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Compound Radius Question


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:D Hi,

I'm a first time guitar builder (but capable woodworker and 30 year guitar player) about to start a solid body guitar project. I've bought a couple of books to help me, Melvyn Hiscock's "Make your own electric guitar" and Martin Koch's "Building electric guitars". Both of which talk about radiusing the guitar neck but don't really explain in any detail how to produce a compound radius neck or even if it's worth the effort (in many other ways I find both books excellent!) Three questions:

1) Should I bother trying to learn how to do it?

2) Where might I find information to help the amateur builder?

3) What are the benefits versus a standard radius neck?

Thanks.

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Hi, Welcome to the forum!

You're starting off on the right foot for sure with the books.

What a compound radius does is gives a rounder surface at the top of the neck ( near the nut ) which is comfortable for open chords, and flattens out a bit further down to make soloing and bending notes easier.

That's a quick run-down, and you can probably turn up a bunch more info by using the "search" function at the top right hand corner of the page.

A lot of people like compound radii, but they are certainly not necessary by any means.

:D

Edited by orgmorg
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Good Timing! :D I'm nearing that stage myself and was considering a compound radius. I'll probably make my own templates, thats the easy part. Maybe 5 or 6 should be a good enough guide. But as far as HOW I will go about it will be a matter of experimentation. I'll probably start at the nut with a 10" and progress up the neck with shallower blocks. Checking the progression of the radii (damn weird typing 2 "i"'s in a row), should work well, the trick is ensuring the fb is dead straight along the way.

http://buildyourguitar.com/resources/tips/fbradius.htm

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Hi, Welcome to the forum!

You're starting off on the right foot for sure with the books.

What a compound radius does is gives a rounder surface at the top of the neck ( near the nut ) which is comfortable for open chords, and flattens out a bit further down to make soloing and bending notes easier.

That's a quick run-down, and you can probably turn up a bunch more info by using the "search" function at the top right hand corner of the page.

A lot of people like compound radii, but they are certainly not necessary by any means.

:D

Many thanks for the advice I'll check the forum strings as you suggest.

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Good Timing! :D I'm nearing that stage myself and was considering a compound radius. I'll probably make my own templates, thats the easy part. Maybe 5 or 6 should be a good enough guide. But as far as HOW I will go about it will be a matter of experimentation. I'll probably start at the nut with a 10" and progress up the neck with shallower blocks. Checking the progression of the radii (damn weird typing 2 "i"'s in a row), should work well, the trick is ensuring the fb is dead straight along the way.

http://buildyourguitar.com/resources/tips/fbradius.htm

If you get a chance please let me know how you get on, I'm some weeks (if not months) behind you. All tips and tricks will be gratefully received!

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Geometrically speaking, a standard radius is a section from a cylindrical surface, where the radius is constant along the length of the fretboard.

A compound is a section from a conical surface, where the radius changes linearly along the length of the fretboard. A compound is a closer match to the shape of the surface defined by the strings.

It can be done by hand, but if you want to do it well you'll need a straightedge and a set of radius gauges to check it.

After that, when it comes to fretting, there are a few tweeks that will really make the instrument fit the player and his/her playing style.

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Something nobody has mentioned...If you want to use a compound radius,bridge and nut selection is critical.You can get some fulcrum trems with a 15-16" radius,and a 10" lock nut,which is the most common setup,or you can buy a bridge with adjustable saddles,Like the Kalher flatmount or one of several fixed bridges...But if you try to se a TOM with a 12" radius,and a nut with a 10-12" radius(for example),you are wasting your time and defeating the purpose altogether.

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Something nobody has mentioned...If you want to use a compound radius,bridge and nut selection is critical.You can get some fulcrum trems with a 15-16" radius,and a 10" lock nut,which is the most common setup,or you can buy a bridge with adjustable saddles,Like the Kalher flatmount or one of several fixed bridges...But if you try to se a TOM with a 12" radius,and a nut with a 10-12" radius(for example),you are wasting your time and defeating the purpose altogether.

:D Thanks I hadn't even considered that!

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