Is too much fuss made over the 7.25 radius versus 9.5?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by cg, Jan 18, 2008.


  1. cg

    cg Silver Supporting Member

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    I am looking for a Strat with a 9.5 radius. With the features I want, and at the price I can spend, they are somewhat rare. I do see plenty of cool Strats with a 7.25" radius. I am so used to the modern radius, the vintage specs scare me off. Am I making too big of a deal about this?
     
  2. tonedaddy

    tonedaddy Member

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    I am here as you are here as you are me and we are
    Some folks say they have problems with fretting out on a vintage radius, while others don't. For whatever reason (and I think it has to do with the way I grip a guitar neck), when I moved to fatter necks, the vintage radius was less of an issue and works just fine for me.

    But only you can decide what's a big deal for you, right? Have you tried visiting a well stocked store and playing some vintage radiused Strats for a few hours? That's what I'd do. Spend an afternoon trying Strats with a variety of different neck profiles, and see what you think.
     
  3. * velcro-fly *

    * velcro-fly * Supporting Member

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    No big deal at all....consider that I'm a hair from getting one of the Hot Rod 62's used, and sending it here to have Michael Tuttle plane the board to a 12" and refret with jumbo's...

    http://www.bestfrets.com/

    He used to work for Don Grosh if I'm not mistaken...killer work

    Find a good deal on a used cool Strat with a 7.25 and have it planed and refretted - no biggie...

    My game plan will change if in fact they release an EJ with a rosewood board ;)
     
  4. RvChevron

    RvChevron Member

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    Just go with what you feel best.

    I much much and much prefer 12". I'm gonna have a strat neck made with 7.25" (vintage fender) to 14" (modern) compound radius with 22 stainless frets.
     
  5. jbbusybee

    jbbusybee Member

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    I had a Custom Shop 65 NOS and changed it for a Wildwood 10 with a 10' radius and 6105 frets. I would say that it is definitely easier to play the 10, but
    I think the fret height and size has a great deal to do with it. I don't think it' crucial, but I would choose a more modern radius.

    I would have thought there were more modern radius Strat's to choose from at all price points.

    Look at Wildwood' s site and speak to Bruce, they are excellent.
     
  6. johnh

    johnh Silver Supporting Member

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    I always played 7.25" radius necks but then I decided to try something new and bought a classic player 60's strat with a 12" radius. Boy - I hated it. It was a fantastic guitar - better than my existing strats, but the neck meant it just didn't feel like a strat is supposed to feel (in my mind!)

    So I bought a MIJ 62 Reissue and I'm happy to be back in the land of the vintage radius.

    So the moral of my story is that I think the radius is indeed a big issue - it can have a dramatic effect on the feel of your guitar. But which radius you would prefer is harder to predict.
     
  7. wilerty

    wilerty Member

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    Give us a little more information and I bet we can come up with some suggestions. Maple or rosewood fretboard? price range? Neck shape(CorV)?

    The obvious answers are the MIM basic Strat, American Standard, and American Deluxe. They are all 9.5", C neck, and come in Maple or roasewood frte boards. Respectively they are about $500, $900, and $1,100.

    I'm a V neck maple guy so my favorites are the Classic Player 50s, and the American Deluxe V Neck.
     
  8. HeeHaw

    HeeHaw Member

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    7.25' was good enough for grandpa and it's good enough for me. :D

    My nocaster was a 7.25" and everyone thought it played like a 9.5". It didn't fret out during bends or any of the other horror stories like I had always heard, so your mileage may vary.:)
     
  9. dave s

    dave s Member

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    I don't think so, CG. For me, playing a 7.25 fretboard is like playing a broomstick!

    9.5" seems to be the best happy medium out there.

    dave
     
  10. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    +1

    My own personal fave is the 10"-12" compound radius.
     
  11. openbar

    openbar Supporting Member

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    This is just it - there have been some very vocal users slagging the vintage frets and radii over the years. In fact, they're totally fine, it's just a preference thing.
     
  12. Steve Foley

    Steve Foley Member

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    Personal preference, I suppose, but i play more of a bluesier-style, mostly, with a lot of bends, and the steeper neck radii fret out in the middle of the neck during bends, for me. I reckon I could train myself to bend at a steeper angle, and it might fix most of that, but why bother? I just try to stick with a neck a least as flat as a 9.5", if I'll be doing much lead work, and use the 7.25 for sets where I'm mostly doing rhythm, and it works fine.
    El Steve-0
     
  13. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Either one is real nice. They both have a great comfortable feel. Anything over 10" and it starts to get real flat and cold feeling. If you like lower action for your bends, go with less curve. It's like everything, there's give and take.

