PDA

View Full Version : Radius fretboard versus flat fretboard?



imperialbari
08-04-2016, 02:40 PM
I easily see the benefit of the radius fretboard when it comes to the barred chords and the action of the left index (for righthanders, no discrimination intended, but that is the condition given to me).

However I have come to think about potential problems for my right hand action.

When strumming the right hand more or less is hinged on its wrist so that the fingers move within parts of a circle.

As the attack points of the strings also form part of a circle with radius fretboards, the middle strings are much easier for the fingers to hit than the outer strings.

Is the experience of players with radius fretboards that all 4 strings are equally easy to strum, or is there a tendency that the fingers pass by the outer strings (G & A on tenors, concerts, and most sopranos)?

I know the involved math exactly, but I never studied math in English, so my wording may be less than standard English. Hopefully my point still comes through.

Klaus in DK

imperialbari
08-04-2016, 03:24 PM
Thanks for confirming that experience supports, what my math brain just imagined.

Klaus

johnson430
08-04-2016, 03:35 PM
Some say it doesn't matter but I have a tenor uke with a very pronounced radius and it is a dream to play. I have zero issues with my radius fretboard.
Each builder is going to have a different radius. And it might come down to your playing style too. I have a friend who cannot feel the radius on his custom tenor but is recognizable on his guitars. So, the bottom line is: YMMV.

DownUpDave
08-04-2016, 03:55 PM
Yea radius fret boards are a marketing gimick and they really suck. That is why some of the very best builders in the whole world have them on the ukes they build. Mya Moe, Collings, Kinnard, LfdM, I'iwi, Ko'olau, Pono etc. etc........none of them know what they are doing and they are just trying to scam you.

bunnyf
08-04-2016, 04:21 PM
I have a baritone Pono PC and I find the radius fretboard to be subtle and it is just slightly easier to bar and little or no difference on strumming. It would not be a deal breaker one way or the other but would probably pick radius (I have one radius and 3 non)

johnson430
08-04-2016, 05:01 PM
Yea radius fret boards are a marketing gimick and they really suck. That is why some of the very best builders in the whole world have them on the ukes they build. Mya Moe, Collings, Kinnard, LfdM, I'iwi, Ko'olau, Pono etc. etc........none of them know what they are doing and they are just trying to scam you.

Dave, you are a very funny man.

Camsuke
08-04-2016, 05:08 PM
Yea radius fret boards are a marketing gimick and they really suck. That is why some of the very best builders in the whole world have them on the ukes they build. Mya Moe, Collings, Kinnard, LfdM, I'iwi, Ko'olau, Pono etc. etc........none of them know what they are doing and they are just trying to scam you.

I couldn't agree more Dave, Kinnard's have sucked me in a couple of times now with these gimmicks.

rappsy
08-04-2016, 05:11 PM
Yea radius fret boards are a marketing gimick and they really suck. That is why some of the very best builders in the whole world have them on the ukes they build. Mya Moe, Collings, Kinnard, LfdM, I'iwi, Ko'olau, Pono etc. etc........none of them know what they are doing and they are just trying to scam you.


I couldn't agree more Dave, Kinnard's have sucked me in a couple of times now with these gimmicks.

Yup. Live and learn. I had no idea that these companies were out to get me...

johnson430
08-04-2016, 05:22 PM
Yup. Live and learn. I had no idea that these companies were out to get me...

Lenny, you are just now figuring this out? There is obviously some secret group of uke builders/manufacturers that are doing every thing they can to squeeze every dollar, pound, euro, yuan or yen out of each and every last one of us.
Sure, call me a quack, a "conspiracy nut" but how else can you explain UAS?
Honesrtly, I think they are putting some addictive property in the ukes.

pointpergame
08-04-2016, 07:45 PM
But seriously, folks...
I acquired a Mya Moe concert some months ago because I wanted to try a radiused keyboard. Over the decades I've played all the strings from fiddle to Flamenco guitar. The flamenco/classical guitar is a special beastie: as wide as a fingerboard gets and dead flat. Once you can play any arbitrary chord at fast jazz speeds on a keyboard like this, the differences from one instrument to another pretty much fade away. It seems when I started out if somebody handed me a different guitar, the change was so dramatic, I could hardly play it. Then one day it all disappeared. All guitars / mandolins / ukuleles feel about the same among their type.
Having said that, I wasn't wild about the Mya Moe. It's a little hard to articulate, but it was like, "Oh, now I have to put out this extra effort with my left." But I think it boils down to what's familiar. It seems the right hand just does whatever it has to do. Maybe there's an advantage for arthritic fingers in avoiding hyper extension.

