There is also no practical difference in accomplishing a fret level, nut cut, set-up or any other adjustment to a compound radius neck. With the calipers, measure the width of the fret at the point where it meets the fretboard, and measure the height of the fret. 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. 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. Actually, the correct terminology would be either "fretboard" or "fingerboard radius" and the actual neck shape and size should be called "neck profile". ©2020 Crook Custom Guitars | All Rights Reserved. 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. Determining the dimensions of a guitar can help you to find an instrument that fits your body size and personal preferences best. So I sold it. The measure of the curvature of the top of the fretboard from edge to edge is often incorrectly referred to as the "neck radius". Guitar … Learn More → Acoustic guitars come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! 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. Dan Erlewine demos three different gauges used for guitar setup and fretwork: standard, notched and understring. 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. To do this, you’ll need a radius gauge tool. Place it on your fingerboard and find out which side matches your fingerboard exactly. Although I do like a 9.5" or 12" radius neck as long as it … These new neck shapes reflect modern tooling and programming that allows us to even more preciously shape and consistently reproduce our necks. Cut an arc, with a base of 2cm from anywhere on the circle. If you don’t have one handy, you can also look up your guitar on the Sweetwater website. 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. 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. Fender PlayHOLIDAY SALE: 50% off an Annual or Monthly plan.UNLOCK THIS OFFER. 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. See the image below. Find out what fret board radius is and how it is measured. 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. How to Measure a Guitar Neck. They are as easy to work on as any other neck. If you’re not sure of your guitar’s radius, check out our article for details on how to check that. 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. You want to be in the center of the fingerboard in between where your D and G string would be. 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. Measure the length of the guitar's body, not including the neck and head. The radius should be listed in the Tech Specs section. Measuring the neck fingerboard radius. To optimize your guitar’s playability, it is recommended that the string heights match the fretboard’s radius. Using the calipers, measure the width of the fingerboard right in front of the nut. Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. I see some dealers (such as Mark's Guitar Loft) stating a neck measurement in decimal form. A guitar radius gauge is used to compare the string’s height with respect to the fretboard radius. For example, if you’ve ever seen the specs for an electric guitar neck, you might have read 7.25″ as the radius. Neck shapes have always been a high priority for PRS and a hallmark of our quality. Neck Cradle: A neck cradle is a great way to safely support the guitar’s neck while you work on it. 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. 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. The gauge has four numbered sides. 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 … To measure the fretboard radius of your guitar, you’ll need a tool called a radius gauge. You can't measure the radius with a ruler, you need a radius guide. Find some of the tools you'll need to measure neck relief here. You will need a special gauge to determine the guitar neck radius – the curve of the fingerboard. Due to variance in hand sanding, finish and other details, no two guitar necks are exactly alike – even from manufacturer model to model. It is basically the best of both worlds and makes for a great playing guitar all the way up the neck. Luckily, you can download, print and cut out a free neck radius gauge, supplied by our friend Tony at Pickguardian. 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). The shape and feel of a neck are one of the most important things for a guitar to feel right. The Guitar Neck Shapes The “C” Shape. Now do the same at the 12 fret. The radius is usually expressed in inches. These issues might call for some corrective work. HOLIDAY SALE: 50% off an Annual or Monthly plan. 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). Vintage Pink Paisley Print in the Paint Booth. Guitars commonly have a "compound radius," meaning the curvature changes from the nut to the end of the fingerboard. 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. How to measure a guitar’s neck radius. If you are unsure of the shape, look at the Neck Back Contours drawings on the USA Custom Guitars site. Contact me with your specifications, and we can get started talking about your new custom guitar. Helpful Links. I played a bunch of different strats and realized that I really like vintage-spec Fender necks. 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. 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. The gauge has four numbered sides. 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. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. try to make the neck nearly parallel with the strings; having some concave is normal. If you do any guitar work, you need a set to measure the fingerboard radius and set the radius of the bridge. 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. A guitar should feel comfortable, like "home," as soon as you pick it up, and the neck is paramount to that connection. "Eyeballing" this subtle change is next to impossible; that's why a set of radius gauges is essential. Only two tools are needed to check neck relief — a capo and a feeler gauge. This is the most common shape. If you’ve ever been a little confused about how to measure scale length precisely on a guitar, you’re not alone. The contour is the basic shape of the back of the neck, such as a C, U, Soft V, etc. Measuring a guitar is important for multiple reasons. In this guide, we will show you how to measure a guitar’s neck radius. All Rights Reserved. Lay the guitar flat on a clean, flat surface. ... 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. 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 commonly uses a radius of 9.5in for its Strats and Telecasters, while Gibson Les Pauls have a fretboard radius of 12in. Measure the upper bout width. Depending on your guitar, you should get numbers from 1.625 up to 1.750 inches. 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. Also use them for profiling an acoustic bridge saddle and setting the string heights on an electric guitar bridge. If you don’t have a neck cradle, a rolled up towel or a pillow are decent substitutes. I assume you measure from one edge of the fingerboard around to the other? You can also use it to support the guitar’s waist while you measure. That arc is the fingerboard and the radius is 10cm. It’s pretty straightforward. Be the first to know about new products, featured content, exclusive offers and giveaways. I also show examples of three different fretboard radius necks. A simple tool to help you get your guitar playing its best! 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. Put your nose up against the very bottom of the body, by the bridge, and look down the strings towards the nut. 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 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. Place it on your fingerboard and find out which side matches your fingerboard exactly. You should get numbers anywhere from .775 to 1 inch. A simple guide to finding out how to determine this important measurement that will keep your guitar sounding great. When attaching the neck to your Pit Bull Guitar, it is critical that you get the right measurement. 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 Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars. So the only way to get close to that ONE neck that feels right, you need to measure it. Neck Radius. What are the benefits of compound radius and different radius fingerboards. Copyright ©2020. How to … you can compare the curve of the neck to the straightness of the strings. Repeat this process on the low E string (for both guitars and bass guitars). Why the difference? Click here for a … You will need a special gauge to determine the guitar neck radius – the curve of the fingerboard. 7.25" 9.5"-12" 15"-17" Relief.014” (0.35 mm) .012” (0.3 mm) Luckily, you can download, print and cut out a free neck radius gauge, supplied by our friend Tony at Pickguardian. With the strings removed, put the calipers on the nut side of the first fret. Also, if you’re ever doing work on an older guitar, you’ll definitely want to check the board for consistency. 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