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Thread: Sell me the idea of a radiused fingerboard

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bend, OR
    Posts
    114

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    Of my 4 ukes only one has a radius. It is very slight. I honestly cannot tell the difference-unlike on a guitar with a 1.75" nut or something. String tension on an ukulele is nothing. What ever. Some will say it makes a huge difference. Sorry - not me.
    Thanks

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Posts
    437

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    Buy the Romero. You will like it. I just got a Romero Creations S-K (the oversized soprano in koa) and a mango Tiny Tenor. Very nice instruments, both of them.
    "So many ukes, so little money..."

    Kanile'a KSR-T premium koa tenor
    KoAloha KTM-00 tenor
    Rebel Double Cheese spruce/mahogany tenor, my BFF.
    Pono ATC-PC acacia cutaway tenor
    Kala KA-ASFM-T-C flame maple tenor
    Pono MT-SP tenor
    Cocobolo concert #467
    Pono ASD acacia soprano deluxe
    Pono MGS mango soprano

  3. #13
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Confluence of the Mississippi and Rum Rivers
    Posts
    481

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    I wouldn't let a non radius fretboard keep me from buying an ukulele I really liked in all other aspects. If I was ordering a custom ukulele to be built I would have it made with a radius fretboard. Just one of my 4 ukes has a radius fretboard. I like it. I've played a few other with radius fretboard and I liked them as well. I don't think the other 3 ukes I have are anything less because they lack a radius fretboard. They are all different and I like them all pretty well. The feature can be a plus but it's not a necessity.

  4. #14

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    On nylon stringed instruments like Ukulele I do NOT like having a radius fretboard.

    I think of ukulele to be "like a classical guitar" in the sense that they both use the same kind of strings and the same kind of technique.

    Radius fretboards are a thing of steel string guitars, specifically to assist with certain chords due to the increased tension of steel.

    On a nylon string instrument like Ukulele, not only do I find it unhelpful for any purpose but it's actually a detriment to my preferred setup and play style.
    I like my Ukulele saddle to be like a classical guitar saddle - nearly straight, slightly higher at the 4th (G) side.

    Radius fretboards mess with your action since the slope causes the 4th and 1st to be unnaturally higher than the middle strings. Also, they come with radiused saddles which go against the setup I mentioned in the last paragraph.

    When I end up with an ukulele with a radius fretboard, I replace the saddle with a straighter one. It's not an ideal match to the radiused fretboard, but it allows me to actually play it.

  5. #15

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    I did some research on radius fingerboard and asked the similar question some else where.

    The others opinions I learned:
    The difference between radius and flat fingerboard is small. You won't notice the radius unless you know it has it.
    When you switch between radius and flat fingerboard, you won't feel uncomfortable.
    Radius fingerboard makes barring a little easier, just a little.

    My opinion:
    I won't buy radius fingerboard unless I have to. Seems most Ukuleles don't have radius fingerboard, it's safer to stay in the major crowd.
    Barring is not that difficult on flat fingerboard, if it is, just practice more.
    I read a very good argument somewhere (most likely on this forum), if the radius fingerboard is that useful, Classical Guitar should have already adopted it because it needs it more.
    But if you get radius fingerboard, it's not bad too.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    McDonough, GA
    Posts
    4,641

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    Be aware that a radius on the fretboard can possibly throw off your playing technique. I understand that James Hill requires a flat fretboard on his custom ukes. I have both types of fretboards. And honestly I dont consciously notice a difference when I play. I have been told by a well respected and knowledgeable luthier that there are good sonic reasons for a uke to have a flat fretboard rather than a radiused one.
    -Hodge
    Humble strummer of fine ukes.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    La Grande-Bretagne
    Posts
    193

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    Once again, thanks to all.

    I'm waiting for the Romero GTs to come back into stock likely May/June and we're off!

    Ben

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    458

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    One of my 3 tenors has a radius fret board. I don't have large hands and thought it would make barring easier. I've found that I have an easier time barring on my other tenors. I tend to roll my barring finger a bit toward the body of the uke. That doesn't work as well on the radius. I have to consciously tell myself to not roll on the radius fretboard. I tend to use my middle finger to bar 7th chords and use the index for major 7th chords.

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