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  1. #1

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    Hey guys,

    I have a Hofner Vice President archtop which I love, except that I find the neck a bit slim. Also I think I find a 12" radius more comfortable (like on my 72 Tele deluxe reissue) and I would like to ask you which archtops that you know of have a 12" neck radius? As I said I like the Tele neck but it doesn't give me the sound of the Hofner. Any one knows the neck radius on the Eastman archtops?

    Thanks

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    It seems most jazz guitars these days have 12" radius ... what does your Hofner have?

  4. #3

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    We are talking about the fretboard curvature radius, right?

  5. #4

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    All Heritage Archtops have 12" neck radius.

  6. #5

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    I believe 12" is Gibson's standard as well.

  7. #6

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    How "fat" the neck is, or its shape (C, D, U, soft V) is called its contour. That may be more what you're noticing.

  8. #7
    Thanks for all of your replies. Indeed maybe it's the thickness (or the lack of it) that's bothering me, but the fretboard is "curvier" than my Tele's 12". I must try some archtops in December since I'll be in London to spend the holidays with my in-laws (yay). No stock to speak of in Cyprus!

  9. #8

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    Hey Stephanos.
    A friend of mine has an old Hofner archtop, I couldn't tell you the model but it has a fat neck and what seems to be a 7.5" radius. This style of neck is great for chord work, look else where for slinky action baby!

  10. #9

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    Guess what? I have this Gibson L-12 that Joe from archtop.com describes in the listing as "a nice rounded fingerboard radius for easy chord work and soloing."

    I recently took it to a luthier to assess the frets and some other stuff. He measured the radius and it's an unbelievable 5 inches! It's the tightest I've ever seen (and I think him, too).

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzbow
    Hey Stephanos.
    A friend of mine has an old Hofner archtop, I couldn't tell you the model but it has a fat neck and what seems to be a 7.5" radius. This style of neck is great for chord work, look else where for slinky action baby!
    You think? I've always found flatter fingerboards to be much better for chords. I've been playing 16's for years and I've considered going to a 20.

  12. #11

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    I agree; this variable is not that big a deal if the setup is good. I have everything from the aforementioned 5" to flat flamenco guitar boards. All it takes is a little adjustment period to dial in the feel. I do prefer 12" and higher though.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    You think? I've always found flatter fingerboards to be much better for chords. I've been playing 16's for years and I've considered going to a 20.
    Yup, I have a maple neck strat with 7.5" radius which I find great for cowboy chords and jazzy extentions but really sucks when it comes down to bends. I guess the C section helps.

  14. #13
    So after almost three years (!) of the last reply I feel like letting you know that I have refretted the guitar. The frets were really wide (3mm or more) and really really low. I had them replaced with Dunlop 6150 which are still on the wide side but are higher.
    The guitar is now much more comfortable to play and set-up.
    Just wanted to keep you updated :-)

  15. #14

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    My old Fenders are 7.25" radius (people frequently refer to these as 7.5", but they are really 7.25"). My Gibsons are 12".

  16. #15

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    So is it okay to say that Gibson archtops generally come with 12" radius?

  17. #16

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    I could not adjust to a 9.5 Strat.

    12 feels comfortable.

    14 on my Yamaha Pacifica feels best.

  18. #17

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    I'm old but relatively new to technical guitar issues. I've always been an 'out the case/ plug in' and play sort of person.
    Owing to a recent purchase and needing to re shape the bridge saddle I found myself ultimately comparing the geometry of a 10" and 12" radius, ie on paper. It turns out that over a width of
    1 3/4" a 10" curve is only 0.0065" taller in the middle than a 12". I presume a good luthier could easily work to that degree of precision but, would a player detect that difference if a guitar's f/b and bridge had a 2" difference in radius? That would only be about 0.003" at 12th fret.
    Cheers.

  19. #18

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    I can. It depends on the action you set. I get it as low as possible without buzz, and there buzzes start on the D and G strings while the E strings are still rather high for my preference. I get this even on 12" radius fretboards, because saddles tend to be too flat even for those. If you use higher action, you might not notice it.

  20. #19

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    I have guitars with 9.5", 12", and 16", radii. They 9.5 feels more different from the others than the others feel from each other. The difference is in ease of bending and tendency to fret out while bending. The 9.5 is harder and frets out more. It's not a subtle difference. Between the other sizes, if you didn't tell they were different, I wouldn't be able to tell from the feel.

    John

  21. #20

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    I notice that my 10"-14" compound radius plays a lot smoother than my straight 12" radius guitars.

  22. #21

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    I have guitars from 7.25 to completely flat, and they all feel a lot different. Really like the 7.25 radius, but I use medium action. The flatter the radius, the easier it supports lower action I think.

