7.25 vs 9.5 radius

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Killcrop, Aug 12, 2006.

  1. Killcrop

    Killcrop Supporting Member

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    Not sure if I have ever owned a guitar with a 7 1/4 radius. I know that 9.5 is easier to bend but if the guitar has taller frets and is set up right does it really matter? Isn't 7 1/4 better for chording?
     
  2. AJ Love

    AJ Love Senior Member

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    It really depends on the individual. Jimi Hendrix did pretty darn well bending strings on a 7.25 radius!

    I've gotten used to the 12 radius on my G&L now, so my perspective is skewed on this subject. To me it comes down to individual guitars. But yes, bigger frets on a 7.25 radius, provided the set-up is excellent, can work just fine... generally speaking chording IS easier on a 7.25 radius
     
  3. tonedaddy

    tonedaddy Member

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    I'm not so sure it's completely about a higher radius being EASIER to bend, but that the higher radius may avoid fretting out while bending.

    Regarding being easier to bend, this may go against conventional thinking, but in my experience, it depends on the neck profile.

    And the reason I think it makes a difference is that depending on what neck profile works for you, the shape your hand makes on that neck profile can accomodate different radius types and how your hand puts put leverage on the strings when bending (e.g. if you bend strings by pivoting your hand on the palm side of the knuckle of your index finger, then the shape of your palm on a fatter neck profile may be in a better position to provide bending strength). I hope that makes sense!


    For instance, for many years I played medium C profile necks and found I seemed to need a 9.5" radius or higher.

    Over the last few years I've gone exclusively to very fat necks (fatback or larger), and now a lower radius like 7.25 (as long as I have a medium jumbo fret) works fine for me for ease of bending. And from looking at the position my hand takes on the fat profile necks, I can see that my hand is in a more natural position to provide leverage for string bends now, regardless of fretboard radius.

    Regarding chording, I've never found much difference in playability between 7.25 and 9.5, (but I think that depends on the size of your hands). But for me and my hand size, I do feel a difference between 7.25 and higher radius (like 12 and higher), and the smaller radius is more comfortable for chording.
     
  4. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

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    I've played Grosh's with the 7.25 radius and jumbo frets and was amazed that bends didn't zing out like every Fender I ever picked up did. I recently ordered a Lentz DL90. Scott called to discuss a few things. I asked about the 9.5" radius that he uses, explaining I usually 12" radius or compounds. He said he could prove that you don't have to bend strings on a smaller radius neck neck as far as flatter necks. He said it's because of the radius. I asked Buddy Whittington what he thought of that radius on his Lentz's, he's got 3. He said he didn't know what the radius was but it felt good and played great. Scott Lentz says Buddy could play a mop and sound good!
    I think 9.5 is Fender's standard neck. I read an Eric Johnson interview once and he said on his vintage Fenders he has them refretted with 6105s and then has them polished flatter in the middle so he effectively gets a larger radius.
     
  5. Pete Galati

    Pete Galati Member

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    You know, when I first put this Tele together, I used a MIJ neck from around 88 or 89 with a rosewood fingerboard, and a 7-1/4" radius. The resonance was too dark so I swapped on this Warmoth birdeye maple neck with a 9-1/2" radius fingerboard.

    [​IMG]

    It feels different. The fretboard's flatter now, and the 5150 frets are bigger, but I forget all about that real fast because the guitar is more alive, and it's 100 times more fun to play now.

    I do find 7-1/4" radius fretboards more comfortable, but it's not something I can't adjust to. I can adjust to a Gibson, or any other setneck guitar, so I'm not going to get hung up on a change like this.

    Pete
     
  6. karmadave

    karmadave Member

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    I think 7.25" radius works better with larger frets and higher action. Most of the guys, that play vintage early '60s Strats, have had large frets installed. Both my Strats have 9.5" radius, Med-C neck, and 6105 frets. It just seems to work better for me. But then again, I need a guitar with "training wheels" :)

    -KD
     
  7. lbw

    lbw Member

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    I find 7.25" fits my hand like a glove. I really wish every guitar had that radius!
     
  8. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    IMO, a 7.25" radius seems more natural for the human hand with barre chords. However, when it comes to fretboard radius and fret size, I think it all boils down to personal taste.

    However, with the strings spread at the bridge being greater than the string spread at the nut, the mechanics of a guitar say that a compound (conical) radius should be best.....but not all manufacturers offer that option.
     
  9. LaXu

    LaXu Member

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    Exactly. I notice that with my guitars I can get a very low action on most of them but the one with a 7.25" radius is the one where strings choke more easily. But thankfully I prefer medium action so it's not a huge deal..a tad higher action on this guitar than others fixes the problem. Still, I do prefer guitars with about 10-12" radius. More than that and I find playing barre chords is less comfortable.
     
  10. tdu

    tdu Member

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    As with other posters, I think it's kind of a combination of things. I had a CIJ 52' RI with a pretty large V neck, vintage frets, and a 7.25 radius. It was pretty hard to play, but if that same neck had larger frets, it would have felt perfect to me.
     
  11. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

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    I'm thinking about ordering a replacement neck for my MIJ Tele and was considering a compound radius. What are the details of the advantages?

    stratzrus
     
  12. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

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