PDA

View Full Version : Ukes with Radius Fret Boards?



Uke Don
12-08-2017, 05:59 AM
Other than Pono and custom, who makes ukes with a radius fret board? I find a huge difference in playability with my Pono compared to others with flat fret boards.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
12-08-2017, 06:38 AM
Cocobolo Ukuleles makes all of their ukes with radiused fretboards.

keep uke'in',

PS Free Holiday Songbook at ukulelebootcamp.weebly.com :)

DownUpDave
12-08-2017, 12:36 PM
Other than Pono and custom, who makes ukes with a radius fret board? I find a huge difference in playability with my Pono compared to others with flat fret boards.

Huge radius fan here. As far as readily available factory made ukes with a radius Pono is it. Cocobolo is a small scalembuilder that does a lottery system for purchases so you just can't buy one.

As you pointed out there are many custom builders that offer a radius. Their prices are higher of course but that is the route I have taken.

Choirguy
12-08-2017, 01:59 PM
I believe the Enya X1 HPL models also have a radius fretboard. Probably the cheapest entry point.

Rakelele
12-08-2017, 08:30 PM
In addition to the brands already mentioned, Blackbird makes some of their ukes with a radius fretboard, but maybe those have to be considered semi-custom orders.

One thing I discovered lately is that a tighter radius makes it even more comfortable for me to play. As far as I know, most makers use a radius of 12" or 16". Jay Lichty offers a radius of 9" and that makes a huge difference to me.

DownUpDave
12-09-2017, 12:50 AM
Choirguy is correct about the Enya X1 series having a radius. They are all laminate, as in formica, come in soprano, concert, tenor, baritone and even a six string acoustic guitar. They are actually a very very good instrument for the money. If you are into the electric plug in scene Godin Multiuke has a radius and they are excellent. I own one and am very impressed.

Collings makes all their ukes with a radius but they are no longer in production and they cost near as much as a custom. Pono makes so many different wood combos ie spruce or cedar with mahogany, ebony or acacia and all mango or all mahogany you could have two or three with different tones.

photoshooter
12-09-2017, 06:03 AM
Kind of a specialty item but Godin Multiuke has a radius fretboard.

Edited to add:
Whoops I see that DownUpDave had already mentioned Godin. Count me as another very happy owner.

SailingUke
12-09-2017, 06:31 AM
Mya-Moe and Mike Pereira as well.

DownUpDave
12-09-2017, 06:52 AM
Mya-Moe and Mike Pereira as well.

Yes there are many custom builders that offer radius.

Uke Don
12-09-2017, 11:21 AM
Thanks everyone. I ordered an Enya HPL just for fun.

DownUpDave
12-09-2017, 12:28 PM
Thanks everyone. I ordered an Enya HPL just for fun.

Very cool, did you order a tenor. I have a round (camp sytle) soprano and a pineapple soprano. What is great is you can't find sopranos with a radius but Enya X1 has it.

I know a member here that has a baritone and she loves it. She has other expensive baritones so that is a good endorsement. Please give us a review when you get your Enya, I enjoy mine.

Ukulele Eddie
12-09-2017, 02:35 PM
Most custom luthiers offer a radius. As to production lines, Collings ukes also have a radius.

I can't tell from your original message if you've played other radius ukes besides Pono. If not, I'd encourage you to try others to really see if a radius makes a big difference on other ukes. It may very well. But for me, neck shape is actually more important than radius or not. I like a radius when it's available but have plenty of ukes without radius and don't really notice a difference.

Uke Don
12-09-2017, 07:50 PM
Radius is actually a really big deal for me, more so than neck profile. I've tried playing on a flat finger board, but ended up returning a couple of ukes because I just couldn't get used to it. My guitars and mandolin all have a radius board. It's interesting that more ukes don't have them. Radius vs. flat is a big item of debate in the mandolin world, kind of like strings for ukes :).

I'll let you all know how the Enya turns out. It will be the least expensive stringed instrument I've ever owned, that's for sure.

WCBarnes
12-11-2017, 11:33 AM
But for me, neck shape is actually more important than radius or not. I like a radius when it's available but have plenty of ukes without radius and don't really notice a difference.


I totally agree Eddie, the neck profile makes a huge difference, for me a radius is nice, but not a game changer :D


One thing I discovered lately is that a tighter radius makes it even more comfortable for me to play. As far as I know, most makers use a radius of 12" or 16". Jay Lichty offers a radius of 9" and that makes a huge difference to me.

I'm with Eddie and Campbell regarding the neck. A comfortable neck is much more important. But like Rakelele mentioned, different builders use a different radius. But even if the radius is the same doesn't mean playability will be. I had 2 cocobolo ukes that had a 12" radius. I sold them rather quickly because my fingers kept sliding off the edges on the A & G strings. It just wasn't comfortable to play. I attributed it to the radius. The I got my hands on a Collings, also with a 12" radius, and it was a completely different experience. I think it goes to Collings having some of the best shaped necks in the business.

Lillymo
03-16-2018, 05:18 AM
I'll let you all know how the Enya turns out.

Thanks for starting this thread, I was going to post the same question. So what's the verdict on the Enya, Don?

rob g.
03-16-2018, 06:23 AM
I'll second Lillymo's request for your opinion. I bought a nice Pono, and suddenly I could make barre chords that almost sounded good! I've never been able to get them to play on my other instruments, only now using the radius fret board. I'd like to get another, less expensive radius uke to take places.

