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I will NEVER invest in a 7.25 fretboard again

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Mr Peabody, Nov 23, 2017.

  1. echoes71

    echoes71 Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 15, 2013
    USA
    Ive said it before and Ill say it again, if Hendrix and Gilmour could bend and do what they do with "vintage" frets and a 7.25 board, then it's the player, not the radius.
     

  2. scottf

    scottf Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    62
    54
    Nov 13, 2017
    West Virginia
    My thoughts exactly!!
     

  3. scottf

    scottf Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    62
    54
    Nov 13, 2017
    West Virginia
    Truth be told, I had 2 57 RIs and loved them both.
     

  4. Mr C

    Mr C Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

    Age:
    44
    Feb 17, 2016
    New Zealand
    both my current strats have the old 7.25 radius. (an older av62 and a Custom shop '66). I never have any issues with it. I've always preferred fenders with the 7.25 board, I really didn't like the Eric Johnson strat with the 12 inch radius, which is weird as I don't even notice it on my Gibson's. I don't really notice moving back and forth between them, I guess its just what you get used to...
     

  5. scottf

    scottf Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    62
    54
    Nov 13, 2017
    West Virginia
    I play an Eric Johnson now but I'm a rhythm player. The thing I love about the EJ is the pickups, the special wiring and how responsive it is. I play very little lead anymore, So neck radius is really not a concern for me.
     

  6. PCollen

    PCollen Strat-O-Master

    817
    Feb 13, 2014
    Florida
    Replace the neck. There are many options to choose from and easy to come by. But put the original one away for posterity. You WILL want it again someday if you ever do decide to sell the guitar.
     
    Mr Peabody likes this.

  7. Lone Woof

    Lone Woof Strat-O-Master

    955
    Nov 30, 2014
    WI
    I naively went along with the 9.5" groupthink for years. Then I got a guitar with a 7.25" radius and have found I like it far better than the 9.5" radius.

    I'm with those who like a guitar that doesn't make it easy. If it "plays like buttah" I'm not interested. That usually requires a much lighter touch than I have.
     

  8. T Guitar Floyd

    T Guitar Floyd Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 27, 2014
    Arizona
    This ^ ^ ^ is my answer as well! I love a 7.25 radius and vintage frets on a maple neck. My problem was the thick lacquer on my '94 '54 RI. I sanded the lacquer between the frets w/400 to 600 grit wet-dry sandpaper and buffed it smooth. Now the frets feel higher and the neck doesn't drag my fingers when I bend a note! :)

    I also have a CV 50s with a 9.5 and medium frets which is ok, except for the narrow string spacing . . . don't like that much.
     
    bloomz likes this.

  9. Dick Blackmore

    Dick Blackmore Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    48
    541
    Jan 10, 2017
    San Diego
    7.25"?!?!? Sheeooot!!! That there is for city folks and namby pamby boys. I use 1.315" radius made of solid oak. That's MAN RADIUS there boyz, Major League radius! NOw Ill admit I have pretty low action on that handle, something like 14 mm, but it plays like a dream. I have .18's on there ALL WOUND FOR TONEZ tuned to DADGAD but I don't play slide I bend those suckers with my pinky, by its ownself. If you take the strings off it will bend all the way back and touch itself! That's man action right there.
     

  10. MrCairo

    MrCairo Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    33
    28
    Oct 15, 2017
    NL
    I've read this thread with interest. The OP, as well as various replies, just go to show how one individual's experience with a certain set of parameters can vary so much from another's. Personal preference and experience seem to play a starring role.

    To illustrate the point, I'll share my own experience.

    Having always played 9.5" radius necks (with fret sizes varying from vintage to medium jumbo), that's all I ever "knew".

    Quite recently I acquired a 2016 Classic Series 50s Strat in Fiesta Red with a soft V neck, vintage frets and 7.25" radius. It was like an awakening. Most comfortable neck I've ever played. My playing is mostly rooted in (jazz) chords, arpeggios, and lead lines that are based around or start from chords. I almost exclusively fingerpick, I rarely play bar chords, only moderate bends, many slides and no shredding whatsoever.

    For my style of playing, the 50s neck is a gift from heaven. But I can definitely understand how it wouldn't suit all styles or all personalities. I probably wouldn't recommend it for Yngwie style playing, but perhaps that's not impossible too if you're Yngwie.



    Having said all that: going from a 9.5" with MJ frets to a 7.25"with vintage frets, the most notable difference is the fret size, not so much the radius (as has been mentioned before). Both necks are soft V, so shape can be ignored in this equation.

    So, perhaps my conclusion is that I really like soft V necks with vintage frets, with radius being a secondary concern (but certainly not too flat).

