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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. LeicaBoss

    LeicaBoss Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 4, 2015
    New Jersey
    Sounds like it's time for some finger workouts.


  2. SachaPlusDeluxe

    SachaPlusDeluxe Strat-Talker

    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

  3. 59jackstrat

    59jackstrat Strat-Talk Member

    May 18, 2013
    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

  4. jayoldschool

    jayoldschool Mod Admin Staff Member

    Sep 13, 2011
    Admin Post
    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

    bloomz, muf magician and Stratoskater like this.

  5. altar

    altar Strat-Talker

    Oct 4, 2016
    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.

  6. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 8, 2011
    Raleigh NC
    Yes! That is the pic I was talking about earlier in this thread. Thanks for posting it!

  7. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 8, 2011
    Raleigh NC
    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.

  8. T Guitar Floyd

    T Guitar Floyd Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 27, 2014
    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!
    Thrup'ny Bit likes this.

  9. qblue

    qblue Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 18, 2009
    Clarks Summit, PA
    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.

  10. carver

    carver The East Coast Strangler Strat-Talk Supporter

    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.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017

  11. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    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.
    T Guitar Floyd likes this.

  12. T Guitar Floyd

    T Guitar Floyd Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 27, 2014
    LOL! You say ordinary. I say extraordinary. ;)
    Thanks for the information, Stratman!

  13. owenmoney

    owenmoney Strat-Talker

    Jun 21, 2013

  14. Black Strat Guy

    Black Strat Guy Strat-Talker

    Mar 27, 2018
    While i can't speak for Hendrix, Clapton or other 7.25" radius players setup or eventual mods, regarding Gilmour, he has always played on vintage/vintage spec'd necks on his strats with vintage frets. All the necks (i believe, even his two Charvel ones) that he had fitted into the black strat over the years, i believe the count is 7 had 7.25" radius. His 80's Fullerton reissues (50's and 60's) have vintage specs too, and it's one of those necks he uses on the Black Strat today, and what Fender copied for the signature CS strat. Never has been re-radiused or re-fretted.

    About the setup he currently has on the Black Strat, officialy, on Phil Taylor's (Gilmour's tech) book (4th Ed) is:

    Set 1.5mm off the body measured at the front of the angled part that holds the intonation screws. This allows for almost a tone pull up on the G string.

    Relief at 9th fret: 0.13mm

    Measured to first fret
    Bass side Low E 0.5mm
    Treble side High E 0.25mm

    Set from 1.8mm on the low E tapering to 1.6mm on the high - with G raised to 1.8mm
    Check to ensure clear string bends -
    One and a half tone bend on top E string... at 12th E to G
    Two tones bends on B & G strings at 12th - B to E flat, G to B "

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018

  15. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 8, 2011
    Raleigh NC
    Zombie threads rise again!
    T Guitar Floyd likes this.

  16. Black Strat Guy

    Black Strat Guy Strat-Talker

    Mar 27, 2018
    LOL, since the last post was Dec 2017, it can't really be considered "zombie"... :p

    Anyway, better to resurrect "zombies" than endlessly creating 50+ threads on the same topic like some folks do sometimes, when all the info could be condensed just in one. ;)
    T Guitar Floyd likes this.

  17. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Senior Stratmaster

    May 26, 2006
    Jacksonville, FL
    I used to be one Picky SOB... I mean every detail had ty be right... when I would make me a guitar the most time consuming part was deciding what parts to get... I could go on and on why my choices were THE choices, and any one else's was .. well just due them being misinformed....

    Well then a funny thing happened... 'round.. 50 years old... I grew up.... I put the OCD in the box of memories with my Blankie and Baa-Baa, My Football Letter jacket, those photos of Becky, Mary Lou, Cindy, Andrea' Rita, Bubbles (never knew Bubbles real name:p, Barbara, Susan ..... , and I threw in any desire to be "picky".... Man, it was like being "reborn" all of a sudden life got so much easier.... AND. . there was ALWAYS a guitar around could play, and any style of music on it... without any unnecessary commentary on what's wrong with it...

    Yep comments like "I'll NEVER invest in a 7.25" kinda remind me, of me... well Never is a long time... but for some of us, it expired a few decades ago... so now were on this side of "never"... and find life so much easier...

    Today, I'm just happy, God left me here one more day to play a guitar, any damn guitar... They are all like women... sure some ya can't wait to get hold of, then they rapidly begin revealing the "things" ya don't really care for, then ya move on to the next... but.. there's always a fond memory or two about that X... kinda miss 'em all..

    Remember, Never comes pretty damn fast, and when it arrives, you;'re usually pretty damn old... I know, 'cause I sure got old a lot faster than I was thinking... :D

  18. gofmusic

    gofmusic Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 24, 2013
    I think you learn to like each guitar for the good things it has. So you old strat doesnt let you bend as easily as the sonic blue? I say accept it that way, it sure has things it does better than the blue one. More twang? More bite? Fatter sounding if you raise the action?

    I too have guitars where certain things are easier than others... I just use the correct guitar for each application and grab the all round most versatile if I get to use just one (lets say for going to a rehearsal).

    If all of them where the same, there would be no point in having many :) and we all want many guitars LOL
    perttime and T Guitar Floyd like this.

  19. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Senior Stratmaster

    May 26, 2006
    Jacksonville, FL
    Yeah, once I had a Strat... a real one, a '54 or '56 I forget.... had a maple fingerboard.. I never really liked maple fingerboards... it was a Tobacco burst... I hated Tobacco 'bursts... it was a Hard Tail.. ya know how badly I wanted one with a Tremolo... had a "spaghetti logo.. I wanted the Nice NEW one Fender had gone to in the mid 60's... and a long list of other "issues" I used to lobby my parents into letting me trade that in and get a CAR Jaguar....

    Know what.. I wouldn't give ya the the of day for the Jaguar if I could find it, but.... that's not exactly so for the Strat..... I'm not quite so picky now... I'd pay a small fortune for that one. My first Fender... Jeez... and I traded it in on a Jag..... talk about brain dead.....:confused:


  20. bassetman

    bassetman Strat-O-Master Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 14, 2018
    Pomeroy, WA
    Im a week or so into having my first 7.25 board, and I can’t put it down. I spent a good amount of time setting the bridge up to match the radius but this thing plays great. I have not noticed any issues at all. It very twangy / bluesy and I love it.