Boomershakalaka
03-16-2018, 06:59 AM
The Ibanez UEWT5 has a radius fret board. Just got one from Amazon last week. Nice uke. Would LOVE to get a Cocobolo but I'm allergic to Facesuck and that's how they do the lottery. SUCKS.

Django
03-16-2018, 07:54 AM
I appreciate a radiused fingerboard on a steel string guitar, but on a ukulele, I don't find that I notice it. My Pono tenor has a radius, but my Kiwaya and Romero tenors do not and I do not really notice a difference in my ability to bar.

DownUpDave
03-16-2018, 09:46 AM
I'll second Lillymo's request for your opinion. I bought a nice Pono, and suddenly I could make barre chords that almost sounded good! I've never been able to get them to play before using the radius fret board. I'd like to get another, less expensive radius uke to take places.

I will answer your questions about the Enyas, I also have owned Ponos. I went to a radius because barre chords were so much easy with it for me as well. I own 6 tenors and 2 baritones with radius then there are the Enya X1 round soprano, pineapple soprano and concert. The Enyas for the most part are well made but on the quiet side. The radius is either shallow or the fretwires small but I don't find the radius as helpful as some others. It might just be the shorter scale length with less space between fret wires because all my other ukes are larger sized.

Uke Don
03-16-2018, 10:44 AM
Thanks for starting this thread, I was going to post the same question. So what's the verdict on the Enya, Don?

Regarding the Enya, it's well made, the neck is comfortable, but the radius is too small to matter much. I haven't measured it but it's not the 12" radius on a Pono (which is the same radius that Fender uses on it's electric guitars). It's better than no radius though.

But the Enya is very quiet. It seems that the laminate really absorbs the high frequencies. When I measured the sound levels the A string was around 10 db quieter than the C string. That is a lot.

slackkey007
03-16-2018, 11:05 AM
Breedlove ukes have radiused fretboards ... but, just like Collings, aren't made anymore.

besley
03-16-2018, 12:33 PM
I will answer your questions about the Enyas, I also have owned Ponos. I went to a radius because barre chords were so much easy with it for me as well. I own 6 tenors and 2 baritones with radius then there are the Enya X1 round soprano, pineapple soprano and concert. The Enyas for the most part are well made but on the quiet side. The radius is either shallow or the fretwires small but I don't find the radius as helpful as some others. It might just be the shorter scale length with less space between fret wires because all my other ukes are larger sized.

I never got around to measuring the radius of the Enya I used to have, but it sure didn't feel like the 12" I'm used to on my Gibsons. Whatever it was, it wasn't noticeable when doing barre chords, and I didn't find it any easier than my other ukes with flat necks.

Lillymo
03-16-2018, 05:19 PM
Regarding the Enya, it's well made, the neck is comfortable, but the radius is too small to matter much.

Thanks Don and everybody else who weighed in on Enya... sounds like the dream of a radiused fingerboard on an inexpensive ukulele is too good to be true.

A note on Pono: Only a handful have radiused fingerboards. Looky here and scroll down to the list of models:

http://koolauukulele.com/pono-f-a-q/

Choirguy
03-16-2018, 05:52 PM
Thanks Don and everybody else who weighed in on Enya... sounds like the dream of a radiused fingerboard on an inexpensive ukulele is too good to be true.

I think this is the wrong conclusion...it IS true. The X1 series has a radius fretboard. What may not be “true” is that you will prefer a bowed neck.

I owned a very nice Cedar Pono for about a year, which I bought and sold here on UU. It was (and still is) a gorgeous instrument...but I never really connected with it and while that model had the radius fretboard, I preferred the KoAloha sound of my Opio Tenor and KoAloha’s straight fretboard doesn’t bother me at all.

Besley was kind enough to donate his Enya to our school, and that instrument suffers from a slightly bowed neck. Without kicking up a hornet’s nest, we have NOT seen any other issues with Enya necks on these forums or the others I follow. But I can attest that the thing is bowed. It is playable, but the bow likely decreases any benefit of the radius.

I also have one of the Enya X-1camp ukuleles that were $29 last summer (in addition to the 13 I bought for my school), and the neck is wonderful to hold on that instrument, and the fretboard has a radius, but I woudn’t say I prefer it over my Martin S1 which does not have a radius fretboard.

But I am 100% certain that there are players who find a radius fretboard more comfortable to play, and I wouldn’t buy or not buy a ukulele because if its radius fretboard. I’m more likely to pass on a ukulele because of how the fretboard is decorated (e.g. some of Bruce Wei’s inlays are too much for my tastes).

kissing
03-17-2018, 07:25 AM
Depends. Do you want your uke to feel more like a classical guitar (flat) or an acoustic (radius)?

jimt123
03-17-2018, 10:46 AM
Is it all Pono models or only the pro classic models that have the radius fretboard?

Rakelele
03-17-2018, 10:54 AM
Is it all Pono models or only the pro classic models that have the radius fretboard?

All of the Pro Classic and Master Series, all of the Electric Solidbody models, and then some "upgraded" base models like the AT-CR, ATD-CR, and MTD-SP.

peanuts56
03-17-2018, 11:53 AM
I have a Kanilea Tenor with a radius fret board and a Kamaka Tenor with a standard fret board. I don't notice too much difference. I recently tuned the Kanilea down a whole step and it's a tiny bit easier. I found that the Kanilea has a nicer ring to it with the lower tuning.