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Originally conceived by the Warmoth brothers, compound radius fretboards embody in just one fretboard the "feel" of all vintage, normal and modern flat fingerboards.

While old Fender necks are known as very comfortable for rhythm and chord playing due to their curved radius (7-1/4") it is almost impossible to keep a low action without having strings stopping during bending. Conversely, to achieve a lower action, many modern guitars feature a very flat 16" to even 20"radius fretboard, but the comfort factor is lost.

The best of old and new is, as usual, a compromise.

Compound radius.

The compound radius fretboard usually starts with a 10" or 12" radius at nut, and ends with a 16" radius at last fret that allows very low action and no bending buzzes.

This solution guarantees easy, comfortable chords and arpeggios in the first positions, moderate average radius in the middle positions for comfortable two hand techniques, and flat radius in the high positions for silky-smooth bends, up to 2-1/2 semi-tones.

Compound radius vs straight radius

Due to its geometrical structure, compound radius also offers the best relief for strings to vibrate properly.

Due to the fact that, with constant radius, the fretboard width changes along its length but the radius under it remains the same, if we adjust a constant radiused fretboard for a perfect relief (slight up-bow) using the outer strings as a reference, this will cause the inner strings (A and D) to "sense" a back-bowed fretboard.

This doesn't happen with compound radius, where change in the radius follows the change of the strings pattern (I'll spare the complicated math formula) thus delivering a better tone and less buzz on the fretboard.

Galeazzo Frudua

Galeazzo Frudua

As a luthier and lutherie teacher, since 1988 he has been making about 350 boutique guitars and basses priced from 2,900 to 5,600 Euros and repaired and customized thousands of string instruments. His instruments and amplifiers are used by flagship artists, such as Chick Corea, Peter Gabriel, Ennio Morricone, Vasco Rossi. He owns two YouTube channels—where he teaches music—that count up to 25+ million views and almost 140.000 subscribers.

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