    But as they say, YMMV :thumb:
     

  11. RaySachs

    RaySachs Strat-Talker

    Age:
    58
    266
    Jun 25, 2017
    Philly area
    Yeah, it’s all personal preference and it doesn’t have to be logical. I, like the greats (well, very much UNlike the greats, but same idea) played for decades on 7.25 with vintage frets and liked it just fine. And in the modern era, I too prefer 9.5. I’m happy playing either but happier on a 9.5. I kind of like the feel of 7.25 and if I just played chords all the time, I’d definitely go with a rounder neck, but for playing leads, 9.5 just plays better to me (and it’s not like chords or rhythm playing is any tougher in a 9.5).

    And just to demonstrate that there’s no logic involved here, I can’t stand 12” on a maple necked Fender having played a few. And yet I’m in heaven playing a 12” ebony fingerboard on my Ibanez semi-hollow body. So you play em and some of them insist they’re your guitar and some don’t and you’d best listen because they tend to be smarter than we are...
     
    Mr Peabody likes this.

  12. Vjerilood

    Vjerilood Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    52
    680
    Jul 30, 2017
    USA
    The size of the frets doesn’t affect my ability to bend strings. I’m fine bending with jumbo or skinny. What trips me up is that they’re too close together. I always feel like I have to jam my fingers into a tiny little slot to pull off a bendy blues lick. That thing where you bend the second string and grab the first string right underneath, that’s like sardines. Naive question, but I have very little saddle time on anything but Teles and Squier Strats, but does the distance between frets vary according to scale length?
     

  13. Mr Peabody

    Mr Peabody Strat-Talker

    224
    Oct 11, 2016
    The Deep South
    I have given this some consideration (and yes, were I to go down this path, I would certainly keep the original neck).

    Funny as it may sound, the likely reason for not replacing it would be that I'm bloody determined to remain proficient with this thing at all times, without the occasional hang up/meltdown, such as the one that prompted me to proffer that rather 'angry sounding' post :)

    But hey, thanks for the comment and the positive advice;

    Cheers Man
     

  14. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985 Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    51
    Nov 14, 2013
    Alabama
    This is all well and good, but some of us (most of us in fact) are not Hendrix, or Gilmour.

    Can I play a 7.25 with small frets? Sure I can, and I have owned a few, but it is not what I prefer. I like the feel of a flatter radius and larger frets. My number one is a 9.5 with jumbo frets. I love it.

    It is all a matter of personal preference, and the argument that "it was good enough for Joe Rockstar so it's good enough for everyone" does not hold water, because I ain't him, and I like what I like. I think it's good that we have choices.
     

  15. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member

    Dec 4, 2013
    largo,fl
    Yes to the scale length question.

    The larger the scale the farther they are apart from each other. The Fender 25.5" scale has more space between any 2 neighboring frets than the Gibson 24 3/4" scale. The scale length is approximately from the length of the string from the nut down to the saddle.

    They make different nut widths for necks also, the standard Fender width is only 1 5/8 an inch. A neck with a wider string nut may be more comfortable for you to play and eliminate the jam your fingers into the small space problem.
     
    bloomz and Vjerilood like this.

  16. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    A nice polish on the frets and you can bend like crazy regardless of fret size and/or board radius.
     
    henderman likes this.

  17. Mr Peabody

    Mr Peabody Strat-Talker

    224
    Oct 11, 2016
    The Deep South
    And I've said it before: Hendrix and Gilmour were/are exceptionally gifted players... Yes, your argument stands, however, given the gulf that exists between these people and the rest of us, it hardly takes the brains of an Archbishop to realise that your point is somewhat moot...
     
    bloomz and davidwhitson like this.

  18. Neil.C

    Neil.C Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 3, 2012
    Surrey, England
    Also, don't forget all Fenders were 7.25" until the 1980's so there was no other choice.

    To me the original radius is part of the Fender charm. Once you go to flatter boards they start to feel like everything else.
     

  19. Mr Peabody

    Mr Peabody Strat-Talker

    224
    Oct 11, 2016
    The Deep South
    I agree - the 7.25" radius is certainly part of the Fender charm... But playing on a 9.5 radius Strat with a set of Fat 50s or Vintage 57/62 pickups is only like playing on 9.5 radius Strat with a set of Fat 50s or Vintage 57/62 pickups... :)
     

  20. ChatNoir

    ChatNoir Strat-Talker

    279
    Dec 11, 2010
    Peabody, MA
    I have a 9.5 on my Fenders...12 is good too and I have no problem with either but I kept my necks at 9.5 (including the Jazzmaster build) which I find comfortable enough to play. Can't handle the vintage radius....