Who Likes Vintage Fender Fretboards?

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859
Here's the deal. .

I'm really gassing for an olympic white Tele with a rosewood fretboard. The only current options that are in my budget is the Classic Series 60's Tele. It looks really cool and I would have bought it weeks ago but the vintage size frets and 7.25" radius FB are scaring me away. I've never actually owned a vintage fretboard like this and if I ever played one it was a long, long time ago. How do you guys like the vintage frets and radius? Are big bends possible without fretting out? Do the small frets create too much drag?
 
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ripgtr

Member
Messages
9,224
My tele has vintage frets but 9.5 radius. I like it cause it is really fast (it's a tele, I use it for country), bends fine but it is a bit harder than bigger frets. Not much though. I play blues on it too and it is fine.
My old strat is/was 7.25 though who knows after 4 fret jobs. The first set of frets did fret out a bit up past the 15th fret if I bent more than a whole step. but then, they were 15 year old frets when I got the guitar. I haven't had an issue on any of the frets since then, and the first job was vintage size.
If you like super low action, then, yea, it can be an issue ,but if you like a little height in your action, probably not.

Hard to say not knowing your style and how you play and how you like it set up.
 

hubberjub

Member
Messages
4,598
My main guitar is a 76 Strat with a 7.25" radius. I'm far from being a shredder, but I had no problems acclimating to it.
 

Strat

Member
Messages
3,879
'59 strat with a 66 neck &
original frets.low but still fun to play once you get used to it
 

metropolis_4

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,405
I come from having owned a lot of Ibanez and ESP guitars with super flat boards and big jumbo frets

Last summer I picked up a strat with vintage frets and a 7.25" radius board.

I too was a little worried about that at first, but so far I haven't found anything I can't play on it.

I recently did an 80's gig with it that included a bunch of hair metal solos with big bends everywhere and I didn't have a single problem with fretting out.
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,848
Don't believe everything you read. Only you have your hands. It's like trying on a new pair of shoes...only you know how they fit. Maybe try out a vintage spec guitar before you buy one so equipped. Personally, I prefer vintage Fender style...but I'm no shredder either ;).
 

Seafoam Green

Member
Messages
712
My main guitars are a '77 Tele and a '65 Strat. Both obviously have the 7.25 radius. The Tele has original small frets, the Strat has been refretted with slightly larger (but not jumbo) wire.

To me, to my hands, they play great, with no bending problems whatsoever, even though I like my action low for the hot rod country style I (attempt...) to play. As has been said above, you need to try it for yourself. I played huge-fret 10 radius PRS guitars for years and thought that was the only way to go. I still love those, but I can play everything I need to on the old (and old-spec) Fenders.
 

cap10kirk

Member
Messages
8,415
Vintage size frets bother me a lot more than the 7.25" radius. If I can feel the board when I play, the frets are too small, I don't like the extra friction of my finger on the fretboard when doing bends and vibrato. The 7.25" radius, while not ideal for me, I can deal with, it just takes some getting used to.
It really boils down to personal preference. Go to a guitar store and find some guitars with a 7.25" radius, see how you like it. Same with the vintage size frets. If you can find both on the same guitar, that's great, but even if you have to try a couple different guitars to try both of those features out, at least you can still get a feel for it, and decide if you really want a guitar with a vintage spec neck.
 
Messages
859
Cool, thanks for the replies. I don't need to shred, but I certainly don't want to play any slower than I do now. I should see if Guitar Center has one in stock and try it first. Man I wish the 60's Baja Tele came in white.
 

Sensates

Member
Messages
821
One of the best neck I played is the on the Classic Series 60's Tele, just the right kind of thickness from top to bottom. Love the radius and the frets too, it does not seem to be as small as the ones in MIJs, and I can still dig into it, doing wild bends and stuff. Mine has a rather light body, changed the pickups (PV64) and the saddles to brass. Honestly I compared mine to some high dollar Teles and that's what I came home with. Didn't like the Classic 50s as much though.

With that said guitar necks are very personal, make sure you try them before you buy.
 

agiehler

Member
Messages
529
Personally I don't care for the vintage specs. The fretwire is harder to play on, unless you use tiny strings, and the round radius limits how low you can put the action without fretting out, even with a perfect setup. But if you already play with higher action and .09s then you probably won't notice any difference.
 

Abram4235

Member
Messages
5,073
With me it's not so much about the radius as much as the frets themselves. If the frets are too small, I end up with the tips if my fingers dragging on the fretboard when doing bends which really slows me down. It seems like the 9.5 fretboard naturally come with taller frets from the factory.
 
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1,650
I just switched from medium jumbo strat to a 52ri tele and inprefer the vintage frets. as a matter of fact bends seem to be more expressive on them for me. could just be a much better set up guitar though
 

DeVilleDude

Member
Messages
2,377
I've tried, but can't deal. I've got a Yamaha Mike Stern, Tele style w hums, MONSTER guitar in every way, if not for the 7.25 and pencil neck. Even w the stock larger frets. I've kept it for years because I've hoped one day I'd just be able to 'adjust'. So down the road it will go.
 

handtrix

Member
Messages
2,349
OP
Seems like you are concerned with fret in your post since you mentioned drag.
On the 21 fret Rosewood's you have a few options depending on the year.
Veneer/
Cap
Slab-board
Skunk-stripe
One piece
 




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