    But there is no problem shredding it up on a 7.25" radius. I've played some that played incredible. It's just more critical of a good setup, I think.
     
  14. peedenmark7

    peedenmark7 Member

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    the 7.25 radius is fine for strumming chords... it is very comfortable in the "cowboy" registers of the neck. the 1 5/8ths nut width has something to do with that as well...
    but unless you like your action set on the higher side, there is definitely some hampered soloing due to fretting out in the upper portion of the neck.
    never had one that didnt give me fits.

    this radius obviously predates the shredder players, and the music and playing technique/needs were vastly different at the time of the 50's strat/tele..
    in listening to the solos back then , I dont know why any guitar had more than 12 frets anyway.

    I had a nice '61 strat back in the early 80s, and though it was a great sounding piece...functionality from a soloing point of view was awful.

    however, there is a local player in my area that used a white '61 strat for years and years and he made incredible use of the entire fretboard, still one of the best in milwaukee i.m.h.o.
    I worked on his guitars for a brief time in the mid '80s and his action wasnt high , it was higher than I prefer, but by no means bottle slide height.


    not enough is made about the 7.25 radius not being player friendly.
    its a radius that should really have gone the way of the dinosaur years ago.

    now I'd never knock the guys that love this radius or the guitars that have them...
    but I'll sacrifice some comfort chording for the ability to move unhampered from the 12th fret up.

    12-16 radius works just fine depending on what you want from your guitar.

    though whats good to me ,may stink to you ,and vice versa.
     
  15. Steve Dallas

    Steve Dallas Supporting Member

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    I like the 9.5 personally for any kind of lead playing (actually prefer 12, but I'm a Strat guy so...) but I like 7.25 for chording. I can play either easily enough. What is more important to me is fret size. I can't get along with those tiny little vintage frets. Has to be medium jumbo for me.
     
  16. RvChevron

    RvChevron Member

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    To me, the flatter the radius, the lower the action can be achieved.

    With 10", I need to raise the string just high enough so when bending, the string will vibrate and ring perfertly true once it moves closer to the center of the fretboard.

    With 12", the action is just lower (just slightly over 1/16" at the 22nd frets, high e) and easier to achieve the same thing.

    However, the flatter the radius, the harder to control bending.

    The fingers need to be in a curved position to excert the most force.

    Therefore, the steeper the radius, the easier to excert force, the easier to control.

    10"-16" compound radius is just too flat higher up the fretboard.

    But at the end of the day, all this is still just personal preference.
     
  17. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

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    that q is completely impossible for someone to answer for you, you have to go with what you are comfortable with ... try to find one to play, you'll know pretty quick. I can play a 7.25" radius just fine, but I'm much more comfortable with a 9.5 or 12, or a compound radius in that range.
     
  18. HandOfTheHost

    HandOfTheHost Member

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    I've found that flatter radius necks feel better to me when the nut width is a bit wider (i.e. 1 11/16".) I love 7 1/4" necks with the 'vintage' 1 5/8" nut width. However with that same nut width I've found that a flatter radius makes the strings feel a bit cramped. To my mind, that extra bit of surface area that the 7 1/4" provides really makes the difference.
     
  19. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    The 7.25" is really comfortable all over not just for cowboy chords, and unless you need very low kiddie action it's fine for playing any kind of leads and big bends. Even for a lot of the shreddy playing like arpeggios that use barres and finger rolls for sweep picking and stuff. The 7.25" radius actually makes it very comfortable to do that stuff compared to a flatter board. Just ask Yngwie. All his old strats had the old radius, while his signature strat has a 9.5". The notes just roll off your fingers real easy like butter compared to a flat board.
     
  20. Sean French

    Sean French Supporting Member

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    It boils down to what one prefers.
    I won't own a Tele anymore unless it's got a 7.25 radius.
    This is what feels best to me.I have no fretting out issues either.
    Yes,I like my string up a little high.
    I'm also a LP player so,going from a 7.25 Tele to a 12 LP is no issue for me.
    Seems strange that I'm not partial to the modern 9.5 radius but,I'm not.
    Go with what is best for you.
    After all you're the one who will be playin' it.
     

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