Neck vs Bridge radius

jeff.longino

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I put this in the category of questions you know the answer to but ask anyway:)

I have a project I'm starting using a Fender neck with a 9.5" radius.
I want to use a roller bridge (for a B bender) but all the ones I see are a 12" radius.

How much will I hate that miss match?

1603120545959.png
 

Roxy13

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I notice a mismatch on the G and D strings mostly.
 

smk506

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I put this in the category of.....not the answer I was expecting from "that guy".
Not what I expected either, but I’m pleasantly surprised to read it. @Freddy G, can you elaborate on why that is a bit when you get a minute?

Im assuming it has to do with flattening the strings to reduce the likelyhood of having a higher string jump a lower one when bending, but that’s just a top of my head assumption.
 

Roxy13

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I have to say I'm curious too because I do feel it and it kind of bothers me.
 

LtDave32

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I put this in the category of.....not the answer I was expecting from "that guy".
He s not alone. A lot of guy I build for prefer a flatter radius at the saddle end.
 

LtDave32

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I build a lot of B benders for people. A B bender will eat up bronze saddles, but not stainless saddles.
 

jeff.longino

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@LtDave32 got a bridge of preference for such builds? The root of my question is really that i'm to the pick a bridge point of the build and stewing over the best choice.

This is a scratch build so until the $$$ is spent the field is wide open.
 

LtDave32

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I will assume you are using the Parsons Green bender, as most do. That means it's a Tele. Now, do you have a different bridge pup like a humbucker, or do you want a Tele bridge pup? And if a Tele pup, are you okay with,the standard Tele bridge plate?

If not, there are nice half-bridges by Callaham, Wilkinson, etc that allow you to get rid of the Tele bridge plate and go for a cleaner look. You should use stainless steel saddles in any case, such as Callaham makes. I have one guy I build for who uses the hell out of his bender, gigs 3 or 4 nights a week, uses it heavily on every song. He wore through the bronze saddle, so I installed Callaham stainless, and no wear since. Tele bridge plate on that one.

Tell me your hardware ideas, and I will advise on what to use.
 

Freddy G

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Not what I expected either, but I’m pleasantly surprised to read it. @Freddy G, can you elaborate on why that is a bit when you get a minute?

Im assuming it has to do with flattening the strings to reduce the likelyhood of having a higher string jump a lower one when bending, but that’s just a top of my head assumption.
I just find that whenever I set up a guitar's action by adjusting individual saddle height to just where I want them, the radius at the saddles is always flatter than the neck radius. It has to do with the increasingly higher action as you go from the high E to the low E as depicted here: E-B being the arc of the strings from high E to low E and C-A is the arc of the neck from treble to bass side.

 

jeff.longino

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The only givens are this:
Fender Strat Neck
Humbucker pickup

The body is still an blank uncut....leaning toward a LP Junior-ish contour....but it will be a flat top no carve so mostly tele-ish from that POV.
 

LtDave32

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Jeff, what sort of bender mechanism are you using?
 

jeff.longino

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It is one of the route the back and the shoulder strap bends it.

 

cmjohnson

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Long ago I made a big posting about the theory of neck radius vs. the change in neck width. Basically I showed that the ideal setup is a compound radius where the ratio of the radiuses at the nut and the bridge are the same ratio as the width of all six strings from E to E at the nut and the bridge. You get interesting barrel and saddle shaped distortions in the fretwork when the radius is constant and the fretboard width changes across its length.

I'm saying that the bridge radius should be flatter than the nut radius.

Think of the entire playing surface from nut to bridge as being a section of a truncated cone. For example, let's say that your radius at the nut is 12 inches and the radius at the bridge is 18 inches. If you had a big chunk of wood cut on a huge lathe, that's 24 and 3/4" long, 12 inches in diameter at the skinny end, and 18 inches in diameter at the thick end, then your playing surface would be a section of that surface.
 

LtDave32

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It is one of the route the back and the shoulder strap bends it.


Okay, that works almost exactly like a Parsons / White. The better version of the Hipshot-made Parsons-Green.

But the basic principles are the same.

What you have to watch out for if you are not using a standard Tele, is that the strap lever will fall in the same place and move up and down the same on the upper bout as it will on a Tele.

But as far as the bridge goes, If you use a standard Tele bridge with stainless saddles, you will have to notch the bridge plate for the B string access. No big deal, it's one minute with a dremel.

What you don't want is too high a bridge where it throws off the B string that curls around the pull mechanism. The B needs to lay somewhat parallel with the body.

You could use a hard-tail bridge such as this:

hard tail.jpg


And then swap the B saddle with the one that bender outfit offers:


IMG_9465-768x576.jpg




-And then, adjust the bridge radius to anything you like.

For a Telcaster half-bridge, you can get a Wilkinson half:

half bridge.png


Or a standard Tele bridge plate, then swap out the saddles with the Callaham Stainless ones:



You have a lot of options here.
 

ARandall

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Adding to the radius info, mostly the Stewmac nut setup tutorials show a slightly flatter slot radius than the neck one too.
 

jeff.longino

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Many thanks....all. Very much not the expected answer but that I why you ask. @LtDave32 I'll go through those options you show there on bridges. I was really looking for a "roller" as that seems an obvious choice at first for a bender. But most (not all) of those are brass and I think I hear you saying that getting stainless steel is more critical than getting a roller.

I'm sure I'll stew over it a bit more before pulling the trigger....but all this helps. Thanks.

Also @LtDave32 your comment on the throw movement on a non-tele....I was looking at that and pondering but I think what I'm seeing is that the throw distance is really not that long and so if the upper shoulder of the body is a slightly different contour that will not likely make much difference in the end....but I'm getting that from looking at specs and videos and you have actually built these. What do you think about that lever throw on a LP shoulder?
 

LtDave32

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I have seen a b bender of that sort on a LP. Yes, I have.

(I have also seen a Parsons-White bender on an acoustic guitar, but that's a story for another day.. )

You've got to map it out so the travel of the bender "lever" (strap button) clears the upper bout, but doesn't stick out a mile.

That it follows the curve a bit when it's actuated.

On the roller bridge, a roller would be the obvious best choice, but there's that height issue. As long as the B string as held by the roller bridge allows the B string to travel and wind around the post of the B bender behind it, you're golden.
 

CB91710

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Think of the entire playing surface from nut to bridge as being a section of a truncated cone. For example, let's say that your radius at the nut is 12 inches and the radius at the bridge is 18 inches. If you had a big chunk of wood cut on a huge lathe, that's 24 and 3/4" long, 12 inches in diameter at the skinny end, and 18 inches in diameter at the thick end, then your playing surface would be a section of that surface.
Exactly... But StewMac sells tons of "radius gauges" and you'll get people ready to fight to the death that a 9.5" radius means the strings that sit 1/8" above the wood are also 9.5" radius.

Don't even get them started that it matters whether you are putting the radius gauge above or below the strings... their heads explode :rofl:
 


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