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  • krzys 12:20PM

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JacquetEsm Luthier47 mavedon imc2111 jpipper17

Guitar with a large fingerboard radius (A small radius, I meant. See below.)

Similar to the radius on a double bass, in other words? Has any company made one? I do understand all of the reasons not to want a large radius. But I'd still like to play one.


  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 274

    You probably mean large curvature (= small radius). On a string bass the fingerboard radius might be 3.5" (it's probably a compound radius) -- so you can bow one string at a time. Never heard of a guitar with so much curvature. On guitars the fretboard radius (if the fretboard isn't flat) might be anywhere from 12" to maybe 16" (sometimes less -- old Fenders maybe were 7.5").

    Wim Glenn
  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Altamira M,
    Posts: 837

    I've played some old Hofners and Framus guitars which had a a really small radius. They were very uncomfortable to play, why would you want to play one especially a gyspy guitar.

    always learning
  • JSantaJSanta NY✭✭✭ CB #42, Gaffiero Modèle Original
    Posts: 190

    The only electric instrument that I am aware of that has this is a custom made Fodera electric bass that was made for Victor Wooten.

    I'm sure Fodera would make a guitar version, but it won't be cheap.

  • edited June 2021 Posts: 4

    Yes, I did mean to ask about a small radius. It may seem like a peculiar thing to want. It comes from playing a cello, holding it like a guitar. This may seem absurd, given the obvious limitations--the way the right hand would have to move to strike strings, the difficulty of striking chords with a pick, etc. My question arises, however, from experimenting with playing a cello like a guitar, and fingerpicking, which avoids the problems with the pick. This may seem to be a stretch, but it's something that cello players, faced with a small radius neck, experiment with, with varying degrees of success. Not me, here, and not a swing song:

    The trouble is that the strings are of course heavier, so cellists end up playing it much like a bass. What's appealing about it, as a guitarist, is that it allows one to grab and pull strings more cleanly--since the strings are not on the same plane, and are more widely spaced apart, the right-hand fingers can pull them with more force without having to worry about striking adjacent strings. (Navigating the left hand around a curved shape is tactilely interesting, too, but that seems too obscure a pleasure to celebrate.)

  • JSantaJSanta NY✭✭✭ CB #42, Gaffiero Modèle Original
    Posts: 190

    Oddly enough, this showed up on someone's IG story today.

  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 274

    You should try playing a bass or tenor "viola da gamba." They are bowed insruments but have 6 strings, a wide and curved neck, and even frets! They're even tuned (relatively) like a lute.

  • AndyWAndyW Glasgow Scotland UK✭✭✭ Clarinets & Saxes- Selmer, Conn, Buescher, Leblanc // Guitars: Gerome, Caponnetto, Napoli, Musicalia, Bucolo et. al.
    Posts: 467

    I have two Guitarra Portuguesa, both have a radius around 4 or 4.5 inches, although obviously a shorter scale length...perhaps a relative like a cittern, octave mandola or bouzouki might have a similar tight radius.

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