Blackbird Clara: flat or radius?

Cluze

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Blackbird Clara owners! Do any of you have experience with the radius vs flat fret boards?

I have a Clara with the flat fret board and while I love it, I am thinking of replacing it with a radiused one at some point, for comfort. Does it make that much of a difference?

I have several radiused ukes, and I do find them a bit more comfortable, but I wouldn't say I am a fanatic about it.

Can anyone speak to a direct comparison on the Clara?
 
I have a radiused Clara. Before I decided, I actually went to the Blackbird shop in San Francisco and was able to do a direct comparison. I chose the radiused option as it made a difference in ease of barring chords,
 
I'm a Clara owner with a radial fret board. It makes a big difference to me when I'm working on a song with lots of bar chords. When I use the Clara, I am able to play longer with notes and chords that ring true throughout my play even if it's a long session.

Shortly after I purchased the Clara, I was in a uke store and tried a Clara with a regular fret board. Sure I was able to form the same chords, but I wasn't playing it for a long period of time and my hands were "fresh". Nevertheless, it wasn't quite as comfortable.

My other uke has a regular board. All I can say is that no matter the uke brand or the string brand, my hands really appreciate the difference.

Life's short, so make the switch and I don't think you'll regret it.

Bluesy.
 
No experience with a Clara, but I'll point out that I don't know of a single pro player using a fretboard radius. Seems like you'd at least see a couple here and there if it was that super. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

It was an option when I ordered my BB Farallon. I passed and went with the flat board. It's the easiest uke to play I've ever laid my hands on. If you need a radius to make a Blackbird easier to play, I dunno......

Just my $.02.
 
I’ve owned both. I found for me there was not a big difference. If anything, I found when I would strum with the radiused fretboard I would miss strumming the g and c strings
 
I totally get where you're coming from, Brad. I'm sure you're right about professionals. It certainly seems to be the case from the videos I've watched.

My post should have included the critical factors that have made my hands more comfortable with a radial fret board: I'm over 70 years old, I came to the uke late in life, and my hands don't always perform as they should.

My other hobbies also involve repetitive fine motor skills that push my hands to the limit. I've too often gone beyond what my hands can take, have learned much from PT, and as a result I do whatever keeps me going comfortably.

So point well taken and it may be that the OP should take my view with a grain of salt because in the end, it is personal to me.

Bluesy.
 
No experience with a Clara, but I'll point out that I don't know of a single pro player using a fretboard radius. Seems like you'd at least see a couple here and there if it was that super. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

Just my $.02.

I suspect there are pro players using them. Kinnard ukuleles, Petros ukes, Barron River ukes all come standard with radiused. So do aNueNue ukes (Elof Tobias, Grace Terzian). I believe radiused fretboards are much more common on guitars.

Either way, I am a fan of radiused fretboards because my hands are slowly getting more arthritic and I am increasingly learning and using barre chords. So many pros might also play tenors but that does not matter to me as it requires too much pressure and spacing for me to enjoy playing it. Radiused has its place and some distinctly benefit from it and prefer it.
 
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I thought I read somewhere that radiused fretboards make it a little more difficult to finger pick. So if you're doing a lot of finger picking and maybe trying to get some harmonics, etc. maybe that's why they prefer flat? I had one uke a while ago with a radiused fingerboard and I didn't notice a huge difference, but I make more barre chord shapes now when I fingerpick, so who knows, maybe I would notice a difference.

Also, things that were important to me before are less so, now. Super duper low action was something I chased, but I do notice a decrease in volume and it is harder to pick harmonic notes, say if you're making a G chord shape and playing harmonics on the 14th fret on the C or A string and the 15th fret on the E string (or it could just be more lack of experience - probably)

thoughts?
 
No experience with a Clara, but I'll point out that I don't know of a single pro player using a fretboard radius. Seems like you'd at least see a couple here and there if it was that super. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

It was an option when I ordered my BB Farallon. I passed and went with the flat board. It's the easiest uke to play I've ever laid my hands on. If you need a radius to make a Blackbird easier to play, I dunno......

Just my $.02.

With all due respect Brad most players on this site are not Professionals. We are a bunch of amateurs trying to make music the best we can. If using a radiused fretboard helps us do that then so be it. We shouldn’t be put down because we “need a radius to make a Blackbird play easier”. When I bought my Farallon I ordered it with a radius and glad I did.
 
I have a radiused Clara. Before I decided, I actually went to the Blackbird shop in San Francisco and was able to do a direct comparison. I chose the radiused option as it made a difference in ease of barring chords,

Thanks for the feedback! Direct comparisons like this are what I am looking for!
 
I'm a Clara owner with a radial fret board. It makes a big difference to me when I'm working on a song with lots of bar chords. When I use the Clara, I am able to play longer with notes and chords that ring true throughout my play even if it's a long session.

Shortly after I purchased the Clara, I was in a uke store and tried a Clara with a regular fret board. Sure I was able to form the same chords, but I wasn't playing it for a long period of time and my hands were "fresh". Nevertheless, it wasn't quite as comfortable.

My other uke has a regular board. All I can say is that no matter the uke brand or the string brand, my hands really appreciate the difference.

Life's short, so make the switch and I don't think you'll regret it.

Bluesy.

Yeah, this is really what I am trying to figure out. It isn't that I can't play what I want on my flat Clara, it's that I play her a lot (particularly in the winter or when traveling, since she doesn't really care about humidity like my solid instruments) and I find my hands getting a bit fatigued.
 
No experience with a Clara, but I'll point out that I don't know of a single pro player using a fretboard radius. Seems like you'd at least see a couple here and there if it was that super. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

It was an option when I ordered my BB Farallon. I passed and went with the flat board. It's the easiest uke to play I've ever laid my hands on. If you need a radius to make a Blackbird easier to play, I dunno......

Just my $.02.

While I appreciate the input, I'm certainly not a professional.

I own both flat and radiused instruments, and I play both, but I don't have any experience with the Blackbird radius. What I am looking for here is direct comparisons of the flat vs. the radius that Blackbird uses, not a general flat vs. radius debate.

Your comments about your flat Farallon do raise a very important point; setup may be more important than the radius. I should double check the action on my Clara before I do anything drastic.
 
I’ve owned both. I found for me there was not a big difference. If anything, I found when I would strum with the radiused fretboard I would miss strumming the g and c strings

Very interesting. Are you speaking in general, or about the Blackbird radius specifically? Would you say that the radius they use is fairly pronounced?
 
With all due respect Brad most players on this site are not Professionals. We are a bunch of amateurs trying to make music the best we can. If using a radiused fretboard helps us do that then so be it. We shouldn’t be put down because we “need a radius to make a Blackbird play easier”. When I bought my Farallon I ordered it with a radius and glad I did.

I'm sorry, everybody, if my post came off snotty. Not my intention at all. I realize that most folks here are just in it for enjoyment.

My concern - and reason for posting - is that, given the amount of uke options available these days, a player - pro or amateur - will spend their lives with "paralysis by analysis." Instead of making music, folks spend excessive time wondering if this, that, or the other thing will make them ___% better. Which is fine if that brings you joy, but these same people are often frustrated when it takes a long time to learn to play something.

I see it a whole lot and it's frustrating/sad. So I try and keep it real and encourage people to stay focused on the music. But that's no excuse if my comments were seen as putting anyone down.

EDIT: I'm super unqualified to speak to arthritis so, not knowing a player's background, my comments come from a place where I just assume this isn't a factor. Since it is, I see now how a radius could be very beneficial.
 
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Nope, it's really subtle. It has no impact on my picking, strumming or my experiments with harmonics.

Bluesy.
 
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