Fender 7.25 vs 9.5" radius. Whats the big deal?

wilblee

Hack sans shame
Gold Supporting Member
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5,063
9.5" - 10" is home. Anything flatter than 12" starts messing with me, unless it's at the end of a compound radius - and even then...

I've played a couple of guitars with a 7.25" radius. Not bad, but mainly what they do is confirm that I prefer 9.5" - 10".
 

cjp54

Member
Messages
663
Its really just preference as been said many times already but the difference in height of 7.25 vs. 9.5 at a 2" wide neck measurement is only .0142"!! That's less than 1/64". Not very much but what a different feel!!! Playing style, hand strength, technique, style of music all play into the comfort to an individual. I personally get along with almost any radius but find 9.5 my sweet spot for Fender scale length guitars. I actually had a Tele Masterbuilt built to my specs with a 12" radius and 6105 frets and it's a bit of a struggle to play at first. After about 30 minutes though I get along fine with it and it just gives up the goods. I have a 1960 Tele Custom that I'll be re-fretting soon and I'm very unsure of what frets to put on it. I know I like higher frets but not sure of the width yet. I'm thinking of something wider than the 6105's but slightly shorter???
 

ericp

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8
So interesting to lurk on this thread and see all these "players" saying they can't bend notes on 7.25" radius necks.
...meanwhile all David Gilmour's Strats are 7.25" radius necks with vintage frets...including the black Strat.

...but he never bends notes so maybe he's not the best reference.
 

dazco

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13,887
I like both but they are different in the feel and setup. The one i like best is the one that just happens to be a exceptional neck. The radius and frets matter less than that. I do however tend to lean 9.5 all else being equal, but as i said i like both. The big difference is if it's 7.5 it's more important that it be exceptional because the slightest imperfection makes it hard or impossible for me to get the action i like.
 

MGT

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1,881
So interesting to lurk on this thread and see all these "players" saying they can't bend notes on 7.25" radius necks.
...meanwhile all David Gilmour's Strats are 7.25" radius necks with vintage frets...including the black Strat.

...but he never bends notes so maybe he's not the best reference.
Perhaps some are saying this but I believe that the idea is that you CAN bend (no one disputes that David Gilmour bends - come on, now!) but you may have to raise the action a little higher to avoid fretting out and that impacts playability in the speed department (DG may be an amazing guitarist but speed is not his thing). Some of us want both (lower action AND easy bending).
 

Jimmy R

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1,305
I am indifferent to radius but much prefer 6105 frets to vintage ones, especially on fretboards that are lacquered.
 

daveanto21

Supporting Member
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1,098
I think the fret size is the main issue. A lot of what people call fretting out is actually due to not having a good purchase on the string. With low frets it can be hard for the finger tip to get a good grip on the string, especially for people with fatter fingers, because the distance between the string and the fingerboard is small. Since 7.25 and vintage frets usually go together the radius gets the blame. I suspect that people who like 7.25 radius necks, like me, have skinny fingers, like me. I'm fine with all my fingerboards--7.25, 9.5, 12, and 16.
Agreed. I love vintage frets and do not care about the radius but I have long skinny fingers. They absolutely feel different but none slow me down or cause issues.
 

Fireball XL5

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2,847
The big difference is if it's 7.5 it's more important that it be exceptional because the slightest imperfection makes it hard or impossible for me to get the action i like.
Herein lies the sad truth with Fender guitars (Custom Shop included) given that the vast majority are far from exceptional and suffer from some degree of upturn at the end of the fretboard which completely inhibits good action/bending. 7.5" radius vs. 9.5" radius doesn't really matter and are both problematic when you have these common neck issues going on.
 

dazco

Member
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13,887
Herein lies the sad truth with Fender guitars (Custom Shop included) given that the vast majority are far from exceptional and suffer from some degree of upturn at the end of the fretboard which completely inhibits good action/bending. 7.5" radius vs. 9.5" radius doesn't really matter and are both problematic when you have these common neck issues going on.
Hmmm...yeah, i agree too many do but i wouldn't say the vast majority or even close. More like maybe 15-25%, tho thats just a guess. At least thats been my experience. But that's still too much. The saddest thing is the CS guitars. They should NEVER have issues like that or at least it should be rare. For that kind of money i'd expect wood thats well aged to be as stable as possible, inspection to insure extreme precision in the neck/board straightness, then plec'd. But thats not the case and thats one reason in recent years i buy MIM and even squier CV. I have incredible luck with necks on the CV's tho i wish they were thicker. And I was able to get great action on my MIM 69 thinline tele from 2002 with 7.25". I had one MIM classic series with a neck that wasn't good but the other 3 or 4 classic series i had were very good. CS guitars are a joke if they are no better in this regard. Wouldn't touch one at those prices, as i'd be awful pi$$ed if i ran into issues for that kinda dough. That's way past "unacceptable".
 

VintageKnob

Supporting Member
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2,052
I play at PRS 594 with a 10" radius and a Silver Sky with the 7.25" radius.
I was playing a G&L Legacy with a 12" radius. Out of the 3 it was my least favorite.

Since I got the SS about a month ago, it has never been put back in the case, always in the stand where I can get to it.
This is my first 7.25 radius guitar. It took about4 days to really get used to it, it plays so good and I can bend up a step and a half without any fret-out.
So yesterday I was missing my 594 and when I started playing it and it took a few minutes to warm up to the 10" radius again, I played for about 2 hours and had a great time.

I don't know about other guitars with a 7.25 neck, but the Silver Sky kills it at that size. YYMV.
So I don't see the big deal either.

- D
 

VintageKnob

Supporting Member
Messages
2,052
Went to the doctor, I said, "Doc it hurts when I do this! (playing a 7.25 neck)" Doc says, "stop doing that (try a 9.5" neck)".
The title of the thread does leave it open to discussions about the intricate details of different neck formats.
A little too detailed for me (yea I'm talking about you page 3) as I stated in an earlier post, I like them both and have no problem with either.
The neck on my Silver Sky is a wee sexy lass.

- D
 

billyguitar

Member
Messages
5,131
The flatter the better for me. That's one reason I never bought any vintage Strats or Teles. If I bend with a clean tone I don't want to hear that zing or have it choke out altogether.
 

Mr Fingers

Member
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2,479
For those who feel no difference playing different radii, well, that's you and how you play and what you do or can feel. No problem. But of course there are differences. I just go with what feels good on a particular guitar, and I like 'em all, so no problem, but can I play everything in the same way on a 12" (or 16!) and a 7.5. Not even.
 

Mikhael

Member
Messages
2,880
I can't stand small radii or narrow nuts. But then, I learned on a classical (flat, 2" wide nut).
 

63blazer

Member
Messages
95
I prefer the 7.25” inch radius because it’s easy for chording without tiring out. It’s not as easy to bend on as my 13.75” inch LTD, but then again nothing is as easy.

I mess up more bends for sure on the seven inch radius but the 9.5” inch radius is not exactly a shred monster neck like an Ibanez RG or a Jackson Dinky with giant frets.
 




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