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Saturday, November 10, 2012

GUITAR AND BASS: WHAT IS RADIUS?



Hello and welcome to this week's article! This time we're goint to talk about Radius!
When we use the radius term, talking about guitar or bass, we're not referring to the radioactive chemical, but to how curve or flat the fretboard and the frets are.
Different roundnesses provide different playing feels, and some are better suited to particular styles than others are, but as a general rule, the flatter the radius is, the easier will be to go fast, and shred.

When we see the radius mentioned on a guitar or bass spec sheet, it is usually expressed in inches (ranging from 7.25" to 18", but there are even more extreme versions) and the higher this value gets, the flatter the fretboard will be.
The idea behind a more curvy or flat neck is based on the type of music we need to play: a curved radius (e.g. 7,25" or 9,5") will be more suited for playing chords, since the fretboard will "accept" more easily the shape of our hand, especially when doing Barre Chords, while flatter radiuses (e.g. 15,75" or 18") will let us do easier bendings, and advanced techniques as string skipping or sweep picking.

The ideal middle ground has been introduced by Gibson and is the radius of 12", which is still the most common today (on Bass instead is often used a radius of 10"), but throught the years some manufacturer (such as the same Gibson, or Charvel and Jackson) has introduced also a compound radius that starts from 10" on the nut area (to be more "chord friendly") and progressively becomes flatter, to 16" on the other end of the neck, to let solos to have more sustain (in facts the rounder the neck, the farther the "external" strings will be from the fretboard). 

Hope this was helpful!

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