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Thread: What's your favorite neck radius?

  1. #1
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    Jun 2017
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    What's your favorite neck radius?

    I've played jazz basses for years. For the longest time, I thought it was the 1.5" nut width that was the secret to their easy playability for me. I figured anything with a 1.5" nut width should play more or less the same. Then one day I picked up a MusicMan Caprice and I was forced to reevaluate my previous assumption. My hands just seemed to glide up and down the neck effortlessly.

    I came to the conclusion that having the proper neck radius for me was just as important as having that 1.5" nut width. My hands are on the smaller side of the spectrum and that generous curve of the 7.5" radius makes it easy for my thumb to stay comfortably in contact with neck throughout it's journey. I think it may also have to do with where you play mostly frequently on the neck. For me, I tend to dwell around the 3rd to the 7th fret and the curvature of the 7.5" radius really works for me there. Admittedly, playing upper register notes(12th fret+) is more difficult with a curvier board but I rarely play their anyway.

    I was wondering which radius other players prefer and why. I would also love to see EBMM offer their best selling models with different radius options as well. I think finding the right radius is one of the aspects that really helps a player to bond with his/her/their instrument. I understand, having different neck radius options may affect production on the line and would be more than willing to pay for this option. In fact, I recently had one of my jazz bass's converted from fretted to fretless and was more than happy to pay the $90 upcharge to go from a 12" to 7.5" radius. So I definitely put my money where my mouth is. Whether enough people would pay for this option in order for its inclusion to be a sound business decision...that I cannot say with any certainty.

    Cheers,
    -Greg P

  2. #2
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    I like the radius on my bongo 5, don't know what it is but feels great and plays fast.
    Liquid Titanium

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregP View Post
    ................
    would be more than willing to pay for this option. In fact, I
    recently had one of my jazz bass's converted from fretted
    to fretless and was more than happy to pay the $90
    upcharge to go from a 12" to 7.5" radius. So I definitely
    put my money where my mouth is. ........
    Really shows to go you how personal the differences are.

    I was gonna avoid comment cuz I play fretless, and so I
    figgered that radius-wise my universe was off the map ...

    But your preference for a tight radius for FL hit me square
    between the eyes ! While I do play occasional fretted bass
    [and any more-or-less-typical radius is OK for that for me]
    for FL I strongly prefer a nearly flat, almost infinite radius
    FB. Much as I'm very happy with normal SR, Sterling, and
    Boingo FL FBs radius-wise ... I also play Warwick FLs with
    their nearly flat FBs, and I find that to be the ultimate ! If
    EBMMs came with a variety of radii, I'd go for whatever is
    closest to dead flat for FL ... and with big fat SR neck, SVP !
    Last edited by Golem; 09-03-2017 at 12:20 PM.
    S.U.B. SL4 - SR4p FL [x2] - SR4HH FL [Moses neck]
    SL4p FL [x2] - SL4HS FL - SL4HS FL [Moses neck]
    SR5HS alnico - SR5p FL ceramic [x2] - Bongo4Hp FL

    "Too many basses is never enuf"

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  4. #4
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    Golem,
    What is it about the flatter boards that you really like? With my physiology, I find the 7.5" facilities the proper arc of my fingers over the fretboard (especially my pinky). I find because of that I have to do less shifting. Less shifting, less moving = more efficient and effortless playing.

    But everyone's body is different so what's really comfortable for me would be a real pain for the next person. ;-) Which is why I think having different radius options would be a great addition. Although, it's also entirely possible that most people aren't as sensitive to radius as I am and the 11" radius works well for the vast majority.
    Last edited by GregP; 09-03-2017 at 02:32 PM.

  5. #5
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    `

    Quote Originally Posted by GregP View Post
    Golem,
    What is it about the flatter boards that you really like? With my
    physiology, I find the 7.5" facilities the proper arc of my fingers
    over the fretboard (especially my pinky). I find because of that
    I have to do less shifting. Less shifting, less moving = more
    efficient and effortless playing.

    ...........

    I don't exactly understand it. I know that I have quite a variety
    on hand and that I love a big fat neck and flat FB best out of all
    of them. Thaz for bass guitar. Turn the neck upright and a small
    radius REWLZ ! I have a Zeta crossover bass that can be played
    upright or on a strap, and has a tight radius for arco, but it feels
    very weird in guitar mode.

    As for the pinky, mine is "married" to the adjacent finger when
    I play, cuz my pinky isn't very strong. Also, thaz the "URB way"
    cuz URB strings and action a quite a challenge for the "unaided"
    pinky, so a bit of help from the "ring finger" is welcome. It's like
    playing with three fingers, but hey, Django played with two !

