fretboard radius math, or why 12 vs 14 doesn't matter

USA Custom Shop Acoustic and Electric Guitars

Moderators: Kevio, ElfDude, JesseM, RockCrue, soundchick, ChrisH, peb, Mike Jones, Bundy

Barnacle Bob
Carvinite
Carvinite
Posts: 593
Joined: Jun 2008
Location: Sunny CA

re: fretboard radius math, or why 12 vs 14 doesn't matter

Postby Barnacle Bob » Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:19 am

I have a Tele, SH575, and Holdsworth. I can certainly see and feel the difference between the necks. 12" and 14" radius would be tougher.

I'm lucky because I like the feel of the Holdsworth and Tele the best, and they're night and day different. Point is, I can tell, and I don't really care.

On the other hand, I'd be willing to pay a substantial option charge for a 1 3/4" or even 1 13/16" nut, and that only adds 12 or 24 mils between strings.

robertkoa
Gold Carvinite
Gold Carvinite
Posts: 1267
Joined: Dec 2008

Re: re: fretboard radius math, or why 12 vs 14 doesn't matte

Postby robertkoa » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:15 pm

DocD wrote:
Warg Master wrote:
ElfDude wrote:
robertkoa wrote:Carvin does MANY things very nicely, including the different Radii .

Radiuses?
Radiuseses? :?

Radoosee?


Without meaning to be pedantic (sorry, I'm a college prof teaching ancient languages...can't seem to help myself), since the word is of Latin origin, it's "technically" ra-di-i (ray-dee-aye), but most English speakers nowadays ignore that and just say radiuses.

Sorry again...


When speaking of really old Vintage Guitars I prefer " Radiisaurus " or the Shakespearean "Radiusaurus ".

Albert Einstein: " I KNOW the Math says they are equal tension but it's still harder to bend the strings on this ^& #@%** Guitar ! "

Einstein did come up with Relativity- but he never developed a really good finger vibrato- Math can only take you so far..............
Last edited by robertkoa on Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
MarshallTSL
Gold Carvinite
Gold Carvinite
Posts: 1790
Joined: Jun 2008
Location: North Potomac, MD

Re: re: fretboard radius math, or why 12 vs 14 doesn't matte

Postby MarshallTSL » Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:24 pm

Spoons, I feel some of your pain. While I don't have arthritis, I do get flare-ups of tendonitis in my left elbow. I agree that using a smaller radius definitely makes it more comfortable and I've always used 6130 frets. Perhaps I was lucky that my first two electrics used them, so I never really had to get comfortable with taller / thicker frets.

MarshallTSL

Spoons wrote:The fret board radius makes a great deal of difference to me.

The smaller the radius the easier it is to make bar chords when you have arthritis in you chord hand thumb, MUCH less thumb force required. Sometimes I can pull my thumb completely off and still make a good chord even above the 12th fret - try that on a 14" Radius fretboard!!!! As far as leads go; the smaller radius do make a difference when bending strings but it is not a difference that is a problem for me.

I also choose Low-Wide Frets and set the action as close as physically possible without string buzzing. The combination of 10"Radius, Low-Wide Frets and the Carvin back of neck shape have revived my guitar playing - I almost had to quit because of the pain!

Thanks Carvin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

User avatar
Bob77
Gold Carvinite
Gold Carvinite
Posts: 1197
Joined: May 2007
Location: NYC

Re: re: fretboard radius math, or why 12 vs 14 doesn't matte

Postby Bob77 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:14 pm

DocD wrote:
Spoons wrote: The biggest noticable difference with the 10 radius and the low-wide frets is when playing regular bar chords in the frets above the 8th, it truly is easier especially if you need to push down every single string to the wood for some single noting.


Would you say that the major difference is the radius or the fret size?

I find the 20 radius on my Holdsworth makes lead work, as well as the 3 or 4 string "lead" chords I normally play above the 8th fret (like you're describing) easier than the 9.5 radius on my Strat (which seems to be opposite of your experience).

However, the Jumbo frets on the Holdsworth seem to require more pressure...


That's my experience as well.

From the Carvins I've owned - and the ones I currently own - I find the biggest significant difference with the H2. Easier on leads...but some chords are kind of hard at various points of the neck.

