I tell my customers to pick up a cheap set of calipers from the hardware store and follow these quick steps to give me those critical neck measurements. Actually, the correct terminology would be either "fretboard" or "fingerboard radius" and the actual neck shape and size should be called "neck profile". There is also no practical difference in accomplishing a fret level, nut cut, set-up or any other adjustment to a compound radius neck. The advantage of a compound-radius fingerboard is that some guitarists find the more rounded radius near the headstock preferable for chording and the more flattened radius near the body preferable for soloing. Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. For example, if you’ve ever seen the specs for an electric guitar neck, you might have read 7.25″ as the radius. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Now do the same at the 12 fret. A good tip for distinguishing between different fretboard radiuses: the greater the number, the flatter the fingerboard; vice versa, the smaller the number, the more rounded the fingerboard. With the strings removed, put the calipers on the nut side of the first fret. Measuring the neck fingerboard radius. Determining the dimensions of a guitar can help you to find an instrument that fits your body size and personal preferences best. The scale length of a guitar is, in common parlance, the distance between the nut and the bridge, or the length that the strings freely vibrate, but if you try to measure this distance you’ll quickly notice you’ll run into some trouble. Also use them for profiling an acoustic bridge saddle and setting the string heights on an electric guitar bridge. Newer models of Jackson guitars tend to feature compound radius fretboards, a common measurement being 16” at the body-end and 12” near the headstock. I see some dealers (such as Mark's Guitar Loft) stating a neck measurement in decimal form. Using the calipers, measure the width of the fingerboard right in front of the nut. With the calipers, measure the width of the fret at the point where it meets the fretboard, and measure the height of the fret. Because my other guitar at the time was a Gibson, I thought I'd like a flatter radius fretboard, but that just wasn't the case. Fender PlayHOLIDAY SALE: 50% off an Annual or Monthly plan.UNLOCK THIS OFFER. Although I do like a 9.5" or 12" radius neck as long as it … For Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars, the proper size of this gap varies slightly with fingerboard radius: For Fender bass guitars, the optimal measurements again vary slightly according to fingerboard radius: Should you measure no relief at all or relief amounts in excess of those listed here, you probably need to have the truss rod adjusted. The radius should be listed in the Tech Specs section. The gauge has four numbered sides. Imagine you cut a slice of pie, the outer part of the triangle is curved like the pan it came from, your guitar neck is curved like a thin slice from a very large pan. If you’ve ever been a little confused about how to measure scale length precisely on a guitar, you’re not alone. Place it on your fingerboard and find out which side matches your fingerboard exactly. For electric guitars, in our opinion, a good default string height at the 12th fret is typically about 6/64th of an inch (2.38mm) on the … Neck Radius. A guitar should feel comfortable, like "home," as soon as you pick it up, and the neck is paramount to that connection. I assume you measure from one edge of the fingerboard around to the other? Put your nose up against the very bottom of the body, by the bridge, and look down the strings towards the nut. The Guitar Neck Shapes The “C” Shape. Guitar … In this guide, we will show you how to measure a guitar’s neck radius. A simple tool to help you get your guitar playing its best! Be the first to know about new products, featured content, exclusive offers and giveaways. ©2020 Crook Custom Guitars | All Rights Reserved. The gauge has four numbered sides. If you are unsure of the shape, look at the Neck Back Contours drawings on the USA Custom Guitars site. Neck Cradle: A neck cradle is a great way to safely support the guitar’s neck while you work on it. Cut an arc, with a base of 2cm from anywhere on the circle. In this case, the fretboard is placed at the top of the circle and the arc from one edge to the other is the size of the radius. It is basically the best of both worlds and makes for a great playing guitar all the way up the neck. The way that number is derived is by drawing a circle with a 7.25″ radius — remember, “radius” is a straight line from the center to the circumference of a circle — and placing the fingerboard at the top of the circle (Figure 1). How to … You can look at the Fret Sizes Chart on the USA Custom Guitars site to determine the size that matches with the fret you have. Affix the capo to the first fret and depress the high E string at the last fret (G string on a bass guitar), or where the neck joins the body (often the 17th fret on Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars). ... With the guitar tuned up to pitch, measure the height of each string from the bottom of the string to the top of the fretboard at the twelfth fret. In order to measure the height of your guitar’s strings, you should have either a ruler, a feeler gauge, or a specialized string action gauge. That arc is the fingerboard and the radius is 10cm. A guitar radius gauge is used to compare the string’s height with respect to the fretboard radius. To optimize your guitar’s playability, it is recommended that the string heights match the fretboard’s radius. See the image below. When attaching the neck to your Pit Bull Guitar, it is critical that you get the right measurement. Dan Erlewine demos three different gauges used for guitar setup and fretwork: standard, notched and understring. 