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Tigeralum2001
10-11-2014, 07:37 AM
I've been looking into fretboard radii and noticed there is no real standard, Seems as if MyaMoe uses 12" while Pono is using 16". Custom builders offer 12-20" (maybe more upon request). I understand the fewer inch radius, the more curve; but how does one tell which is best without trying them all? Since this is supposedly to help barre chords, is there an accepted way to measure one's finger to determine the best radius? What radius do you prefer?

sam13
10-11-2014, 09:19 AM
That is a good question ... I have large hands, and long arms ... and really need a radius as it reduces the tension in the left wrist whiling barring chords.

Having said that I have tried radius necks on Pono Pro Classic Tenors (and own three), and a LFdM (and will own one) ... for me it has to have one or I keep looking.

Tigeralum2001
10-12-2014, 12:07 PM
What radii do you prefer?

Patrick Madsen
10-12-2014, 03:08 PM
For me, the radius comfort depends on the setup, shape and feel of the neck. I'm finding somewhere in the middle for a radius. One of mine has a fairly extreme radius; I got used to it and would choose it over a flatboard.

Laouik
10-14-2014, 02:54 PM
What radii do you prefer?

I was looking for a slight radius and ordered one, initially, with a 20" radius. But then I tried 20" and 16" and realized that on a 38mm width nut, the 20" is so slight that it's almost like it's not there. 16" had a very slightly noticeable curve, just enough to help with barred chords. So... it's being built with a 16" radius :D

kissing
10-14-2014, 04:13 PM
Radius fretboard on ukes is a funny concept because this appears to be the case with guitars:

Flat fretboards are better for fingerpicking and speedy soloing. It is easier for the right hand to pick a flat line of strings than on a radius.

Radius is only advantageous for barred chords, and nothing else.

Flat fretboards give more consistent string action higher up in the neck and are better for string bending as the strings do not choke on the radius..

Some of the electric guitars made exclusively for shredding come with flatter fretboards, and is considered to be an exclusive feature..

Classical guitars appear to never have radius due to them being for primarily fingerpicking, often speedy classical instrumentals.

Electric guitarists consider flat to be an exclusive feature... ukulele players are considering radius to be an exclusive feature... reminds me of how Apple Iphones are getting bigger and Apple Ipads are getting smaller

sam13
10-14-2014, 04:27 PM
What radii do you prefer?

I like both ... and can't remember the difference between either ... but will say barring is very easy with either uke ... and the tone is way better with the LDdM.

Cocobolo Ukuleles
10-14-2014, 10:49 PM
We are now using a 12" radius on all of our fingerboards and we have been very happy with the improvements it has made to playability. I have had several happy customers write me about how much they enjoy the radius fingerboard, and even some swear that their skills improve significantly while playing our ukes.

I am biased, but I really like the 12" radius. It was one of the best improvements that we made recently. We considered a 16" radius, but I am happy that we went with more radius. The fingerboard on a uke isn't very wide, and a 16" radius might hardly be noticeable.

If you are interested in a few of our customer reviews, I have compiled several of them on our webpage. Several of them comment on how much they are enjoying the radius fingerboards:

http://www.cocoboloukuleles.com/index.php/2014-05-10-08-22-16/happy-customers

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-15-2014, 06:12 AM
Radius fretboard on ukes is a funny concept because this appears to be the case with guitars:

Flat fretboards are better for fingerpicking and speedy soloing. It is easier for the right hand to pick a flat line of strings than on a radius.

Radius is only advantageous for barred chords, and nothing else.

Flat fretboards give more consistent string action higher up in the neck and are better for string bending as the strings do not choke on the radius..

Some of the electric guitars made exclusively for shredding come with flatter fretboards, and is considered to be an exclusive feature..

Classical guitars appear to never have radius due to them being for primarily fingerpicking, often speedy classical instrumentals.

Electric guitarists consider flat to be an exclusive feature... ukulele players are considering radius to be an exclusive feature... reminds me of how Apple Iphones are getting bigger and Apple Ipads are getting smaller

Wholeheartedly agree with everything you've said here.

Wicked
10-15-2014, 08:23 AM
Couple of comments...