    The actual dimension differences between various scale lengths, radius and neck dimensions are very small, but they do translate to different worlds of playing experience. Typically, compare playing a Gibson and a Fender, or try a 7.25"(vintage specs), a 9.5" fender plus something like a 12" or 16" Ibanez or Warmoth and you'll feel the difference.

  23. #22

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    I have a 9.5 and I have trouble picking cleanly.

    My favorite is a 14. I don't have any problem with 12.

  24. #23

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    I can immediately feel the difference between something like 7.25" and 9.5", although where the former is concerned a big part is due to the vintage frets. In any case I adapt fairly quickly.
    If I were a more skilled player I imagine I could benefit from such differences. Or maybe it would be even less of a concern.

  25. #24

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    Thanks for all your comments. Rather than the comparison of one radius to another ( I have quiet a few gtrs with different radii and appreciate the different feel) I am more curious as to, for example, having a fretboard radius of say 10" and a bridge radius of say 12" on one guitar , would a player really notice.
    I had calculated that the difference in the height of the curve in the centre for those two radii is only 0.0065". Which is less than a very thin string!!
    I have just made a couple of templates with those radii out of business cards (watched on youtube) and seen curved sanding blocks being made. It's helluva fine tolerance to achieve especially if it can't be detected by a player. Cheers.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by garybaldy
    I am more curious as to, for example, having a fretboard radius of say 10" and a bridge radius of say 12" on one guitar , would a player really notice.
    I've had the same experience as sgosnell mentioned previously ... And also the other way around, where the bridge is more curved than the fretboard.

    That gives the annoyance of either having the e-strings buzzing while the rest was perfect or having the e-strings being perfect, while the rest felt too high.

    But if you don't like your action low then no issues what so ever


    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    I can. It depends on the action you set. I get it as low as possible without buzz, and there buzzes start on the D and G strings while the E strings are still rather high for my preference. I get this even on 12" radius fretboards, because saddles tend to be too flat even for those. If you use higher action, you might not notice it.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov

    That gives the annoyance of either having the e-strings buzzing while the rest was perfect or having the e-strings being perfect, while the rest felt too high.
    Yes, but in my example of a 10" f/b and 12" saddle with no buzz on the middle strings would you notice what would be, at the 12th fret, a 0.003" extra height on the top and bottom strings? As an aside the saddle slots could be a couple of thou out. Cheers.

  28. #27

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    A lot of people actually prefer a slightly larger radius bridge on electrics (which would also work for many archtops) because it works out for great matching when the bass side is raised slightly higher above the fingerboard than the trebles. This keeps the D and G strings from sitting noticeably higher off the fingerboard than the B and high e, once you get the low E and high e adjusted for the right height.

    Edited to add: I doubt you’ll notice the difference of the radius if the bridge is less than 2” larger than the fingerboard.
    Last edited by zcostilla; 06-07-2020 at 07:15 AM.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by garybaldy
    Thanks for all your comments. Rather than the comparison of one radius to another ( I have quiet a few gtrs with different radii and appreciate the different feel) I am more curious as to, for example, having a fretboard radius of say 10" and a bridge radius of say 12" on one guitar , would a player really notice.
    I had calculated that the difference in the height of the curve in the centre for those two radii is only 0.0065". Which is less than a very thin string!!
    I have just made a couple of templates with those radii out of business cards (watched on youtube) and seen curved sanding blocks being made. It's helluva fine tolerance to achieve especially if it can't be detected by a player. Cheers.
    does that calculation include the differences in heights off the fingerboard to allow for string vibration? Theoretically, if the low E sits 0.010” higher than the high e, with each higher string being slightly closer than the string just below it, then wouldn’t the radius arc measured at the bottom of the strings would naturally be different than the fingerboard radius? And 0.010” is just a random number off the top of my head that sounds close, but it gives you a starting point to calculate.

  30. #29

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    No it doesn't but I could have done it - really geeky now! Clearly if the radius was equal at both ends of the strings then, if the low E was higher than the high E (through bridge adjustment), there would be a pro - rata change in height of the other strings. This may suit some players. And, as you say, for example, if the bridge radius was greater (lower curvature) and with the bass side higher, the middle strings would sit lower. At the end of the day it's not really a case of noticing but more a case of what suits the player.
    ps FWIW the background to this thread is that on a new guitar I have the bridge saddle is straight so I made the templates to assertain the f/b radius and then shape the bridge to match. I chose to make a 10" and a 12" hoping it would be one of those. Cheers.

  31. #30

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    The Radius of the frets will be the same all the way down the neck unless its a compound radius, so if you want a even matching Bridge radius you shape it to the fret radius. I use a radius sanding block to do it. If you have a tune omatic style bridge you get one the same radius as the frets. The big difference between a 7.5 to a 10 or 12 radius to me is how much easyer it is to do Barr chords on a 7.5 than a 12. Yes a higher radius like 12 or 10 wont fret out as much as on a 7.5 But that can be solved by doing a fret fall away leveling.