But yes, at the end everything is about personal preference. That's the reason why it is always a good idea to own several guitars :mrgreen:

User avatar
DocD
Gold Member
Gold Member
Posts: 232
Joined: Apr 2012

Re: re: fretboard radius math, or why 12 vs 14 doesn't matte

Postby DocD » Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:51 pm

Bob77 wrote:
DocD wrote:
Spoons wrote: The biggest noticable difference with the 10 radius and the low-wide frets is when playing regular bar chords in the frets above the 8th, it truly is easier especially if you need to push down every single string to the wood for some single noting.

Would you say that the major difference is the radius or the fret size?
I find the 20 radius on my Holdsworth makes lead work, as well as the 3 or 4 string "lead" chords I normally play above the 8th fret (like you're describing) easier than the 9.5 radius on my Strat (which seems to be opposite of your experience).
However, the Jumbo frets on the Holdsworth seem to require more pressure...


That's my experience as well.
From the Carvins I've owned - and the ones I currently own - I find the biggest significant difference with the H2. Easier on leads...but some chords are kind of hard at various points of the neck. But yes, at the end everything is about personal preference. That's the reason why it is always a good idea to own several guitars :mrgreen:


It's great to own several guitars...the only problem is that you can't play 2 or 3 at the same time, esp., if you need different things/sounds in the same song. That's one of the reasons that I really liked the compound radius neck on the 2012 LP Traditional I tried out (10 at nut; 16 at octave); I could really tell the difference between playing low chords and high leads. Wish Carvin would add that to their options.

User avatar
Bob77
Gold Carvinite
Gold Carvinite
Posts: 1197
Joined: May 2007
Location: NYC

Re: re: fretboard radius math, or why 12 vs 14 doesn't matte

Postby Bob77 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:38 pm

DocD wrote:
Bob77 wrote:
DocD wrote:
Spoons wrote: The biggest noticable difference with the 10 radius and the low-wide frets is when playing regular bar chords in the frets above the 8th, it truly is easier especially if you need to push down every single string to the wood for some single noting.

Would you say that the major difference is the radius or the fret size?
I find the 20 radius on my Holdsworth makes lead work, as well as the 3 or 4 string "lead" chords I normally play above the 8th fret (like you're describing) easier than the 9.5 radius on my Strat (which seems to be opposite of your experience).
However, the Jumbo frets on the Holdsworth seem to require more pressure...


That's my experience as well.
From the Carvins I've owned - and the ones I currently own - I find the biggest significant difference with the H2. Easier on leads...but some chords are kind of hard at various points of the neck. But yes, at the end everything is about personal preference. That's the reason why it is always a good idea to own several guitars :mrgreen:


It's great to own several guitars...the only problem is that you can't play 2 or 3 at the same time, esp., if you need different things/sounds in the same song. That's one of the reasons that I really liked the compound radius neck on the 2012 LP Traditional I tried out (10 at nut; 16 at octave); I could really tell the difference between playing low chords and high leads. Wish Carvin would add that to their options.


True about the compound radius necks. I played a Suhr with a compound radi a few years ago. That thing was AMAZING - and way out of my price range too, LOL. If Carvin offered that option in a future, that would really push their Custom Shop to the next level.

robertkoa
Gold Carvinite
Gold Carvinite
Posts: 1267
Joined: Dec 2008

Re: re: fretboard radius math, or why 12 vs 14 doesn't matte

Postby robertkoa » Sat Jun 30, 2012 5:41 pm

Bob77 wrote:
DocD wrote:
Bob77 wrote:
DocD wrote:
Spoons wrote: The biggest noticable difference with the 10 radius and the low-wide frets is when playing regular bar chords in the frets above the 8th, it truly is easier especially if you need to push down every single string to the wood for some single noting.

Would you say that the major difference is the radius or the fret size?
I find the 20 radius on my Holdsworth makes lead work, as well as the 3 or 4 string "lead" chords I normally play above the 8th fret (like you're describing) easier than the 9.5 radius on my Strat (which seems to be opposite of your experience).
However, the Jumbo frets on the Holdsworth seem to require more pressure...


