View Full Version : How can i measure fretboard radius?
03-23-2010, 04:28 PM
Can't remember the radius on my tele's neck...
Easy way to determine this?
03-23-2010, 04:30 PM
03-23-2010, 04:50 PM
Draw a circle.
Your guitar's fingerboard is a section of the perimiter of the circle.
The smaller the circle, the more curved the section will be.
If you draw a 7.25 in circle, you can cut out the circle, and use the paper you cut it out of as a gauge that you hold up against your frets.
Common radii are 7.25, 9, 10 and 12 inch (or bigger). The bigger the circle, the higher the number, and the flatter the fingerboard will feel. A 7.25 will feel "curved" under your hand compared to "most" guitars, and a 12 will feel comparatively flat.
and click the link for "Radius Gauge" (you have to look for the link on the page).
Also here's some info with pictures to give you an idea of how they compare:
A word of caution though - many guitars are compound radius, which means they're more curved at the nut and less curved where the neck meets the body - so you can't measure at just one place.
Or you can simply go to Fender's website and look up the specs on your guitar.
Of course, I would bet that not all 10 inch radius necks are *exactly* 10 inch, especially if they're hand made or have been worked on.
03-23-2010, 05:54 PM
03-23-2010, 06:12 PM
Go to www.stewmac.com (http://www.stewmac.com) and look under http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Fretting_supplies/Measuring/Radius_Gauges.html?tab=Pictures#details
There are also these, which are great for doing setups:
03-23-2010, 06:34 PM
there are some plastic gauges that come with Dan Erlewines book:
03-23-2010, 10:37 PM
I've heard Rickenbackers are about 6.25, far extreme to go for easier cords, guess that's why G. Harrison liked those in the early years of the Beatles since cords were his thing.
Around '99 many Historic reissues Les Pauls had a 10" radius, I got one currently, and have had other '99s that had it too. But this is vintage correct also cause there were some of them made in the 50's with as much as a 9.5" radius. I think that anything besides 12" on a vintage L.P would be rare, but there are according to Dan E. I have recently aquired '56 L.P Special and it's fretboard and frets were original, but they were only .017 tall on some areas of the board, so I refretted it. It definitely had a 10" radius, I had measured up and down the board in case it had been worn down, I think it was sorta in between 9.5 and 10.
As for "fretting out" on a Strat with a vintage spec. 7.25, I don't have the problem on one of mine, they might need the action up a hair higher but if the fretwork is good there is no need for a flatter board to bend without "noting out". It is a balance of the relief, setting of the bridge, the nutwork, all that are part of the overall setup. Fads come and go, a decade ago everybody wanted "jumbo" frets, the real wide bass guitar size, now those same players want tall/narrow like the Dunlop 6105. The difference of a 10" and 12" Historic's radius was not evan noticed by me until I used a radius gage to find out what it was.
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