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Should I get a neck with a compound neck radius?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bonga_rascal, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. bonga_rascal


    Sep 9, 2010

    So I am thinking of two builds here. I'll be ordering the neck and body from Tommy Rosamund @ USAG. Both will be 4 string jazz basses.

    One of them will be a fretted bass with an alder body, maple neck and pu ferro fingerboard.

    The other will be alder, maple and ebony and will be fretless.

    My question is about the neck radius.
    Tommy will do any straight radius at no extra charge and can also do a 10-16" radius or some other compound radius.

    I presently play a 50's Precision bass and love how the neck feels. I also like those 60's style jazz bass necks.

    Hence, I am thinking of going in for a 10" radius on the bass - not too round and not too flat either.

    Do you think it would be a great asset for me if I chose to go with a compound neck radius?

  2. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Though its not a big diff, I do like compound radius necks like Jackson does, better then others. It sounds like this builder can do custom fit to hand necks. The thing would be to get with him to figure out whats gonna give you the best playability for neck fit. I wont call compound radius necks a great asset, but will give them the nod for nice small asset when done well. Go play some jacksons and decicde if you like that small diff for yourself. As best suggestion. It makes no sense to just geauss whats gonna be best neck profile, radius,etc etc. Time spent studying necks hands on for finding your ideal is only way to get the msot out of what the buiklder can do for you. Dont go by what others reccomend for best radius etc. Only you can answer that after personaly familiarity with lots and finding best for you. If the builder has time etc for you to come out for a few days and go over necks, do it.
  3. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    Personally I think that would be coming at the issue from the wrong direction.

    Rather than ask yourself "Do I want a compound radius neck?" I would find a neck shape that you really really like...and then ask "What type of radius does that neck have?"
  4. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    The necks you like (50s and 60s Fender) have a small, straight radius.

    Compound radii can feel pretty nice, but I don't think there's a big advantage on a bass. A compound radius is very helpful to a blues guitarist who does a lot of string bending: it helps keep the strings from "fretting out" on the high frets when doing big bends. On a bass, it's more just a question of whether or not you like the way it feels.

    If you already know that you like the straight, vintage Fender radius then that's probably the way you should go.
  5. On big, wide 6-7 string basses, too. Reaching the upper register on that B string hurts enough that flattening out so you can reach it better is worth it. On 4 strings I agree though.
  6. zortation


    Dec 26, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Compound radius really becomes advantageous when talking about ERBs, fives and especially sixes feel great with them. The basses you're referencing use a 7.25" straight radius
  7. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    I thought the main reason for a compound radius was for guitarists to bend strings without choking them. Unless you're a wild string bender, I don't see the need. But what I WOULD have him do, is cut some fall off onto the upper fingerboard. Tommy is a great guy and does fantastic work.
  8. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
    What is a straight radius? Does that mean flatter ie a larger radius value?
  9. zortation


    Dec 26, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    It just means a single radius for the whole fingerboard. Compound radius it a fingerboard with two radii and a transition...and then you have what's referred to as a conical radius which is small to a larger radius with a constant gradiation between the two.
  10. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    A straight radius is a slice of a cylinder. A compound radius is a slice of a cone.
  11. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    All I know is I hate compound radius on 5 strings but love them on 4's.
  12. zortation


    Dec 26, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Sorry to correct you but nope. Conical radius is a slice of a cone, compound is as I described. so for example a 10"-16" compound radius means that the lower register has one radius and the upper register has another one. It is not a gradual change from one radius to the other, it's two radii.