That's my experience as well.
From the Carvins I've owned - and the ones I currently own - I find the biggest significant difference with the H2. Easier on leads...but some chords are kind of hard at various points of the neck. But yes, at the end everything is about personal preference. That's the reason why it is always a good idea to own several guitars :mrgreen:


It's great to own several guitars...the only problem is that you can't play 2 or 3 at the same time, esp., if you need different things/sounds in the same song. That's one of the reasons that I really liked the compound radius neck on the 2012 LP Traditional I tried out (10 at nut; 16 at octave); I could really tell the difference between playing low chords and high leads. Wish Carvin would add that to their options.


True about the compound radius necks. I played a Suhr with a compound radi a few years ago. That thing was AMAZING - and way out of my price range too, LOL. If Carvin offered that option in a future, that would really push their Custom Shop to the next level.



When I played a Suhr Pro 1 with Compound Radius fingerboard- it really felt a LOT like my Bolt which is R14.

Except for the 1.65" slightly narrower nut width- the Suhr had the same Jescar Nickel Frets Carvin uses etc. the "easy C slim " Suhr neck size is slightly smaller than my Bolt.

I didn't notice the Compound Radius much if at all.....

User avatar
zx-niner
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 13
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Merced, CA

re: fretboard radius math, or why 12 vs 14 doesn't matter

Postby zx-niner » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:29 pm

The first time I played an upper range bar chord on my 20" radius with jumbo SS frets I felt like the B and E string would cut my index finger. I surmised it was because I was used to bending the finger to conform to my other various 7-1/4" to 14" radii guitars. Like all things, it took getting used to. I will also say even my wife can visually see from a distance how flat the 20" radius appears compared to my other guitars.

On the positive side, I think you can bend any string on that guitar until it breaks and it won't fret out. (It is Carvin's stock set up with .010 strings.) The other thing I noticed was when practicing rapid-picking string-skipping exercises. On smaller radius guitars I tend to brush the in-between string, something I am working on to avoid by lifting the pick between strokes. On the 20" radius that intermediate string is almost in the same plane as the other two and I did not touch it. It was hugely noticeable to my amateur touch.
Steve
Merced, CA

User avatar
OotMagroot
Gold Carvinite
Gold Carvinite
Posts: 1387
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: From parts unknown!

Re: re: fretboard radius math, or why 12 vs 14 doesn't matte

Postby OotMagroot » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:54 am

robertkoa wrote:
DocD wrote:
Warg Master wrote:
ElfDude wrote:
robertkoa wrote:Carvin does MANY things very nicely, including the different Radii .

Radiuses?
Radiuseses? :?

Radoosee?


Without meaning to be pedantic (sorry, I'm a college prof teaching ancient languages...can't seem to help myself), since the word is of Latin origin, it's "technically" ra-di-i (ray-dee-aye), but most English speakers nowadays ignore that and just say radiuses.

Sorry again...


When speaking of really old Vintage Guitars I prefer " Radiisaurus " or the Shakespearean "Radiusaurus ".

Albert Einstein: " I KNOW the Math says they are equal tension but it's still harder to bend the strings on this ^& #@%** Guitar ! "

Einstein did come up with Relativity- but he never developed a really good finger vibrato- Math can only take you so far..............





Name of my next....um, first album....

Shakespearean Radiusaurus

GaryL
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2017

Re: fretboard radius math, or why 12 vs 14 doesn't matter

Postby GaryL » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:50 am

I’m seriously considering having a Kiesel built as probably my last guitar. What’s giving me trouble is selecting the right neck radius. I have a G&L Legacy Strat with a 12’ radius and a 1 - 5/8’” inch nut. I’m finding that when trying to play certain chords it gets a little cramped, and I have trouble hitting each note cleanly. I was thinking about going with a 14” radius, but until yesterday I haven’t been able to find a guitar to try out. What I learned that the spacing between each string was wider, and when I went to pick from one string to another I was hitting air. The guitar was custom made, so I’m not sure if it was this particular guitar or common among all 14” radii? I haven’t seen a string spacing guide on the website. Any thoughts?

User avatar
texastoast
Gold Carvinite
Gold Carvinite
Posts: 1740
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Duh, Im in Texas

Re: fretboard radius math, or why 12 vs 14 doesn't matter

Postby texastoast » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:30 pm

Put me in the I can not feel the difference camp. I have all the major radius including finally a 20 inch on the vader. I can not really tell unless I look. I am an idiot if that makes a difference.

