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View Full Version : Does a radius fretboard feel better to play



trevorg888
07-18-2015, 10:29 PM
I have owned a couple of radius fretboards and one i felt seemed harder to play than a flat board what does everyone think about radius and flat boards. What is your comparisons i would be keen to hear

DownUpDave
07-18-2015, 11:33 PM
I have an anotomical issue with the fingers on my left hand, they cannot be straightened. Because of this a radius fretboard allows me to play barr chords easily and cleanly. For the past 10 months I have bought ukes with radius fretboards only because they work better for me at barring, I find no difference in any other area of playing.

Flat fretboard ukes I have owned to compare. Gretsch tenor, Koaloha concerts X 2, Howlett tenor, Loprinzi super soprano, Islander AS-4 soprano, Gianinni baritome.

trevorg888
07-19-2015, 12:22 AM
I dont know if i am just weird some flat boards i find i can barre easier than some radius boards but i think it might be the width of the board that makes the difference for me. Wider radius work well for me as opposed to thin radius boards

coolkayaker1
07-19-2015, 12:34 AM
I, literally, cannot feel any difference.

Hippie Dribble
07-19-2015, 01:10 AM
I'm with Steve on this. I think the whole debate is, for the most part, a lot of froth and bubble. There's a school of thought that a radiused board makes for easier chording, whereas a flat board is more beneficial to single note playing. ( I note that most acoustic and electric guitars have radiused or compound radiused boards while classical guitars are flat). Having owned my share of both I've found I have got used to whatever I happen to be playing at the time very quickly. Currently all my ukes have flat boards so for the moment, that is my preference. My advice is pick one style and stick with it, because, as Trev said, changing between the two can be problematic. I'll grab the champagne...

NatalieS
07-19-2015, 01:30 AM
I've got two Kanile'a tenors, one with a radiused fretboard and one without, and I can't feel a bit of difference between the two.

Hippie Dribble
07-19-2015, 01:52 AM
I, literally, cannot feel any difference.

I've got two Kanile'a tenors, one with a radiused fretboard and one without, and I can't feel a bit of difference between the two.

I can feel the difference but that difference makes no difference to my indifference.

k0k0peli
07-19-2015, 02:08 AM
I can feel the difference but that difference makes no difference to my indifference. Marston Bates (philosopher, and Margaret Mead's husband) revolutioned information theory by simply defining info as "any difference that makes a difference." That accords with my definition of reality as "whatever bites your ass." If it doesn't affect me, if it makes no difference to me, then bleh.

Meanwhile, all my 'ukes are flat and all my guitars (non-classical) seem to be *very* slightly radiused so I've nothing to compare. Ah, but while most of my mandolins are cheap and flat, my new Keith E Coleman handmade Celtic mando is indeed rediused. But I notice no handling difference between this and the old flat Kay (USA) or my new Rogue (China) A-types. Peace.

HBolte
07-19-2015, 02:11 AM
I can feel the difference but that difference makes no difference to my indifference.

Yeah, exactly, me too. I think...

dsummers
07-19-2015, 02:23 AM
I have to go along with NatalieS, Hippie Dribble, and HBolte.

Ukulele Eddie
07-19-2015, 03:14 AM
I've played ukes with flatboards that were very easy to barre and I've played some with a radius that were easy. Radius in and of itself doesn't matter to me. It's the whole kaboodle and how it all comes together: neck shape, neck width, etc.

Doc_J
07-19-2015, 05:25 AM
A good low setup is much more important to me than whether the fretboard is radiused.

I don't feel much difference in fretboard radius while playing, but flat fretboards are somewhat easier to barre for my straight fingers. Although I prefer a radius. A low setup (around .020/.080) is key to playability in either case.

Patrick Madsen
07-19-2015, 05:59 AM
I like a radius very much. Just my preference. The only flatboard I've liked is my Martin very narrow necked baritone. I recently received a Griffin with what he called a J board radius. The 1&2 string side was radiused while the 3&4 was flat. Feels really good. I think your latest G is also set up that way Trevor.

kypfer
07-19-2015, 06:28 AM
Having played a guitar with a radiussed fretboard for 40+ years (the same instrument) I'm a little biased. I certainly notice the difference when barring on a flat fretboard, I feel the edges of the neck, especially the treble side, but only if I'm being "laid-back" ... if I "sit up properly" there's very little difference for me.

I think, if faced with the choice of the same instrument, with or without a radiussed fretboard, I'd probably go with the radiussed fretboard, but it wouldn't be a deal-breaker. Indeed, knowing I have to "sit up properly" to play an instrument comfortably often means I play better anyway, so maybe a radiussed fretbard isn't such a good idea !! ;)

Just my tuppence worth ... YMMV :)

bearbike137
07-19-2015, 06:51 AM
I have had both - and I prefer a flat radius. It seems to make little difference to my left hand (for chording and such), but my right hand is much better with a flat string profile (for picking and strumming).

hollisdwyer
07-19-2015, 06:54 AM
I dont know if i am just weird some flat boards i find i can barre easier than some radius boards but i think it might be the width of the board that makes the difference for me. Wider radius work well for me as opposed to thin radius boards

I agree that my wider fretboards, radiused or not, are easier to play. My next two commissions will be 1.5 inches +. Maybe 1 9/16 or 1 10/16. Has anyone a uke with these widths? If so what do you think about them?

stevepetergal
07-19-2015, 10:09 AM
For strumming, there might be little to no difference. I found, playing strictly picking classical, the radius was a bit of a struggle. Felt like I had to reach to get at strings 3 and 4. This must be why you don't see classical guitars with radiused fretboards.

Andy Chen
07-19-2015, 02:45 PM
I've played ukes with flatboards that were very easy to barre and I've played some with a radius that were easy. Radius in and of itself doesn't matter to me. It's the whole kaboodle and how it all comes together: neck shape, neck width, etc.

I tend to agree with Eddie.

Although I do a lot of barre chords, my BP and both Blackbird ukes are very comfortable to play.

My Kinnard and Pono have radiused finger boards and I can feel them and appreciate the feature. That said, I have to get used to the radius if I have been playing a flat board for a while, or else I could pull the A string off the fretboard.