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Do easier bends come more from bigger frets or wider radius?

still.ill

Member
Messages
3,240
It seems to me that fret size has more of an issue than radius.... perhaps 70% fret size, 30% radius.
 

+3kk!

Member
Messages
772
practice,

the only guitar i found that was hard to bend was those vintage styled guitars with its low frets and curved radius. mainly because the strings tend to hit the frets and causes buzz
 

Mandrax

Member
Messages
1,602
I think the fret size makes the most difference. Bending on a 7.25 radius with vintage frets is harder than doing it in a 7.25 radius with medium jumbos IMO.
 

Gas-man

Unrepentant Massaganist
Messages
18,605
6100 frets are considerably easier to bend on than vintage frets--by a large margin.
 

Badside

Member
Messages
1,552
I don't care about being vintage correct, all my guitars have 12"+ radius (or compound) and jumbo frets. Playing leads is so easy now, and tone doesn't suffer.
 

nmiller

Drowning in lap steels
Messages
7,456
I've never found jumbo frets to aid bending. I'm used to playing vintage-sized frets, and they're perfectly easy to bend on. I do notice some difference with fretboard radius, though; I find that anything below 12" makes both bending and chording more difficult.
 

atquinn

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,749
I've noticed the most difference in fret material. Stainless steel frets are very easy to bend on. I don't think I have any fretboards with a radius below 10", so that's never been an issue.
-
Austin
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,689
Not so fast guys, two of the easiest bending strats I ever played was a CS relic strat. Had a 7.25" radius and barely any frets, yet the strings were so slinky. Setup is critical on those but man was it easy to play and bend minor thirds even, with .010's. another easy playing strat was an original 1965 strat that I sold late last year. Soft and easy. I miss that one.

Ironically, despite these suggestions, the stiffest strats (and there are plenty of threads on it) to bend on are EJ strats, and they have 12" radius and med-jumbo frets, thick finish and thick 1/4 sawn neck all contribute to that.

For me easy bending is more about the string feeling slinky and loose and takes little effort to get to whatever pitch I want.

Flatter radius does allow lower action without fretting out, but that does not equate to easier bending. I like to get under the string a bit.
 

Tom CT

Old Supporting Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
17,898
Unless the nut and/or the bridge is cut to a different curve than the fretboard, the radius has no impact on how low you can get the action.
In regards to bending it does. A smaller radius is going to fret out (buzz) during bends more quickly than a larger radius, given the same string height.

As far as ease of bending, I've found fret size make no difference to me (and as a Gibson player, radius has always been about the same). String gauge is the only factor.
 

Badside

Member
Messages
1,552
I've noticed the most difference in fret material. Stainless steel frets are very easy to bend on. I don't think I have any fretboards with a radius below 10", so that's never been an issue.
-
Austin
Oh they are indeed marvelous.
Last build has a Warmoth compound radius neck with tall and narrow SS frets. The thing plays itself.
 

rongtr1

Member
Messages
1,683
I think you have to add string height into the equation as well. Bendability (is that a word?) is a combination of all these factors.
 

DT7

Member
Messages
2,794
All other things (like action and string guage) being equal, both radius and fret size affect the ability to bend without fretting out.

Radius should be obvious...but many folks don't take into account the difference in break angle you get between shorter and taller frets. With taller frets, there is a greater angle coming off of the fret towards the bridge...so there is less a tendency to fret out. Of course, the amount of difference is going to vary with how much downward pressure you put on the strings. Greater pressure = greater angle = less chance of fretting out.

Note that this does not define which is easier to bend...it merely suggests on which setup you can bend further without fretting out.

It's probably easier to bend with smaller frets...but you'll fret out faster than you would with taller frets.
 

Lewguitar

Senior Member
Messages
5,663
You want higher frets (like what Gibson uses) and a flatter radius. 12" is very nice. The flatter the radius the lower and more comfortable your action can be without fretting out on big bends.
 

Dale

Member
Messages
10,314
The taller the fret (for me) the easier. Fretting out is more a function of radius to me.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
34,464
The taller the fret (for me) the easier. Fretting out is more a function of radius to me.
Yep. Taller is easier because it provides a far better grip.
This has nothing to do with string compliance nor fretting out.
 

darkknight91

Senior Member
Messages
510
Fret height will make the biggest difference because your fingers can get under the string more to make it easier. Scale will make a difference. Shorter scales are easier to bend. Strings will make a difference. DR's were stiffer for me. Ernie Ball's are easier, for whatever reason. Radius isn't as big an issue. You can get used to the feel of any neck, but the smaller radiuses will fret out sooner, typically. I prefer a 12" radius or flatter, medium jumbo frets, EB Cobalts and 25 1/2" scale. It all plays a role, but I think fret size is the biggest factor.
 






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