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

Fireball XL5

Supporting Member
Messages
2,847
I've no trouble bending notes anywhere on the neck on a 7.25" radius neck with vintage frets set to Fender factory spec for relief and action.
Complete opposite experience for me.

Every time I set up a Fender with a 7.5" and or 9.5" radius to Fender published factory specs I experience both high E choke out on bends and excessive rattle on the low E & A strings when playing above the 12th fret.

Fenders combination of healthy neck relief spec (.010" for 9.5" and .012" for 7.5") and low string height spec of 4/64" (1/16") at the 17th yields a geometry whereby the strings are progressively traveling "uphill" relative to the fingerboard as they move towards the bridge.

With Fender's setup specs and their tighter radius fingerboards, I always end up with a guitar that plays cleanly in low cowboy chord area and with too much rattle on the wound strings and choking on the high E when playing/bending on the upper frets.
 
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VaughnC

Supporting Member
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17,671
Complete opposite experience for me.

Every time I set up a Fender with a 7.5" and or 9.5" radius to Fender published factory specs I experience both high E choke out on bends and excessive rattle on the low E & A strings when playing above the 12th fret.

Fenders combination of healthy neck relief spec (.010" for 9.5" and .012" for 7.5") and low string height spec of 4/64" (1/16") at the 17th yields a geometry whereby the strings are progressively traveling "uphill" relative to the fingerboard as they move towards the bridge.

With Fender's setup specs and their tighter radius fingerboards, I always end up with a guitar that plays cleanly in low cowboy chord area and with too much rattle on the wound strings and choking on the high E when playing/bending on the upper frets.
Yup, I seldom pay attention to "specs" as necks, being made of a dynamic substance called wood, are seldom perfect/stable and factory frets are seldom perfect. So I let the individual guitar & string tell me where it should be set with myself in the drivers seat.

7.25" is what I learned on so that generally feels more at home to me. But the neck profile plays into that too. I generally don't like a 12" radius but I have no problems with my SRV Strat, but the 12" EJ Strats I've tried are almost unplayable.
 

ProfRhino

Member
Messages
6,470
Is was a bit of a bear in he upper frets with fretting out. I had to have the action quite high. Then I it took it to a local pro and had the frets leveled and a good set-up. Now it plays fine.
your local pro (if he's worth his money) might well have subtly flattened the radius while leveling, maybe even giving it some light compound shape. **
it's not the radius of the fretboard that counts, it's the top of the frets. :idea
my luthier is perfectly capable of pulling this off, but he usually asks before.
obviously, higher frets hae some more wiggle room here.
ymmv,
Rhino

** " let's see what we have here.
hmm - slight fretting out issues, let's repair that, while we're leveling anyway ! " :cool:
 

David B

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,749
For me, larger frets and flatter radius than 7.25" gives me better control, less errors, and my hands feel better after a lot of playing. Low frets create more friction and 7.25" is less clean when bending. 7.25" is acceptable if I am just playing chords. I have played thousands of 7.25" radius necks, just not for me at all.
 
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VintageKnob

Supporting Member
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2,052

Fenderbaum

Member
Messages
16
Is it something Fender needs to sell, it´s 7.25 with Jumbo´s. or Medium Jumbo´s.
I don´t have strong hands and i am struggling with 7.25 and vintage frets.
 

Premanand

Member
Messages
48
The vintage spec will choke out bending high up but raising the action on the top two strings a tad will soon sort that..I just love the feel of the '57 necks, so playable: great for chords yes but does everything else you might expect. (Eric seemed to manage alright with Brownie) But then so's my Pro-Am HSS with c neck compound radius & 6105's and it plays like a dream; they're just different instruments, that's all and the difference is soon forgotten once the wonderful characteristics start shining through just enjoy the ride!
 

jamester

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,421
Don't know if anyone has posted about this, but Kenny Wayne Shepherd has a new signature model coming out and it's got a 7.25in radius!
That's interesting, and I recently discovered that the PRS Silver Sky is also 7.25. These guys can have whatever they want, and they chose the vintage radius.

I like the feel of 7.25 myself, but I really need the bigger frets to make it work for me. It's the reason I got my Road Worn Tele...
 




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