Jazzmaster fretboard radius during pre cbs period

Discussion of vintage Jazzmasters, Jaguars, Bass VIs, Electric XIIs and any other offset-waist instruments.
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Guitarman555
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Jazzmaster fretboard radius during pre cbs period

Post by Guitarman555 » Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:23 am

Hey, does anybody have an experience with fretboard radius during 59-64? Did it change somehow? I have seen jazzy from 63 and from 64. In 64 radius was more round. Maybe somebody increased it? Or was the radius something that changed during the years/individual guitars? Cheers!

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Re: Jazzmaster fretboard radius during pre cbs period

Post by mbene085 » Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:25 am

7.25", always. Vintage Fender necks varied in profile/thickness and nut width (even within their designated widths of A,B,C) due to their handmade nature, but the radius was always 7.25".

Plenty of vintage necks have been sanded to different radii during refrets, though I've only heard of people going flatter, as I'm not sure I've ever encountered a guitar with a tighter radius than 7.25". If I were to guess, the flatter of the two guitars you tried was more likely the one that had been modified during a refret.

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Re: Jazzmaster fretboard radius during pre cbs period

Post by Larry Mal » Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:52 am

There's always been some kind of myths about the 7.25" radius even back in the day, and a lot of people over the years have made their Fenders be a flatter radius. There is a popular artist who played a kind of music called the "blues" named Stephen Raphael Vaughn that you might have heard of, he is a person who made his Fender be a flatter radius over the years and a lot of people followed his lead.

Also, I think there has been some slop with Fender over the years, I had a Bullet once that was a dead on 12" radius and I do not have any reason to think that it was anything other than factory original. Frankly it played great.

But officially, 7.25" was the only radius Fender ever used until they came out with the American Standards and such in the 80's.
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Re: Jazzmaster fretboard radius during pre cbs period

Post by bterry » Sun Apr 14, 2019 1:32 pm

Agree w/ the others, 7.25 was the official radius, however...

I've owned a few and seen a few more that were original but the radius varied from 7.5" to 9.5". The necks were hand-shaped, and there are definitely original necks that left the factory with a flatter radius than 7.25. Not the official standard but it did occur.

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Re: Jazzmaster fretboard radius during pre cbs period

Post by MechaBulletBill » Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:05 pm

Were the wrhb models in the cbs period all made with the narrow radius too? I thought tele deluxes had flatter boards but that might just be the Greco copy i played recently!

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Re: Jazzmaster fretboard radius during pre cbs period

Post by timtam » Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:31 pm

MechaBulletBill wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:05 pm
Were the wrhb models in the cbs period all made with the narrow radius too? I thought tele deluxes had flatter boards but that might just be the Greco copy i played recently!
My 70s Fender catalog does not list radius for the Tele Deluxe or Tele Custom or Thinline. But the Duchossoir Tele book says the 73 Deluxe was the first with 9.5" radius, while other 70s teles kept 7.25. In the 80s the elite and standard went as flat as 12". Current classic 72 reissues are 12 (deluxe), and 7.25 (custom and thinline).

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Re: Jazzmaster fretboard radius during pre cbs period

Post by Guitarman555 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:01 am

mbene085 wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:25 am
7.25", always. Vintage Fender necks varied in profile/thickness and nut width (even within their designated widths of A,B,C) due to their handmade nature, but the radius was always 7.25".

Plenty of vintage necks have been sanded to different radii during refrets, though I've only heard of people going flatter, as I'm not sure I've ever encountered a guitar with a tighter radius than 7.25". If I were to guess, the flatter of the two guitars you tried was more likely the one that had been modified during a refret.
7,25 was standard for both Jazzy, Jags and Strats from 59 to 69?

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Re: Jazzmaster fretboard radius during pre cbs period

Post by simonhpieman » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:16 am

My Starcaster is 10 (I think!)

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Re: Jazzmaster fretboard radius during pre cbs period

Post by MechaBulletBill » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:49 pm

timtam wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:31 pm
MechaBulletBill wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:05 pm
Were the wrhb models in the cbs period all made with the narrow radius too? I thought tele deluxes had flatter boards but that might just be the Greco copy i played recently!
My 70s Fender catalog does not list radius for the Tele Deluxe or Tele Custom or Thinline. But the Duchossoir Tele book says the 73 Deluxe was the first with 9.5" radius, while other 70s teles kept 7.25. In the 80s the elite and standard went as flat as 12". Current classic 72 reissues are 12 (deluxe), and 7.25 (custom and thinline).
nice. anything on coronados/starcasters/etc?

