much difference? I own one of each and I find there is a substantial difference. Just curious on others takes on it.
  2. Rich McCoy

    Rich McCoy

    Apr 8, 2013
    What, no poll?
    I kinda like 7.25 myself.
  3. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    I'm partial to 7.25 as well. I'm posting from the app so I couldn't start a poll:(

    I guess if we were to ask Fender, they'd say most people prefer a 9.5, since its their most standardized radi.
  4. keithbroussard

    keithbroussard Supporting Member

    I'm a fan of the 7.25 radius as well.

    ROOTSnFIFTHS Low-end Lover since '78!

    Oct 25, 2012
    NJ to Sin City
    Something just feels more natural about 7.25. I have both and still kind of dig the 9.5. Though if I had a choice...7.25.
  6. I definitely prefer the 7.25.

    They changed it in the mid 80s I think.
  7. I started on and grew up with 7.25 radius Precision necks. My '76 P is, of course, 7.25.

    My Jazz is 9.5, and I do like it quite a lot.

    What I have found is that 7.25 is much more comfortable to play on the first five frets. After that 9.5 is perfect from 5 up to the 12th fret.

    After that a flatter 12" radius would be better, especially if you are playing any high cords up there. I have a Yamaha 5-string with a 12" radius and I think the neck stinks below the 12th fret, and is way too flat in the meat of the axe from 3rd to 9th fret.

    So a compound radius neck is really called for, and that is exactly what Fender is doing on some models. I think a compound 7.25" - 12" radius would be close to perfection.
  8. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    7.25" for me, too. It fills my hand better, freeing my fingers to do their job. Which they can then do more quickly.
  9. HMZ

    HMZ Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    I like the 9.5 to me flatter the better.
  10. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    I prefer 7.25", though the current radius is OK. I don't like flatter fingerboards than that.

    As a traditional bass player, and not a "bass guitarist," I tend to transpose as far down as I can on four flatwound strings and stay out of guitar territory to the extent possible, so I think there may be a point to the previous comment about 7.25" being more comfortable for the low end. I think I've sensed this more than actually thought about it.

    I've also got a permanently injured fretting hand with short fingers to begin with, and 7.25" seems to accommodate that better. Not sure.
  11. bassdude51

    bassdude51 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    I agree, the flatter the better. 12" is the flattest I've played and have ever heard of for a bass neck.

    Classical guitars have almost no radius at all and I don't really understand why guitars and bass necks have to have a radius.

    Banjos and mandolins are completely flat.

    Many gui****s like 16" radius necks.

    One big advantage with a flat or flatter radius is the pickups are better spaced for each string. Example, on a Jazz Bass with a 7.5" radius, the A and D string are almost twice as far away from the magnet poles as the E and G string.

    Also, the flatter radius means the bridge saddles are not all jacked up for A and D strings.

    My opinion is that 9.5 is better than 7.5 and 12 inch is better yet. The flatter the better.
  12. msact


    Jan 8, 2013
    Somewhere in NJ
    Flatter the better. I prefer 12, but 9.5 is good. I don't mind 7.25 if the neck is wide. I can't stand 7.25 on a Jazz bass because it feels too round. I can play faster and more comfortably with a flat board.
  13. UK Philip

    UK Philip

    Sep 5, 2013
    never tried the 7.25 but i'm pretty comfortable on mine (even with small hands).

    don't think there's much in it, really.
  14. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    The flatter the better for me. 12" or more is my preference.
  15. Rich McCoy

    Rich McCoy

    Apr 8, 2013
    I never thought about it like this, but it makes perfect sense.
  16. Same here. The most comfy playing P-style bass I ever played was an SX Ursa 1 that had a 15" radius.

    This one:
  17. LouieLouie16


    Jul 16, 2013
    My spector has a 16" radius, my g&l has a 12", both are very comfy. When I play slap style the 12 feels the best for those left hand ghost note thumps and bumps IMO.

    In regards to the sizes you asked for, OP, I like 9.5. Little more comfortable if you are moving around the neck.
  18. I prefer flatter necks - on a 7.25" I can't see my fingers playing the D&G strings if I look down!
  19. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Lots of manufacturers offer a 14" radius on 4 strings, I am pretty sure StingRays are 14".

    Personally I like a compound radius. :D I guess 7.5" would do for a Fender though, I honestly do not care that much.
  20. SidMau


    Sep 3, 2012
    I think all status basses have a 16" radius, so basses do indeed go flatter than 12"