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Flat Fretboard


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My fretwire's in and I've decided that I want to try out a flat fretboard, since I like ridiculously low action. That said, ridiculously low action probably requires some special considerations when building the fretboard.

My neck's flat. The fingerboard's stable. The fret slots are cut shallow, ready to be cut to final depth. Any hints on what to look out for and things to do to keep this thing under control?

Also, the fretboard's Padauk, 1/4 in thick at the moment.

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My fretwire's in and I've decided that I want to try out a flat fretboard, since I like ridiculously low action. That said, ridiculously low action probably requires some special considerations when building the fretboard.

My neck's flat. The fingerboard's stable. The fret slots are cut shallow, ready to be cut to final depth. Any hints on what to look out for and things to do to keep this thing under control?

Also, the fretboard's Padauk, 1/4 in thick at the moment.

you mean a fretboard with NO radius??

my dad has a custom build guitar with no radius, i hate it, its kinda weird cuz your finger has to be realy flat for chords sweeps and stuff, i personaly like a radiused fretboard, but you could also make the radius realy flat like 20 inch or so?? it will seem realy flat, but its still slightly rounded, sweeps and chords will mostlikely be much more comfortable thatway, and its also moer natural for your hand i guess.

though thats my personal opinion :D

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you mean a fretboard with NO radius??

my dad has a custom build guitar with no radius, i hate it, its kinda weird cuz your finger has to be realy flat for chords sweeps and stuff, i personaly like a radiused fretboard, but you could also make the radius realy flat like 20 inch or so?? it will seem realy flat, but its still slightly rounded, sweeps and chords will mostlikely be much more comfortable thatway, and its also moer natural for your hand i guess.

though thats my personal opinion :D

Classical guitars have no radius, and some of the chords classical players play are far more difficult than what most guitarists play.

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we have been through this before, numerous times on this forum... but...

Action is the string height, from the fret tops. It is irrelevant what the radius is, this measurement is the same.

If you want to do massive bends, go for a shallower radius, compound radius, or higher action.

Fret buzz will be a problem well before 'bending and fretting out' becomes a problem, even with a 12" radius.

Most people want super low action because they want to shred/sweep. Not bend. Is that the case here?? Or do you want to try and get 3 semitone bends out of every string in every position??

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Neal Moser, the ex BC rich guy who designed the "bich', builds his personal guitars with no radius, and says they're the bomb.

I agree with Alex. A sharp radius, fretting out on a bend is a concern unless the action was set by someone that really knows what they're doing.

Even a 12 radius can have ultra low action, and bend right if setup properly, but this requires the upper frets to be ground down a tad more than the rest of the frets- about 5-7 thou lower than the rest- starting around fret 16-17.... just sand them about 5-6 passes more after the frets were levelled.

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Fwiw the guitar I made had no radius on the fingerboard and I really like it.

Also I hold the guitar neck in the non-classical way, with my thumb round the neck, and not on the centre of the back of the neck.... most people that play like this seem to prefer radiused boards (judging by opinions I've read), but I guess I'm just odd.

BTW, dont be so pedantic perry :D

You know what he meant; string bends are used a hell of a lot in almost all styles of guitar playing, so a flatter fretboard will allow for a lower action, whilst still making bends playable. Sure there may not be a world of difference between a flat board and a 20" radius one, unless you do insane string bends, but theoretically, the action could still be lower on a flat board and allow for string bends.

Anyway, I'm sure you already know that :D

Edited by Ben
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.

Any hints on what to look out for and things to do to keep this thing under control?

Also, the fretboard's Padauk, 1/4 in thick at the moment.

Has anybody actualy answerd his question

i dont think he even said bending in his original post

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Back to the original question. Any special building considerations?

no

Well I think it was answered quite nicely in this post :D

Basically its just the same as with a radiused fretboard... just a little easier.

I guess there are some pretty obvious things to think about, for example you'd need to use a bridge and nut with no radius... you woudnt need to prebend the frets much (if at all) etc...

I found it really easy

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Thanks everybody,

I went to Neal's website and did some reading. Seems like just what I'mlooking for. If it works out, I'll let you guys know all about it. If it doesn't, I still will let you know. I bend a lot and hard, so it seems like the way to go, everything else will have to be figured out as I go.

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How do you play barre chords sexybeast?

Something I noticed about the unradiused board, is that barre chords are really uncomfortable if you play them the 'standard' way, with your first finger spanning the whole fretboard (if that makes sense)

I have big hands, so I play them with my thumb on the low E usually, so it doesnt affect me.

good luck!

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How do you play barre chords sexybeast?

Something I noticed about the unradiused board, is that barre chords are really uncomfortable if you play them the 'standard' way, with your first finger spanning the whole fretboard (if that makes sense)

I have big hands, so I play them with my thumb on the low E usually, so it doesnt affect me.

good luck!

I usually barre my index finger all the way across, the way you said is uncomfortable, but I find it easier on flatter boards for some reason. My thumb is usually o n the back of the neck. I have some nasty tendonitis or arthritis coming on and it's easier to lay my finger flat than curve it. Barre chords spanning only a few strings are especially nasty, so I avoid them unless I have to play open strings as well.

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I've done a bit of thinkingon this subject and I have a theory. It goes like this:

A plucked guitar string vibrates in a circular manner. When that string vibrates over a curved fretboard, it is closer to the fret at some point due to the fretboard curve. Therefore you'd have to keep it a bit higher than a string over a flat fretboard.

The curve of the fretboard would dictate higher strng action to keep fret buzz down due to the higher fret area to one side or another of the string.

flatfret2.jpg

Sorta like the picture above. It's exagerated for illustration, but it makes sense to me. Any thoughts?

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you are wrong. You are really thinking about it way way too much, seriously.

Action is: the distance of the string to the fretboard. NOT vertically, not horizontally, but DISTANCE FROM THE STRING TO THE FRETBOARD.

Have you taken into consideration that your finger joint is a pivot, and therefore doesnt move in a linear fashion (as per your drawing)??

Why dont you draw it and see??

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