Garyl, string spacing does not HAVE to part of the radius equation. If I have a thing 5 inches wide and one is curved at a 10 radius and the other a 20 radius they are both still 5 inches wide. One is going to be more curved (the 10 inch) and therefore slightly taller in the middle. The actual distance or surface area will be slightly different. That being said some make the flatter necks wider. But it is not required to change the radius.

slayer
Gold Member
Gold Member
Posts: 155
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: Pittsburgh,PA.

Re: fretboard radius math, or why 12 vs 14 doesn't matter

Postby slayer » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:48 pm

I also find 1 5/8" spacing too narrow for me as well. Too cramped on the first few frets. As for fretboard radius. I can play anything from 10-16". My all around preferred is 12" for tunamatics and 14-16" for Floyds.
Bring Back the "ST" Body!!

User avatar
Omsong
Carvinite
Carvinite
Posts: 529
Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Somerton, AZ

Re: fretboard radius math, or why 12 vs 14 doesn't matter

Postby Omsong » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:54 pm

This is a pretty cool fretboard radius gauge:
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Kiesel
. Fatboy '17 Deep Lava Flame
Past Tense
. Fatboy '02 Cherry Sunburst Flame
. CT6M '04 (apx.) Deep Tigers Eye Quilt
. Fatboy '07 Clario Walnut
. Bolt+ '11 Deep Orange Flame

User avatar
UnexplodedCow
Carvinite
Carvinite
Posts: 819
Joined: Oct 2010
Location: Omnipresence nearly achieved!

Re: fretboard radius math, or why 12 vs 14 doesn't matter

Postby UnexplodedCow » Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:18 pm

GaryL wrote:I’m seriously considering having a Kiesel built as probably my last guitar. What’s giving me trouble is selecting the right neck radius. I have a G&L Legacy Strat with a 12’ radius and a 1 - 5/8’” inch nut. I’m finding that when trying to play certain chords it gets a little cramped, and I have trouble hitting each note cleanly. I was thinking about going with a 14” radius, but until yesterday I haven’t been able to find a guitar to try out. What I learned that the spacing between each string was wider, and when I went to pick from one string to another I was hitting air. The guitar was custom made, so I’m not sure if it was this particular guitar or common among all 14” radii? I haven’t seen a string spacing guide on the website. Any thoughts?



N - N - N - Necropost..... but still relevant.

String spacing is independent of radius, so the custom guitar you played may have had a wider string spacing than your G&L. 12" or 14" radius feels very similar to me, and I don't really notice much of a functional difference. 16" vs 12" definitely feels different, and 20" is in another world to me.

If you're used to 12" radius, getting a 14" *might* feel subtly different, and will feel very different if you're used to lower/thin frets and go with jumbos. The standard (on most models) 14" radius with medium jumbo frets works really well. The string spacing of a Kiesel will be similar to that of your G&L.

The neck shape, however, is pretty close dimensionally to a Jackson. Try to find a neck-thru Jackson to test. I can confirm the KEXMG model measures/feels spot on to a Kiesel neck shape, minus the compound radius.
We are entitled to our own, wrong, opinions.

Guitar theorem: G=X+1 where G= guitars one needs, and X = guitars one has.

Do or do not; there is no understand.

GaryL
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2017

Re: fretboard radius math, or why 12 vs 14 doesn't matter

Postby GaryL » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:09 pm

Hey everyone, thanks for clearing things up for me. You guys are the best. Now my only decision is choosing to go with a DC600 or a a Vader. The G&L weighs a ton and I'm not getting any younger.

User avatar
UnexplodedCow
Carvinite
Carvinite
Posts: 819
Joined: Oct 2010
Location: Omnipresence nearly achieved!

Re: fretboard radius math, or why 12 vs 14 doesn't matter

Postby UnexplodedCow » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:56 pm

GaryL wrote:Hey everyone, thanks for clearing things up for me. You guys are the best. Now my only decision is choosing to go with a DC600 or a a Vader. The G&L weighs a ton and I'm not getting any younger.


I vote Vader. Super light, and compact.
We are entitled to our own, wrong, opinions.

Guitar theorem: G=X+1 where G= guitars one needs, and X = guitars one has.

