Fretboard radius

Hi, I’ve playing for a year still a noob. I’m small in stature with small, elderly fingers and 2 guitars currently. A Squier with a 9.5 fretboard radius and a Danelectro 59x with a 14 radius. Sometimes I find the Danelectro (scale 25") easier to play as the strings seem more spaced, even for me with small fingers. The sound also seems brighter. Other times I like the Squier which is short scale 24" for barre chords though a Dminor open chords seems easier on the Danelectro. I’m now looking at buying a Fender Vintera Jaguar 60s pf scale kength 24" which has a radius of 7.25. I tried it briefly and loved the sound and feel of the neck but am starting to worry that going to a 7.25 radius will prove a bad move once I get over the initial thrill of a new guitar. Be grateful for any advice.

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practically I would go back and give it a another short session if possible to try and confirm your initial impressions. Otherwise depending on how you’re buying (online or instore) check what their return policy if you find on playing the guitar doesn’t suit you. I’m not sure where you are but in UK/Europe most places will have a return policy that will allow you to return on questions asked within a certain number of days.

I’m not sure anyone can give you advice as everyone is pretty unique. I’ve got various guitars with different neck shapes and whilst they are different I don’t really have a problem playing any of them. As time goes on your ability to switch guitars will improve.

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The only thing I would add is that “by the books” smaller fretboard radius is better for rhythm and strumming whereas flatter radii is more amenable to finger style and bending.

I am sure you can do about anything with either, but it is worth considering what you see yourself doing with the guitar.

Of course the right answer is get more guitars.

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Hello @Ccomm and welcome to the community.

Your Danelectro 59x has this spec:
Scale length: 25″
Fretboard Radius: 14″
Nut: 1.65″

I am unsure on your Squier as you don’t name the model / type. Is it a short-scale Strat with only 20 frets? If yes, its spec is:
Scale Length: 24"
Fretboard Radius: 9.5"
Nut Width: 1.61"

The Vintera 60s Jaguar has this spec:
Scale length: 24"
Fretboard radius: 7.25"
Nut width: 1.65"

Radius is an indicator of how ‘flat’ the fretboard is. Just thinking of electric guitars now, flatter is considered desirable for string bending and fast ‘shredding’. More curved is considered desirable for chords, especially barre chords. See my post here: Fret frustration! - #13 by Richard_close2u
This is possibly why you struggle with barre chords on the Danelectro - 16" is very flat in comparison to many guitars. Of course, those are not hard and fast rules and many people play all styles and all things on all guitars. The Vintera has the most curved radius, matching the vintage spec it is based upon. Unless you intend only playing loads of lead guitar bends of one, one-and-a-half or two tones and lots of sweep arpeggios and shred - and you never intend playing chords - then the difference might be marginal and not effect you at all.

The scale length of the Vintera 60s Jaguar is the same as your Squier so should be familiar. I do not think the longer scale length of the Danelectro is why you find some things easier on it. All are still a shorter scale length than a Fender Stratocaster or Telecaster etc.

You mention string spacing and that is where the measurements for nut width are important. The nut width is an indicator of the gap between strings. The Jaguar nut width - matches your Danelectro which you say is easier for you in terms of open chords (D minor you mention).

I think for barre chords you will find the Jaguar easier and better than the Danelectro. For open chords it should match the Danelectro and be more comfortable than the Squier due to the widths. For lead guitar play, you may find that the 7.5" radius does cause issues if you try to do David Gilmour style two-tone bends.



Thanks for all the replies much appreciated. @Rossco01 I’ll definitely go back and try out the Jaguar again, the single coil version is 7.25 and the humbucker model 9.5 radius so I might be swayed. @Jamolay I’ll only be buying one as much as I’d love 3 our 4 more guitars. @Richard_close2u turns out my Squier Supersonic has a nut width off 1.57 but confusingly the Danelectro 59x specs say it’s 1.5, it certainly feels smaller at the nut but the spacing seems better??

@Richard_close2u thanks for your post, saved me asking a similar question about fretboard radius.

In specs, i often see nut with listed. Is there a standard string spacing at the bridge, or does that vary from model to model like the nut width?

The Tune-o-matic bridge is pretty standard: Tune-o-matic - Wikipedia

@Richard_close2u answer is spot on.

Additionally when buying guitar with 7.25 radius, I’d carefully check the quality of fret work. For example by checking if I can do one tone bends without issues.

Here’s also an interesting discussion on radius and 7.25 radius perception: NEW PRS SE Silver Sky - Is the John Mayer SE Silver Sky Worth the Hype? - YouTube (14:58 Let’s Talk about the Radius)

Hello All, I finally found a Jaguar CIJ I think its about year 2000 better then the Vintera I’m thinking. Got a great deal it’s had work done - new Fender Pure Vintage Jaguar pickups and new bridge. Sounds great, beautifully made, looks fantastic but at the moment I’m not finding it as easy to play as my Squier Supersonic - all chords, moving around the fretboard. Will this come in time? My skills are improving bit with loads of practice but I’m still a beginner. Or is the vintage styling (7.25 radius, slight chunk to the neck) something that even advanced players dislike? BTW I haven’t had this set up but I understand the previous owner did. Regards.

I’d imagine they set it up to their own tastes. I wouldn’t assume their preferences match mine or yours.

I’d think so but certainly the more experienced pals here may have a better informed opinion. I’d give it time.

I like the 7.25" radius and a bit chunkier neck. It feels good for me.
It’s also the fret height and width that makes a difference so perhaps you can look into that difference between your guitars.