saltytri
08-04-2016, 07:56 PM
These discussions about radiused vs. non-radiused pop up regularly and never result in consensus. Some want one, some want the other, some don't care and that's perfectly OK. My base price includes non-radiused and radiused is an upcharge because they require more work, not because they are necessarily better. The issue is on par with fretboard width. Some prefer 1 3/8", some prefer 1 1/2", some prefer something else and some don't care very much. The best strategy is to try instruments with different variables and see what works for you. And do as Dave does: give your sense of humor some exercise now and then. :)

Ukulele Eddie
08-05-2016, 01:07 AM
Given the many variables, the only way to truly "know" is to compare two ukes from same builder with and without radius. Because I care about you all so much, my new Hive will have a radius so I can compare and we can end this debate once and of all. I think each of you who care should send me $1 to help defray the radius fretboard cost. ;-)

DownUpDave
08-05-2016, 01:44 AM
Given the many variables, the only way to truly "know" is to compare two ukes from same builder with and without radius. Because I care about you all so much, my new Hive will have a radius so I can compare and we can end this debate once and of all. I think each of you who care should send me $1 to help defray the radius fretboard cost. ;-)

Eddie you are such a good guy I will donate $1.38 to this worthy cause.

Well done old chap.

SteveZ
08-05-2016, 02:30 AM
Radiused fretboards are fine...depending. For me, it doesn't matter much with a four-string, nylon-stringed uke. However, add more strings (like my 6 & 8 string ukes) or have an instrument with steel strings, then the feel of a radiused fretboard has more merit. Would like to find a standard-build 6 or 8 string with a radiused fretboard.

Don't get me wrong. Given the choice between "with or without" I'd take a "with" model every time, provided the overall sound quality was equal. However, if (sound being equal) the difference adds too much to the cost, then I'll go "without." As a casual player who roams among several types of instruments, It's not a game-changer. For the professional player who plays hours on end, that's another matter altogether.

hammer40
08-05-2016, 02:33 AM
I have both, and for me, it wouldn't be a deal breaker either way. I do find it slightly easier to bar with the radius, but can still do it fine without it. On the other hand, I actually think I might prefer to finger chords on a flat fretboard. Neither makes me any better, unfortunately.

stevejfc
08-05-2016, 04:46 AM
I have both, and for me, it wouldn't be a deal breaker either way. I do find it slightly easier to bar with the radius, but can still do it fine without it. On the other hand, I actually think I might prefer to finger chords on a flat fretboard. Neither makes me any better, unfortunately.
Agreed. Either way is ok. Once you are comfortable with the neck and fretboard, you barely notice whether it's radiused or not.

johnson430
08-05-2016, 06:01 AM
Again, it might come down to how much radius is on the fretboard. I have attached two photos for a comparison. For me, there is not only a visual difference but a difference in play-ability.
I took photos of the saddles because the saddle shape follows the fretboard shape on both and the saddle curve, or lack of, is more prevalent when photographing the saddles opposed to the fretboards.
This is the non-radius Pono MGT:
93171

This is the Breedlove prototype with radius fretboard & compensated saddle:
93172

sam13
08-05-2016, 08:50 AM
Eddie you are such a good guy I will donate $1.38 to this worthy cause.

Well done old chap.

I don't think Eddy is an old chap. Quite youthful in fact. Lol

sam13
08-05-2016, 08:52 AM
These discussions about radiused vs. non-radiused pop up regularly and never result in consensus. Some want one, some want the other, some don't care and that's perfectly OK. My base price includes non-radiused and radiused is an upcharge because they require more work, not because they are necessarily better. The issue is on par with fretboard width. Some prefer 1 3/8", some prefer 1 1/2", some prefer something else and some don't care very much. The best strategy is to try instruments with different variables and see what works for you. And do as Dave does: give your sense of humor some exercise now and then. :)

I prefer a radius neck and am glad to see you are offering them. It was the only thing stpo g me from ordering before.

Now I am downsizing. But in the process upgrading so who knows perhaps I will have one yet. Super quality work.

Mivo
08-05-2016, 10:13 AM
I only have one ukulele with a radiused neck, a Pono baritone. With a chunky neck like this one has, the advantages are really obvious to me. Barring is just easier for me. On the other hand, my Barron River has a much thinner neck that also feels more narrow (I should measure this), and here I don't feel a radiused board would make as noticeable, if any, difference to me.