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sampost51
12-12-2016, 10:37 AM
I'm sort of new to the world of ukuleles, I love playing but find my guitar habits kicking in at times. I've been reading about radius fret boards - is there a big difference in playability? Is it easier for a guitarist to adapt? Also, what brands offer that stye of fretboard with out breaking the bank? Thanks -

jollyboy
12-12-2016, 10:56 AM
I believe (but I may be wrong) that the most affordable ukes with a radiused fretboard are the Pono pro-classics.

Dan Gleibitz
12-12-2016, 11:03 AM
My Kaka KUT-MAD has a solid mahogany body, radiused fretboard and sounds like a $600+ ukulele. The 2015 models were on runout discount for $99 on Amazon a few weeks back, and the updated model is under $200 if you can source one. I prefer the feel of a radiused fretboard but find barres a little more difficult.

jjdejd
12-12-2016, 11:49 AM
I have two with a radiused fretboard - LoPrinzi and Collings. I can hear the difference when playing barre chords up the neck. Some folks like them and some don't see the need. For me, it works. Good luck.

Mivo
12-12-2016, 12:47 PM
The opinions range from "it's essential" to "it's gimmicky", depending on who you ask. :)

I'm not sure whether there is more to it than preference, though I could see how it might depend both your fingers/hands and the width of the fretboard. I've had a baritone with a radiused fretboard, and I thought it was nice to have, but I didn't really feel it made a noticeable difference to my playing. Occasionally I found that the outer strings were more prone to sliding off the fretboard when I played poorly, but that is probably just me. I think it might help with barring, though if the action is low, the difference should be marginal.

Personally, I'd not pay extra for it, but I'd also be bothered by it. Not a dealbreaker for me either way.

Choirguy
12-12-2016, 01:14 PM
I think the thing to do is to find a dealer or a player that has a radius fretboard,and try it.

My two "good" ukes are my Pono and my Opio. The Pono was a closeout from Dixie Ukuleles, otherwise I would not have bought it, and the Pono was a deal too good to pass up. I love the incredible sound of my Opio--but miss the fretboard of the Pono when I play it. And as far as I know, there is no Opio with a radius fretboard (perhaps all KoAlohas).

I find some chords, like Dm7, easier to hit on the Pono than the Opio.

But I love both ukuleles. If I had to, I would sell everything but those two ukuleles and my Outdoor Ukulele, which I also wish had a radius fretboard.

Thinking about the Outdoor...why couldn't it have a radius fretboard? :)

Mivo
12-12-2016, 01:36 PM
I think it may also depend on the neck profile. I liked the Pono baritone's neck, it felt good -- but in my case that was because of the chunkiness, not the radiused fretboard. I don't feel strongly about the neck profile either (do like them thin with sopranos, in part because they're easier to hold and play when they're not top heavy), but yes, that Pono baritone had a good-feeling neck. (Occasionally I regret selling it.)

sam13
12-12-2016, 02:00 PM
I think it may also depend on the neck profile. I liked the Pono baritone's neck, it felt good -- but in my case that was because of the chunkiness, not the radiused fretboard. I don't feel strongly about the neck profile either (do like them thin with sopranos, in part because they're easier to hold and play when they're not top heavy), but yes, that Pono baritone had a good-feeling neck. (Occasionally I regret selling it.)

I agree with most comments here regarding Pono Pro Classics and radius fret boards.

I play a lot of jazz progressions and a radius fretboard REALLY helps with barring chords and getting a clean sound.

I have a Pono Baritone Pro Classic and really like the radius on it. It feels more manageable than the Kamaka HF4 Baritone Neck.

Django
12-12-2016, 03:13 PM
A radiused fingerboard helps with barring, but what is at least as important is that as you play up the neck your fingers are not burried as deeply between the string when fingerings the second and third strings. This helps in avoiding any unwanted muting. Classical guitars have a flat fingerboard, but they have lots of space between strings so it is not a problem.

I am a guitar player too, but I have no issues with unintentionally muting a string on a ukulele. Four nylon strings is much easier to bar than six steel strings. My opinion is that the radius is desirable, but not as helpful as it is on a steel string guitar. I have had two Collings with radiused fingerboards, but my tenor Kiwaya seems to be as easy to play. Banjos have a flat fingerboard and only four strings are fretted, so maybe a radiused fingerboard on four strings is more of a luxury than a necessity.

Nickie
12-13-2016, 03:01 PM
It's not a necessity, but mine allows me to play longer before my hand tires. All Cocobolo Ukuleles come standard with radius fretboards.
They're unique, and while not easy to come by (available by lottery) they are worth it.

singsong
12-15-2016, 03:52 PM
The radius we are talking about is NOT a guitar radius, say 9.5 inches. Its a very slight radius, 20 inches. Geo has played them all and his favorites are all flat fret-boards.

bunnyf
12-15-2016, 06:39 PM
I have a Pono PC Bari with raidius fretboard and another Bari that is flat. I find only a very marginal difference but do believe that my barre chords are cleaner with less effort on the Pono. Not enough difference though to make it a deal breaker, if I found a lovely sounding and feeling uke that did not have a radius (not that I am looking).

kornerqueen
12-16-2016, 03:49 AM
I have had two with radius fretboard..The cocobolo radius didn't fit my hand very well. The Pono seems less pronounced, so I prefer it. I sold the cocobolo, for that and other reasons. So I would suggest if you could try
a radius fretboard on the brand you are looking at, it would help you decide. It isn't only the radius, but the combination of that and the shape of the neck, that make a difference, I believe.

sampost51
12-16-2016, 04:31 AM
Thanks for all the feedback - I'm thinking of going with a Pono. Now to decide on what model to buy!

PTOEguy
12-16-2016, 09:05 AM
My personal target to get a radius fretboard is the Godin Multiuke - Don't quite have the money saved, but expect to in a year or so.