Flat fretboards are better for fingerpicking and speedy soloing. It is easier for the right hand to pick a flat line of strings than on a radius.

As an "advanced" guitarist, I am calling BS on this one. I can shred the hell out of vintage fender (7.25" radius). This is one of those things that people on guitar forums use to justify why their personal preference is better than someone else's.


Radius is only advantageous for barred chords, and nothing else.

Again, not so. It is personal preference, really. Some people prefer flat for barring.


Flat fretboards give more consistent string action higher up in the neck and are better for string bending as the strings do not choke on the radius..

A properly constructed and set-up instrument will have consistent action, regardless of radius.

Fretting out while bending is really not an issue with nylon strings, and a compound radius will eliminate the problem completely.


Some of the electric guitars made exclusively for shredding come with flatter fretboards, and is considered to be an exclusive feature..

I have never heard anyone refer to a flat fretboard as an exclusive feature.


Classical guitars appear to never have radius due to them being for primarily fingerpicking, often speedy classical instrumentals.

I would guess that classical guitars started with flat fretboards for practical reasons related to construction rather than playing. They have remained flat because the pedagogical nature of classical training has entrenched flat fretboards as the only acceptable choice.

EDIT: After re-reading this post, I think it probably comes across as snide in tone - which was not my intention at all. My point is simply that fretboard radius is a completely subjective factor in the use and enjoyment of your instrument. Everyone's mileage will vary...

kissing
10-15-2014, 06:56 PM
Couple of comments...



As an "advanced" guitarist, I am calling BS on this one. I can shred the hell out of vintage fender (7.25" radius). This is one of those things that people on guitar forums use to justify why their personal preference is better than someone else's.



Again, not so. It is personal preference, really. Some people prefer flat for barring.



A properly constructed and set-up instrument will have consistent action, regardless of radius.

Fretting out while bending is really not an issue with nylon strings, and a compound radius will eliminate the problem completely.



I have never heard anyone refer to a flat fretboard as an exclusive feature.



I would guess that classical guitars started with flat fretboards for practical reasons related to construction rather than playing. They have remained flat because the pedagogical nature of classical training has entrenched flat fretboards as the only acceptable choice.

EDIT: After re-reading this post, I think it probably comes across as snide in tone - which was not my intention at all. My point is simply that fretboard radius is a completely subjective factor in the use and enjoyment of your instrument. Everyone's mileage will vary...



I dont think you understand what the point of a radius fretboard is. It is an innovation for making barred chords easier as the curve more closely resembles the curvature of the barring hand/finger.

I never said that having a radius fretboard makes it impossible to shred on; but it is a factor.

No examples? Ibanez wizard necks, Jackson, ESP, etc all have relatively flatter necks. Why? Because flatter necks are generally considered to be "faster". Ever wonder why electric guitar necks are flatter high up in the fretboard? It is to allow for faster shredding and reduction of sustain lost by choke caused by radius.

Radius is great for rhythm playing, but certainly not the ideal for speedy solos. A "vintage" strat with 7.25 radius was not designed with shredding in mind. It would be one of the last choices for a shred guitar if someone was looking for one. If you can manage to do so, great..

It's not about undermining peoples' preferences, but outlining the purpose behind design features.

Example of a guitar that considers an absolutely flat fingerboard as a "feature"
http://www.vigierguitars.com/page/fiche_produit.php?id_prod=232

reference:
http://proguitarshop.com/andyscorner/fretboard-radius-explained

An easy saying regarding radius is, flatter=faster. When the strings are at an even height, you can move your fingers faster across them and also perform bends efficiently without less fretting out. ESP, Dean, and Jackson all have a flat fretboard radius from 12-16”, obviously aimed at those who like to rip it up!

mds725
10-15-2014, 09:25 PM
Radius fretboard on ukes is a funny concept because this appears to be the case with guitars:

Flat fretboards are better for fingerpicking and speedy soloing. It is easier for the right hand to pick a flat line of strings than on a radius.

Radius is only advantageous for barred chords, and nothing else.

Flat fretboards give more consistent string action higher up in the neck and are better for string bending as the strings do not choke on the radius..

