talk to me about radius

jeff.longino

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My current build has taken a turn and i'm going to try making a fender-ish neck from scratch. I have played (and built) more Gibson-ish over the years so know what a 12"ish radius is like....but really can't say that I have any real understand of the 7.5" 9.5" world.

As I try to find the things I need both parts (nut) and tools (radius sander) it puts me at having to make a decision sort of site unseen. But I think this will not be the last neck I build so would like to choose wisely so I do not have to rebuy tools again, mostly the radius sanding beam.

I know it is all opinion and hard to put into words but can you guys try to give me some understand of the difference in feel/playability between 7.5 and 9.5? Or are they so close you barely even tell?
 

LtDave32

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Folks that go from a Gibson to a vintage style Strat or Tele have to deal with going from a 12" radius to a 7 1/4". They often complain of tough bends on the tighter radius, as if they were bending "uphill".

Some it bothers. Others don't even notice.

I don't notice it. But I'm ham-fisted anyway. I don't have those finely-boned, spider-leggy guitar hands.
 

Neemo

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If i had to pick I'd personally choose 9.5 on a fender, but i have a C/S strat with a 7.25-9.5 compound radius neck and its pretty awesome but bends are a little tougher nearer to the nut
 

jeff.longino

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Yeah, 9.5 is my preference....sort of the middle ground balance. Just finding it hard to find a pre-slotted nut, they all seem to by 7.5". Not really wanting to add nut files to my tool expense this round so I really want a pre radiused and pre slotted.
 

jkes01

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My MiM Strat has a 12” radius :cool:

Be careful and measure the radius of the nut slot before ordering a nut.

I made an new nut for a friends Strat and the fretboard radius was different than the nut slot radius.

I measured the fretboard radius to be 9.5" and the nut slot at close to 20."
 

jeff.longino

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Yeah that is the other complexity i'm finding with these silly fenders....is the nut back flat or is it also radiused. The neck i'm building will need the flat.....but that also adds to the challenge of finding one you want IN STOCK.
 

efstop

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I wanted a Tele as close as possible to a real '50s model, so it had to have a 7 1/4" radius. I have no problems with it. Fender "updates" some of their reissues with a 9 1/2" radius, might as well put a six saddle bridge on there, too :D
 

Brek

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I bought a Chinese tele knock off, it’s not bad, but the neck feels like it has no radius at all, looks completely flat, it actually isn’t bad, I can bend ok and barre chords ok as well. Although I have bought a new roasted maple neck for it, as the weird neck is going on a strat body I have.
 

dmac in SC

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G&L's are are all 12'' radius..Fender now has the 'compound' radius necks :confused:
 

strayedstrater

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On a 7.25", you can set it up for great big bends or low action, but not both at the same time. Action doesn't have to be crazy high for big bends, you just can't set it as low as some people prefer. (Bends choke out with low action.)

I prefer medium to moderately high action, so it doesn't matter to me.

But while there are lots of people who don't mind 7.25", there are few people who actual prefer it. Even most current Fender reissues have switched over to 9.5". And some models like the Eric Johnson Signatures have 12".
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You mention a radius sanding beam. Looking at Stew Mac, their beams cost as much as a small set of nut files.

I'd say do this neck at 12", buy some files and a handful of nut blanks. Fender style nuts are the easiest to cut and after you get the hang of it you'll never want or need to use precut nuts again.

Then sometime in the future, get your hands on some 7.25 and 9.5 necks and see if you like how they feel.
 
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Not really wanting to add nut files to my tool expense this round so I really want a pre radiused and pre slotted.
Nut files and a spring spacing gauge were some of the most useful luthier tools I've purchased. Making nuts from scratch isn't all that hard, and the ability to fix guitars with high nuts or change the string spacing to suit is golden. Philadelphia luthier tool & supply has much more reasonable prices on that sort of stuff than stewmac fwiw.
 
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Indeed I’m working hard not to pay SM their 50% markup. What string spacing tool are you using?
Yep, I hear ya. Here is the string spacing ruler I use:

and these are the nut files I use:

My big "ahha" moment with these was when I took an old Gibson acoustic (1957 LG-2) that I thought the neck was too narrow for fingerstyle and simply made a new nut for it with wider spacing (no other changes) - now it is a great finger style guitar!
 

jeff.longino

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Indeed, I have a Alvarez J200 clone that I really like but it is a little too hard to wrap my thumb onto the low E. Looking at it there is a good bit of room to move that E.....just needs a nut.

as with any build I’ve got more $$$ in at this point than I wanted too but I’ll definitely be looking to get nut files at some point.

how did you get the old Gibson nut off?
 
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how did you get the old Gibson nut off?
It was similar to the video John posted, but it was an acoustic not a LP. Carefully cut around the nut with a new X-Acto blade, then light tapping. If the nut is in a channel, tap from the end to slide it out. If not, you can tap from the fretboard side to knock it out towards the headstock. Go slow and tap lightly. You can also heat the area up to soften the glue, or use CA solvent if you know it was installed with CA.

Oh, and I had just spent $70 or so at Philly without the code too....arrghhhhh......still cheaper than that other place though!
 

jkes01

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It was similar to the video John posted, but it was an acoustic not a LP. Carefully cut around the nut with a new X-Acto blade, then light tapping. If the nut is in a channel, tap from the end to slide it out. If not, you can tap from the fretboard side to knock it out towards the headstock. Go slow and tap lightly. You can also heat the area up to soften the glue, or use CA solvent if you know it was installed with CA.

Oh, and I had just spent $70 or so at Philly without the code too....arrghhhhh......still cheaper than that other place though!
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