Do or do not; there is no understand.

slayer
Gold Member
Gold Member
Posts: 155
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: Pittsburgh,PA.

Re: fretboard radius math, or why 12 vs 14 doesn't matter

Postby slayer » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:25 pm

UnexplodedCow wrote:
GaryL wrote:I’m seriously considering having a Kiesel built as probably my last guitar. What’s giving me trouble is selecting the right neck radius. I have a G&L Legacy Strat with a 12’ radius and a 1 - 5/8’” inch nut. I’m finding that when trying to play certain chords it gets a little cramped, and I have trouble hitting each note cleanly. I was thinking about going with a 14” radius, but until yesterday I haven’t been able to find a guitar to try out. What I learned that the spacing between each string was wider, and when I went to pick from one string to another I was hitting air. The guitar was custom made, so I’m not sure if it was this particular guitar or common among all 14” radii? I haven’t seen a string spacing guide on the website. Any thoughts?



N - N - N - Necropost..... but still relevant.

String spacing is independent of radius, so the custom guitar you played may have had a wider string spacing than your G&L. 12" or 14" radius feels very similar to me, and I don't really notice much of a functional difference. 16" vs 12" definitely feels different, and 20" is in another world to me.

If you're used to 12" radius, getting a 14" *might* feel subtly different, and will feel very different if you're used to lower/thin frets and go with jumbos. The standard (on most models) 14" radius with medium jumbo frets works really well. The string spacing of a Kiesel will be similar to that of your G&L.

The neck shape, however, is pretty close dimensionally to a Jackson. Try to find a neck-thru Jackson to test. I can confirm the KEXMG model measures/feels spot on to a Kiesel neck shape, minus the compound radius.


You are right about the Jackson compound radius fretboard, but the neck on a Jackson is a little more D shaped with a slight flat spot on the back. It is a great neck though. I love Jackson Soloists and Carvin DC125`s, ST`s and the like superstrats.
Bring Back the "ST" Body!!

wizard333
Gold Member
Gold Member
Posts: 78
Joined: Apr 2007

Re: fretboard radius math, or why 12 vs 14 doesn't matter

Postby wizard333 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:28 pm

Professional tech weighing in:

It matters, you can feel it. You might think .2MM is nothing, but most people can feel .005" action height difference. When levelling frets for low action, tolerances have to be tighter than .005".

Also starts to make a difference as your action goes down and you want clean bends.

I deal with this stuff, literally, daily. Definitively, yes, it matters. You'd be surprised how very small measurements can be felt and affect playability and tone.

wizard333
Gold Member
Gold Member
Posts: 78
Joined: Apr 2007

Re: fretboard radius math, or why 12 vs 14 doesn't matter

Postby wizard333 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:35 pm

GaryL wrote:I’m seriously considering having a Kiesel built as probably my last guitar. What’s giving me trouble is selecting the right neck radius. I have a G&L Legacy Strat with a 12’ radius and a 1 - 5/8’” inch nut. I’m finding that when trying to play certain chords it gets a little cramped, and I have trouble hitting each note cleanly. I was thinking about going with a 14” radius, but until yesterday I haven’t been able to find a guitar to try out. What I learned that the spacing between each string was wider, and when I went to pick from one string to another I was hitting air. The guitar was custom made, so I’m not sure if it was this particular guitar or common among all 14” radii? I haven’t seen a string spacing guide on the website. Any thoughts?


Thing to note about radii: Manufacturer's claimed radii are less accurate than EPA mileage estimtes. Almost all guitars I've ever measured come in significantly UNDER the stated number. G&Ls typically run between 9" &11" when they claim 12", Fenders claming 9.5" typically run in the 8- 8.5" range, Ibanez that claim 16.9" come in the 14.5" range.... etc. Radius also changes as you go down the board.

The other thing that can affect your pick 'hitting air' is what I call scattershot action. Almost all guitars have this, even ones set up by people calling themselves 'professionals'. If you measure the height of each string above the 12th fret, most guitars show and up-down-up-down kind of pattern. This is *NOT* optimal; at a minimum you want an even action or an evenly sloping action, but when examining guitars I rarely see that.


Return to Kiesel Guitars / Carvin Guitars

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MarshallTSL and 6 guests