Some of the electric guitars made exclusively for shredding come with flatter fretboards, and is considered to be an exclusive feature..

Classical guitars appear to never have radius due to them being for primarily fingerpicking, often speedy classical instrumentals.

Electric guitarists consider flat to be an exclusive feature... ukulele players are considering radius to be an exclusive feature... reminds me of how Apple Iphones are getting bigger and Apple Ipads are getting smaller

The OP didn't ask whether raduised fretboards on ukuleles had any value. He wanted to know what measurement of radiused fretboard people who had tried varuis types preferred. There's a whole separate thread here (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?100362-Radius-Neck-Is-it-Snake-Oil) about whether having a radius on an ukulele fretboard is of any value, and discussing that question here instead of answering the OP's question is a form of hijacking this thread. Please continue that debate in the other thread.

kissing
10-15-2014, 10:21 PM
I consider this a new thread compared to the other one. They have different dates, and my content is not unrelated. My contribution to the topic was an opinion that i find a discussion about "favourite radius fretboards" a bit interesting for the reasons I have stated. Someone had some comments to make in reaponse, and I have responded back. That's a forum. That's what a discussion is. Are you saying only people with certain opinions can reply?

If there is something a lot worse than thread hijacking, it's backseat moderating such as your's. I'm pretty sure the OP didnt ask for that either.

Wicked
10-16-2014, 01:15 AM
I dont think you understand what the point of a radius fretboard is. It is an innovation for making barred chords easier as the curve more closely resembles the curvature of the barring hand/finger.

I never said that having a radius fretboard makes it impossible to shred on; but it is a factor.

No examples? Ibanez wizard necks, Jackson, ESP, etc all have relatively flatter necks. Why? Because flatter necks are generally considered to be "faster". Ever wonder why electric guitar necks are flatter high up in the fretboard? It is to allow for faster shredding and reduction of sustain lost by choke caused by radius.

Radius is great for rhythm playing, but certainly not the ideal for speedy solos. A "vintage" strat with 7.25 radius was not designed with shredding in mind. It would be one of the last choices for a shred guitar if someone was looking for one. If you can manage to do so, great..

It's not about undermining peoples' preferences, but outlining the purpose behind design features.

Example of a guitar that considers an absolutely flat fingerboard as a "feature"
http://www.vigierguitars.com/page/fiche_produit.php?id_prod=232

reference:
http://proguitarshop.com/andyscorner/fretboard-radius-explained

I don't usually like to discuss my background, but I have been a guitarist for 34 years. I started playing when I was 13. By the time I was 16, I was playing with the likes of Ray Charles, Al Di Meola and Ted Nugent (yes, he was insane back then too). Although I left that path many years ago (no regrets, by the way), I remain an active player with enough street cred to be taken seriously by professionals.

I think that I understand what a fretboard radius is. I also understand that there is a ton of guitar pseudoscience out there on the internet. A flat fretboard is not inherently "faster" than a radiused board. Do some people find that they can play better on a flat board? Yes - just as there are players who feel they play better on a radiused board.

The fretboard is the instrument's User Interface. Choose the one that works for you, and ignore everything else.

In answer to the OP, my current ukuleles all have flat fretboards. I think that 12" is probably what I will go for on my next upgrade.

I am currently building a semihollow steel string uke. I am seriously considering a conical (compound) radiused board - 10" at the nut, out to about 14" at the bridge.

kissing
10-16-2014, 05:15 AM
I don't usually like to discuss my background, but I have been a guitarist for 34 years. I started playing when I was 13. By the time I was 16, I was playing with the likes of Ray Charles, Al Di Meola and Ted Nugent (yes, he was insane back then too). Although I left that path many years ago (no regrets, by the way), I remain an active player with enough street cred to be taken seriously by professionals.

I think that I understand what a fretboard radius is. I also understand that there is a ton of guitar pseudoscience out there on the internet. A flat fretboard is not inherently "faster" than a radiused board. Do some people find that they can play better on a flat board? Yes - just as there are players who feel they play better on a radiused board.

The fretboard is the instrument's User Interface. Choose the one that works for you, and ignore everything else.

In answer to the OP, my current ukuleles all have flat fretboards. I think that 12" is probably what I will go for on my next upgrade.