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Re: Jazzmaster fretboard radius during pre cbs period

Post by Mechanical Birds » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:12 pm

So I’ve been curious about this for a long time but always forget to ask. With neck shapes being referred to as having a “C-shape” does that mean the actual shape, like it’s shaped like a C? The lack of vintage guitars in my life history is depressingly small so please forgive my ignorance. I assume the original names of neck shapes, A, B, C, D, etc were nothing more than names that corresponded to a certain chaos, yeah? Would be dumb as hell to have one shaped like a ‘B’ and probably impossible for an ‘A.’ So yeah that’s what I’ve deducted, but now seemingly every new guitar Fender introduces is marked as having a “something something C shaped neck.” Do the designations still mean the same thing or did they switch the term ‘C-shaped neck’ to apply literally to the neck’s shape?

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Re: Jazzmaster fretboard radius during pre cbs period

Post by Despot » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:53 am

Mechanical Birds wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:12 pm
So I’ve been curious about this for a long time but always forget to ask. With neck shapes being referred to as having a “C-shape” does that mean the actual shape, like it’s shaped like a C? The lack of vintage guitars in my life history is depressingly small so please forgive my ignorance. I assume the original names of neck shapes, A, B, C, D, etc were nothing more than names that corresponded to a certain chaos, yeah? Would be dumb as hell to have one shaped like a ‘B’ and probably impossible for an ‘A.’ So yeah that’s what I’ve deducted, but now seemingly every new guitar Fender introduces is marked as having a “something something C shaped neck.” Do the designations still mean the same thing or did they switch the term ‘C-shaped neck’ to apply literally to the neck’s shape?
So I'll have a go at explaining my understanding of this.

The difference between C and D is about 'shoulders' of the neck - the area between the fingerboard and the neck 'proper' (i.e. the lighter neck wood under the darker fingerboard on a rosewood/maple board for example). If you've played a modern Gibson with a non-vintage neck shape you will probably know what I mean - there's a flat side to the neck where your thumb sits or loops over as you play. A C shape neck has far less of a shoulder than a D shape neck (which has flatter 'sides' to the neck). Then there's the U shape neck - which is more or less a really thick D shape (think '52 reissue telecaster).

Don't confuse the shape of the neck (basically an effort to try to describe how the neck has been carved) with an A, B or even C width Fender neck. This is the width of the nut - with B being 'standard' and A being narrow. C is slightly wider than a modern Fender neck (I've never played one, I'm basing this on the description of others). I've played A necks - they're narrow, and often feel narrower than a Norlin width Gibson neck (1 and 5/8ths of an inch). The neck width is stamped on the neck code at the base of the neck (the bit hidden when the neck is screwed to the body). The neck shape/carve is an arbitrary description and has evolved from people trying to describe the feel of a neck in some way that makes sense.

Vintage necks vary. A lot. But sometimes you can draw generalisations - the necks won't be as identical as modern CNC made necks, but they'll be close. For example, every single '63 Jazzmaster, Jaguar and Strat that I've played has had the same neck - a thicker than expected C shape that starts relatively slender around the nut, but gets fairly chunky from the 5th fret upwards and which fills the hand nicely. No modern reissue manages to replicate this neck - at least none that I've tried. The '62 AVRI neck is nothing like it - my own Jazzmaster is late '62 (probably shipped '63 as it's a December guitar) and it has a '63 profile neck, not the much slimmer feeling neck that they've use on the AVRI guitars.

Contrast that with '66 telecasters - I've played five, and the necks varied in shape from monster chunky (a later '66) to very very slim (the '66 Telecaster from June of that year that I owned for a while). On the other hand every Jazzmaster I've played from '66 (I've owned two, and played a couple more) had a neck shape that was practically identical to the '65 AV Jazzmaster reissue...

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Re: Jazzmaster fretboard radius during pre cbs period

Post by Mechanical Birds » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:21 pm

The neck on my 66 Jaguar is really thin, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an ‘A’ stenciled in on it. Thanks for the clarity! Always something that I kind of figured was how I described it, but was never sure and always annoyed with the fact that I wasn’t sure.

The necks on the AV65 guitars I’ve played, probably like 5 Jags and 8/10 Jazzmasters, have all been pretty fat and until I first got ahold of one, I’d always though that I wasn’t a fan of what we call a ‘chunky’ neck. Those things, though, along with the Squier Mascis neck, are the most comfortable of all time that I’ve ever played, and it’s funny to me, because you hear guys with signature models talking about going to gender and spending cumulative weeks sorting thru neck shapes and testing prototypes and stuff, but if I ever got that chance I’d just be like “make me an AV65 Thin Skin with block inlays in Sherwood Green and the Mustang bridge, thanks!” R&D for the Mechanical Birds signature Jaguar would only last around 10 seconds, maybe 12 seconds if I remembered to ask if I could also get one released in Lake Placid Blue ;)

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