    Also, I don't squeeze a bass guitar neck with my thumb. I pull
    strings onto the neck with my left arm and wrist, more URBism,
    and my right elbow and a bit of right forearm serve as the only
    counter force against my pulling with my left hand. Since I'm
    not pressing against my thumb but am just pulling more or less
    straight back against the FB, I don't want my outermost strings
    on a "ramp" ... I want a nearly uniform plane perpendicular to
    the rearward pull by my arm and wrist. Pulling onto a "ramped"
    E or G string leads me to slip them sideways ... going too sharp.

    Or maybe I'm just imagining all this and have no viable reason
    for my observed preference for fairly flat FBs on bass guitars :-)
    Last edited by Golem; 09-04-2017 at 06:14 PM.
    S.U.B. SL4 - SR4p FL [x2] - SR4HH FL [Moses neck]
    SL4p FL [x2] - SL4HS FL - SL4HS FL [Moses neck]
    SR5HS alnico - SR5p FL ceramic [x2] - Bongo4Hp FL

    "Too many basses is never enuf"

    Golem is NOT engaged in social networks.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golem View Post
    `




    I don't exactly understand it. I know that I have quite a variety
    on hand and that I love a big fat neck and flat FB best out of all
    of them. Thaz for bass guitar. Turn the neck upright and a small
    radius REWLZ ! I have a Zeta crossover bass that can be played
    upright or on a strap, and has a tight radius for arco, but it feels
    very weird in guitar mode.

    As for the pinky, mine is "married" to the adjacent finger when
    I play, cuz my pinky isn't very strong. Also, thaz the "URB way"
    cuz URB strings and action a quite a challenge for the "unaided"
    pinky, so a bit of help from the "ring finger" is welcome. It's like
    playing with three fingers, but hey, Django played with two !

    Also, I don't squeeze a bass guitar neck with my thumb. I pull
    strings onto the neck with my left arm and wrist, more URBism,
    and my right elbow and a bit of right forearm serve as the only
    counter force against my pulling with my left hand. Since I'm
    not pressing against my thumb but am just pulling more or less
    straight back against the FB, I don't want my outermost strings
    on a "ramp" ... I want a nearly uniform plane perpendicular to
    the rearward pull by my arm and wrist. Pulling onto a "ramped"
    E or G string leads me to slip them sideways ... going too sharp.

    Or maybe I'm just imagining all this and have no viable reason
    for my observed preference for fairly flat FBs on bass guitars :-)
    Excellent technique! I've been working on improving my technique as of late. I try to focus on having the fretting force come from my forearm and shoulder. I borrowed that from what I learned about upright bass technique. Something else that's been helpful for me is getting out of the habit of using my thumb as an achor. I focus on having my fingers find the most comfortable position and a good arc and then letting the thumb simply serve as a gentle wrest. For me, I found most of my soreness came from anchoring my thumb which caused me to get into some unhealthy angles. Unlearning bad habits takes time but it's the only way forward and i've made good progress :-)

  7. #7
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    12"

  8. #8
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    Feb 2010
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    I really like the radius on both of my Bongo and Stingray 4 and 5 string basses. Without checking specs, I don't know what each neck radius on the 4 basses are but I do know that they feel extremely comfortable to me and are the perfect shape for my size of hands.
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v342/JRalston/7d65a184-4304-464d-9f3a-c83a9712dbe8_zps69d1fb3d.jpg
    Stingray Classic 4H D.O.B. 07/09/10 Breast Cancer Awareness Bass Shell Pink
    Bongo 4H D.O.B. 12/28/10 Black Sugar BFR Roasted Neck
    Bongo 4H D.O.B. 03/26/14 Candy Apple Red All Rosewood Neck
    Stingray 5H D.O.B. 06/25/13 Black
    30th Anniversary Stingray 5H D.O.B. 02/28/17 Transparent Buttercream
    Bongo 5HH D.O.B. 03/16/17 Barolo Metallic Purple w/ Roasted Maple Neck

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Posts
    25
    I adjust to any radius, but I love the EB necks. I think that posted radius is the same as my EB classic stingray, which is quite nice.

    I do play above the 12th fret quite a lot, as I like to play fills up there and I also solo sometimes. Had a Lakland in the past, which I believe is a flat and thin neck. It was quite nice too. I also have a Fender P with a fat baseball bat neck and I love soloing on that, believe it or not.

    The only thing that I really look for in a neck is thin frets. It's not on my Stingray, but it is on the Cutlass and that seriously intrigues me. I play pretty expressively and do big vibratos and things like that so maybe that is why I like thin frets. I honestly am not even sure why. Just a preference of mine I guess.

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