I am currently building a semihollow steel string uke. I am seriously considering a conical (compound) radiused board - 10" at the nut, out to about 14" at the bridge.

It's great that you have so much street cred, although there is as much of that on the internet as "pseudoscience".

Other than "I'm an expert" and "Some people like radius and some people like flat", is there anything else you can tell us from your exceptionally vast wealth of knowledge on why people would be drawn to certain types? Isn't that what we're discussing? Favourite radius. What are we basing "favourite radius" on? Looks? Flavour? Colour?

No matter how important an individual's "feel" towards a certain fretboard is, surely there are some pros and cons we can attribute to different kinds of fretboards and analyse why people prefer them?

I agree that choosing a fretboard that works is the way to go, but I disagree with ignoring the reasons behind the choosing...

-"I prefer 12" radius because .. (reasons)"
-"I prefer flat fretboards because .. (reasons)"

-"NO YOU CAN'T HAVE REASONS! I CALL BS! I AM EXPERT OF 50 YEARS!
ALL IT MATTERS IS THE 'FEEL'! IGNORE ALL REASONS"


This might as well have been a conversation about "Favourite fruit" that went:

-What is your favourite fruit?

-"I like apples"
-"I like lemons"

-"I think the people who like apples like them because they're sweet, whereas the people who like lemons like the sour, citrus flavour"

-"NO! IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE PERSON. SOME PEOPLE CAN EAT APPLES BECAUSE THEY LIKE SOUR THINGS AND SOME PEOPLE PREFER LEMONS FOR THEIR SWEETNESS.
I AM A FRUIT EXPERT OF 30 YEARS PLUS.."

I appreciate and enjoy a good debate where there are differing opinions, but all I'm asking for is a bit more clarity and reasoning in the disagreements than "BS I'm an expert" and "because I said so". Ironically, a majority of the "pseudoscience" on the internet seems to come from people who hype themselves up as "experts".

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
10-16-2014, 08:36 AM
The only people I get requests for radiused fretboards from are weak players, for whatever reason (inexperience, age and other physical considerations), or former guitar players who think any fretted instrument is incomplete without one. It seems to be a non issue for the experienced ukulele players that I've run into. Perhaps one out of 20 will request a radiused fret board. When they do I like to use a 16" radius. Anything much over that is awkward for playing most kinds of music and less that that is not noticeable on a fingerboard that is barely 1 1/2" wide. These observations may not be representative of the ukulele community as a whole but are based soley on my personal experience involving hundreds of transactions with customers. My own personal preference is for zero radius.

Wicked
10-16-2014, 08:41 AM
It's great that you have so much street cred, although there is as much of that on the internet as "pseudoscience".

Other than "I'm an expert" and "Some people like radius and some people like flat", is there anything else you can tell us from your exceptionally vast wealth of knowledge on why people would be drawn to certain types? Isn't that what we're discussing? Favourite radius. What are we basing "favourite radius" on? Looks? Flavour? Colour?

No matter how important an individual's "feel" towards a certain fretboard is, surely there are some pros and cons we can attribute to different kinds of fretboards and analyse why people prefer them?

I agree that choosing a fretboard that works is the way to go, but I disagree with ignoring the reasons behind the choosing...

-"I prefer 12" radius because .. (reasons)"
-"I prefer flat fretboards because .. (reasons)"

-"NO YOU CAN'T HAVE REASONS! I CALL BS! I AM EXPERT OF 50 YEARS!
ALL IT MATTERS IS THE 'FEEL'! IGNORE ALL REASONS"


This might as well have been a conversation about "Favourite fruit" that went:

-What is your favourite fruit?

-"I like apples"
-"I like lemons"

-"I think the people who like apples like them because they're sweet, whereas the people who like lemons like the sour, citrus flavour"

-"NO! IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE PERSON. SOME PEOPLE CAN EAT APPLES BECAUSE THEY LIKE SOUR THINGS AND SOME PEOPLE PREFER LEMONS FOR THEIR SWEETNESS.
I AM A FRUIT EXPERT OF 30 YEARS PLUS.."

