Understanding Fretboard Radius

Understanding Fretboard Radius

The term “fingerboard radius” describes the curvature or arc of the fingerboard across the width of the neck. Different fingerboard radii lend themselves to different types of playing. Which one should you choose?

Smaller ones follow the natural curve of the fingers and are better suited for chords and rhythm playing. Larger radii make techniques like string bending and lead playing easier and cleaner.

The radius measurement is arrived at by extending the arc of the fingerboard to form an imaginary circle around the neck. The radius of this circle is the fingerboard radius. The larger the radius, the flatter the fingerboard. For example, a fingerboard with a 9″ radius forms a smaller circle and is more arced than one with a 16″ radius, which is flat in comparison.

Straight Radius

Straight radius necks, or necks with a single radius from nut to heel have been a standard for many years. Different manufacturers choose which radius they think is best. For example, modern Fender® necks are 9-1/2″, while Gibsons® are 12″ and Ibanez® are 16″. Warmoth lets you choose what works best for you by offering any straight radius measurement between 9″ and 16″, in half inch increments. We also offer a vintage-style 7-1/4″ radius on our vintage Construction necks.

Compound Radius


Over two decades ago we pioneered the technology of the Compound Radius neck. This fingerboard radius is conical in shape, increasing gradually from 10″ at the nut to 16″ at the heel. It is truly the best of both worlds, making chords and rhythm playing in the lower frets very comfortable, while facilitating effortless string bending and lead playing in the higher frets.

View In-Stock guitar necks with a Compound Radius

View In-Stock guitar necks with a Straight 9.5″ Radius

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