7.25" 9.5"-12" 15"-17" Relief.014” (0.35 mm) .012” (0.3 mm) you can compare the curve of the neck to the straightness of the strings. Find some of the tools you'll need to measure neck relief here. These new neck shapes reflect modern tooling and programming that allows us to even more preciously shape and consistently reproduce our necks. If you don’t have one handy, you can also look up your guitar on the Sweetwater website. Measure the upper bout width. Luckily, you can download, print and cut out a free neck radius gauge, supplied by our friend Tony at Pickguardian. Helpful Links. If you’re not sure of your guitar’s radius, check out our article for details on how to check that. Measuring a guitar is important for multiple reasons. So I sold it. Guitar neck shapes tend to fall into one of three categories: C, V, and U. We’ll talk about what these letters mean, what each of these guitar neck shapes do well, and where each might leave something to be desired for certain players. Fender commonly uses a radius of 9.5in for its Strats and Telecasters, while Gibson Les Pauls have a fretboard radius of 12in. Repeat this process on the low E string (for both guitars and bass guitars). Such a fingerboard, for example, may have a 9.5” radius at the headstock end and a 14” radius at the body end; other compound-radius designs used by Fender include 7.25”-12” and 12”-16”. The radius is usually expressed in inches. Luckily, you can download, print and cut out a free neck radius gauge, supplied by our friend Tony at Pickguardian. It’s a useful measurement because, for example, if you have fret buzzing going on, it’ll give you a good idea of how much you’ll need to have the truss rod tweaked. You should get numbers anywhere from .775 to 1 inch. You want to be in the center of the fingerboard in between where your D and G string would be. I played a bunch of different strats and realized that I really like vintage-spec Fender necks. This is the most common shape. How to Measure a Guitar Neck. Although there really isn’t anything unduly difficult about most minor truss rod adjustments, for our purposes here we suggest having it done by a qualified technician or repair person. Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars. Guitars commonly have a "compound radius," meaning the curvature changes from the nut to the end of the fingerboard. To do this, you’ll need a radius gauge tool. Measure the length of the guitar's body, not including the neck and head. The benefit of this design is that some players find the rounder profile near the headstock preferable for chording and the flatter profile near the body-end preferable for soloing. If you don’t have a neck cradle, a rolled up towel or a pillow are decent substitutes. With your free hand, use the feeler gauge to measure the gap between the bottom of the string and the top of the eighth fret (the fret wire itself, not the fingerboard), which is where the curvature should be deepest. Learn More → Acoustic guitars come in a variety of shapes and sizes. If you do any guitar work, you need a set to measure the fingerboard radius and set the radius of the bridge. How to measure a guitar’s neck radius. try to make the neck nearly parallel with the strings; having some concave is normal. Lay the guitar flat on a clean, flat surface. Also, if you’re ever doing work on an older guitar, you’ll definitely want to check the board for consistency. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. You can't measure the radius with a ruler, you need a radius guide. Click here for a … To measure the fretboard radius of your guitar, you’ll need a tool called a radius gauge. It’s pretty straightforward. The measure of the curvature of the top of the fretboard from edge to edge is often incorrectly referred to as the "neck radius". If you do not find your specific brand and model below you can Google your guitar make/model plus the words "fretboard radius"; if that doesn't work you can use the manual method which is described here Please Note: 12-String & 8-String Guitars should use our High Tension OctaveTouch fretpads to get the best performance. HOLIDAY SALE: 50% off an Annual or Monthly plan. You will need a special gauge to determine the guitar neck radius – the curve of the fingerboard. Depending on your guitar, you should get numbers from 1.625 up to 1.750 inches. Neck shapes have always been a high priority for PRS and a hallmark of our quality. You will need a special gauge to determine the guitar neck radius – the curve of the fingerboard. Why the difference? Copyright ©2020. What are the benefits of compound radius and different radius fingerboards. I also show examples of three different fretboard radius necks. No matter how pretty a guitar is or how good it sounds, when you don’t love the way the neck feels in your hand, you’re not going to play it much. They are as easy to work on as any other neck. Contact me with your specifications, and we can get started talking about your new custom guitar. A simple routine measurement you can perform yourself on your guitar or bass is the amount of neck relief, which is the amount of curvature along the length of the neck. Vintage Pink Paisley Print in the Paint Booth. A simple guide to finding out how to determine this important measurement that will keep your guitar sounding great. You can also use it to support the guitar’s waist while you measure. Sometimes you’ll get instruments whose radius isn’t quite what it should be, and even instruments where the radius is weirdly inconsistent all along the neck. So the only way to get close to that ONE neck that feels right, you need to measure it. Due to variance in hand sanding, finish and other details, no two guitar necks are exactly alike – even from manufacturer model to model. All Rights Reserved. Place it on your fingerboard and find out which side matches your fingerboard exactly. Only two tools are needed to check neck relief — a capo and a feeler gauge. The measurements that I give on my site are from the surface of the fingerboard to the highest point on the back of the neck, just behind the 1st and 12th frets. These issues might call for some corrective work. The shape and feel of a neck are one of the most important things for a guitar to feel right. Find out what fret board radius is and how it is measured. The contour is the basic shape of the back of the neck, such as a C, U, Soft V, etc. "Eyeballing" this subtle change is next to impossible; that's why a set of radius gauges is essential. The change in radius as you move up the neck is barely perceptible, but it will make a genuine, noticeable difference in your playing. Measure the length of the neck from the body of the guitar to the intersection of the neck and the head of the instrument. 7.25" 9.5"-12" 15"-17" Relief.012” (0.3 mm) .010” (0.25 mm) .008” (0.2 mm) For Fender bass guitars, the optimal measurements again vary slightly according to fingerboard radius: Neck Radius.
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