# How does a radius work?

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I am so confused on guitar radius's at the moment. I want to convert the radius on my squire strat to a super flat radius (think a shredder type guitar) but I'm confused... How does the radius work? Is it the smaller the radius the rounder, and vice versa? I don't have any radius gauges  currently (need to get sometime soon) and some radius blocks as well, but could someone explain?

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Radius is only the distance of a circle from the center to the outside diameter. The longer the distance the larger the radius.

This is coming from a machinist point of view .

Ron

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36 minutes ago, RonMay said:

Radius is only the distance of a circle from the center to the outside diameter. The longer the distance the larger the radius.

This is coming from a machinist point of view .

Ron

So I was right on the larger the radius the flatter it is! I was just really confused because I was working with protractors today in school measuring to about 17 degree's and it looked like a 17 inch radius, fairly flat. I need to make a stew mac purchase this weekend

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In general smaller radius necks are more comfortable to play chords on but you can only bend strings so far before they "fret out" i.e., start buzzing.  You can find printable radius gages on line. You may want to use one to check that you will still have enough wood in the fret board to recut the fret slots when you are done with the radius.

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47 minutes ago, PRSpoggers said:

So I was right on the larger the radius the flatter it is! I was just really confused because I was working with protractors today in school measuring to about 17 degree's and it looked like a 17 inch radius, fairly flat. I need to make a stew mac purchase this weekend

I would use a compass and make several circles with it on some card board and use those as a make shift radius gauge. Is that a professional luthier's tool, no, but it could do in a pinch until you get the metal ones. I do believe the radius also gets a little less the closer to the nut you get as well, but I wouldn't swear to it.

If I'm off base I'm sure some actual builders and luthiers will set you straight.

Ron

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3 hours ago, RonMay said:

I do believe the radius also gets a little less the closer to the nut you get as well, but I wouldn't swear to it.

You're partially right but not quite. If the radius is set it's the same all along. The wedge shape creates some optical illusions.

There's a thing called compound radius where the nut end is tighter for chording and the dusty end is flatter for bending.

- As it may be difficult to find a 17" compass a printable radius gauge may be easier to find. Back in the day I printed one on paper and copied it on a sheet of overhead film for durability. A thicker piece of plastic like the cover of a folder would have been even better but I didn't have any.

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I can understand why the OP was confused, the more curve in the fretboard is a smaller radius while less curve is a bigger radius!

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I can understand why the OP was confused, the more curve in the fretboard is a smaller radius while less curve is a bigger radius!

Especially if you don't think about circles...

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