I appreciate and enjoy a good debate where there are differing opinions, but all I'm asking for is a bit more clarity and reasoning in the disagreements than "BS I'm an expert" and "because I said so". Ironically, a majority of the "pseudoscience" on the internet seems to come from people who hype themselves up as "experts".


Believe what you want,son. I'm not going to get into an argument with you.

Cocobolo Ukuleles
10-16-2014, 08:49 AM
No need for this thread to take a negative tone. None of us have the right answer. At the end of the day it is going to come down to what feels best to each INDIVIDUAL player based on many factors. My advice is to go into a high end shop and play several different radiuses to see how they feel to you.

That said, we have had a very positive response from our 12" radius and I would feel comfortable recommending it to most ukulele players.

Kanaka916
10-16-2014, 10:55 AM
The subject of this thread is simple; the OP would like to know a preferred or favorite fretboard radius. Can we keep it simple? Just 3 of the 15 responses answered the question with their reasons behind it. No reason at all to make it personal.

sam13
10-16-2014, 10:57 AM
No need for this thread to take a negative tone. None of us have the right answer. At the end of the day it is going to come down to what feels best to each INDIVIDUAL player based on many factors. My advice is to go into a high end shop and play several different radiuses to see how they feel to you.

That said, we have had a very positive response from our 12" radius and I would feel comfortable recommending it to most ukulele players.

Will you be adding a Cedar top to the Cocobolo Back and sides? Would consider a Tenor with radius ... and if I could get ... GOTOH UPT's added to it. Thanks.

Cocobolo Ukuleles
10-16-2014, 11:26 AM
Hi Sam, I just got my hands on some Western Red Cedar and I am really looking forward to building several customs with it. We experimented with it a few months ago and it sounded excellent. We are now offering the option to upgrade to Peghed geared tuners, strap buttons and abalone markers on the top of the fretboard (abalone on top is an option because many people like the cocobolo fretboard in its natural state, but we include them as side markers standard).

We would be happy to build you a tenor :) We are just finalizing our new designs now and we should have our first tenors and sopranos available in about 7-8 weeks. We are really excited.

DownUpDave
10-16-2014, 11:47 AM
I like a 16" radius, reasons below

#1 -because the only uke I own with a radiused fret board is a Pono and that is what they use
#2 - I am a weak player
#3 - I am old
#4 - I have hand issues
#5 - I like to agree with Chuck Moore (see points#2-4 above). :pHe is way smarter about this stuff than me :cool:

kissing
10-16-2014, 11:53 AM
Believe what you want,son. I'm not going to get into an argument with you.

So in conclusion, you have nothing more to say than "I'm an expert and I am right, but I will in no way support my claims with any evidence or logical explanation".

You do realise this "argument" was started by you when you made a snide post in calling "BS" on my post.

I don't push my opinion to be the only correct answer and welcome people to express other opinions.

But you sir are nothing but a troll who disrespects other people and have nothing to support your perspective other than blowing your own trumpet about what an expert you are.

I am the one not getting into an argument with you. Gramps.

Wicked
10-16-2014, 01:13 PM
I dropped it. I believe that everyone would like you to do so as well. This is my last post on this thread.

southcoastukes
10-16-2014, 04:35 PM
I have two favorite radii.

The first would be 0" for the reasons Chuck outlined. The second would be a compound radius, and I don't have a measurement for that. Neither do the folks who do it.

Handmade Latin instruments (and probably Spanish as well), will often have what we call a "J" shape. The fretboard is curved (by hand) at the bottom side but is flat the rest of the way across. Our last luthier built this way. The curve at the bottom was so slight I doubt many people noticed it. Nonetheless, this is an extremely comfortable fretboard for the great majority of players because in contrast to the two sided radius, this actually is the shape of the typical human finger.

The machined two-sided radius curve may be easier to fret on the 1st or even 2nd strings, but it's often harder for many to fret on the 4th string. Just look at your fingers. They don't form a "C" shape, they form a "J". The more of a radius that a fretboard has, the more difficult it becomes to fret the 4th string.

estreya
10-16-2014, 04:49 PM
" ... Ted Nugent (yes, he was insane back then too)."

Too funny. And i found your posts to be quite informative as well, Wicked. Thank you!