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Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Mr Peabody, Nov 23, 2017.
Sounds like it's time for some finger workouts.
Great thread this. But a lot of misinformation on the way a string bends depending on the Radius of the board.
Couple of points to note which I’ve encountered having set up a lot of guitars for customers:
1. Bending strings above the 12th fret to a whole step with a very low action (read half of fender standard spec) on a 7.25" board will almost always result in a choke out and I wouldn’t guarantee that it can be resolved
2. Bending strings above the 12th fret to a whole step with a standard action (in line with Fender specs) on a 7.25" board shouldn’t result in a choke out but can if you need fret work, again I wouldn’t guarantee that it can be resolved with just a fret level
3. Bending strings above the 12th fret to a whole step with a very low action (read half of fender standard spec) on a 9.5" board can result in a choke out and might be able to be resolved by a fret level but again I wouldn’t make a guarantee
4. Bending strings above the 12th fret to a whole step with a very low action (read half of fender standard spec) on a 12"+ board shouldn’t result in a choke out and if it does can almost always be resolved by a fret level
MOST IMPORTANTLY it always depends on the wood in the neck as to whether you can resolve bending issues. If you have an unstable piece of would you’ll need a higher action to resolve buzzing/choking out issues. Better yet, removing the frets, plaining the board and re-fretting BUT if it’s an unstable piece of wood you might end up in the same position. Ski ramp issues can also cause problems.
Using a neck jig is the best way of combatting setup issues but even then the wood will do what it wants to, it’s organic.
The biggest thing that a lot of people don’t understand is that, a high action for one person might be a low action for another, does anyone know how high the action Hendrix/Gilmore used (measured) specifically on the Strats with 7.25” radius? Do you know if the guitar in question had been re-radiused and re-fretted?
So many things which aren’t know and can lead to confusion.
I’ll say this though, it’s easier (read a lot less time and hassle) to get a guitar to have a very low, buzz free and choke free action if it has a 9.5” radius or above. I can’t see any other tech disagreeing with that J
Well I must admit, that My 12" radius on my EJ seems stiffer to bend than my 9.5" Jimi. Both sport D' Addario 10's
Not much difference. I play both without issues. I suspect that people having issues might be having different action heights...
Credit to RK for the pics
9.5 vs 7.25
9.5 vs 12
I read somewhere that his '57 has a subtle 7 1/4" to 12" compound that wasn't done on purpose but as a result of being refretted so many times. Same thing with SRV's Number One.
Yes! That is the pic I was talking about earlier in this thread. Thanks for posting it!
Mine did too until I took out two of the 5 springs the EJ came with. Floated the bridge a bit like a normal Start and boom it's no where near as stiff. The EJ is very stiff with 5 springs and a quarter sawn neck.
Sounds like you may be talking about the distance between the strings. The distance between frets is larger on Fenders compared to Gibsons, PRSs, etc.
On Fenders, however, the flatter 9.5" radius often comes with the narrower string spacing than on the 7.25" radius. The latter usually have wider vintage spacing, which I find more comfortable to finger and, when playing solos, I don't over reach for notes. My Squire CV 50s Strat has a 9.5" radius and narrow spacing, as do some of the more modern MIM and US Strats (with 22 frets and 2-post bridges, few of those have dual radius boards). I can hang with the radius on the CV, but when I'm soloing with the band, I prefer the vintage spacing on my US '54 RI or my MIM Classic 50s (both with 7.25" radii). I bend notes with abandon! Very low action, straight neck and no fretting out.
Just saw David Gilmour's Pompeii concert on PBS and the close-ups of his fingerboard. It look very curvy.
Just like a vintage style fingerboard should look!
I have a 1970 Stratocaster that I had a refret to medium jumbo frets in 2010. The headstock is in my avatar. It's actually a 1968 neck, but the previous owner added an extra butterfly retractor, like a 1970 neck had. I don't use it. The vintage frets were hard to deal with, especially towards the end of their lifespan. I never had problems with bends on this instrument. In fact I can bend up to a whole step routinely. But I think the comfort of that '60's vintage C neck with more prominent shoulders is what makes it more comfortable for me. So I'm more willing to make a bend with it.
Maybe if other pro players had a problem with this radius, I would believe it is a big deal. Jimmie Vaughn still uses one with this radius, and he's used it for like his entire career. As did Hendrix, Stevie Ray, M. Knopfler, and countless others.
I have another Strat Ultra and I think is harder to play, because of the jumbo frets it has, installed by the factory. It took years to wear them down so I could be more comfortable. I think Jumbo frets feel like buckteeth, and used to hurt my fingers due to my death grip. I worked on reducing grip pressure, and that helped. Now I recently (2016) had a level & crown and it has improved a lot. The modern C neck feels like a pencil in comparison to the 60's vintage C neck. If I'm having symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, I just can't play it as the mod C neck feels even smaller.
that a shame. I just checked out the world stock exchange and the 7.25 inch radius fret board stock seems to be at an all time high.
As far as I know, when he dug the black Strat up again (got it back from it's long holiday in a Hard Rock Cafe), he fitted it with the neck from one of his 1983 57RIs. And when the Custom Shop copied it, that's what they copied. So yes it's an ordinary 7.25" radius.
LOL! You say ordinary. I say extraordinary.
Thanks for the information, Stratman!