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Post subject: How low can you get on a compound radius?
Posted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 8:17 pm
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Folks, first time to acquire a compound radius strat (9.5 - 14) on an American Elite.

Question is, which curvature of the saddles am I going to follow? I'm trying to lower it down to around 1.25mm thinking that I can go lower as it has flat board on upper frets above but it still chocked! Adjusting it up to around 1.4 to 1.5mm seems to be the happy medium.

Is this just the way it is for a Strat that I cannot really acquire an Ibanez-like low action? Reason I bought an Elite is to have a comfy chords on lower frets and can still easily shred on upper frets :)

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Post subject: Re: How low can you get on a compound radius?
Posted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:08 am
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I'm just making a guess here since I've never had a Compound Radius neck myself...but shouldn't the Nut already be curved at 9.5 radius? So the Bridge Saddles would curve at the 14 radius, allowing you to lower the strings as low as you like them, so long as there is no fret buzz anywhere on the fretboard.
I like my action low, low, low...so I usually "eye ball" the height...and if there is fret buzz, I locate it and adjust little by little until the buzz goes away.
I DO have gauges but seldom use them when adjusting string height; so if you're looking for actual measurements to get some sort of 'starting point' someone else is going to have to answer that for you.
Dave from "Dave's World Of Fun Stuff" on YouTube is a Canadian Guitar Tech I like to watch; is always throwing measurements out there on his videos if you want to take a peek at his channel.


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Post subject: Re: How low can you get on a compound radius?
Posted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:01 pm
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If you're aiming at extremely low action, be prepared to accept some buzzing - but on the levels where it's not audible when amplified.
And with action like 1,2 mm or below, the frets need to be in top condition - I'm almost inclined to say they should be checked & fixed even on a brand new quality instrument.


(And the obvious; of course, very low action relates to the whole setup being perfect. And another obvious, low action and best sound aren't always the same thing. And a third, pay attention to your pick hand attack.)


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Post subject: Re: How low can you get on a compound radius?
Posted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:01 pm
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White Dog wrote:
So the Bridge Saddles would curve at the 14 radius

The 14" radius is at the body end of the neck.
The radius described by the saddles would be larger still.

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Post subject: Re: How low can you get on a compound radius?
Posted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:00 pm
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I have a 9.5-14 compound radius on my Strat. I have the bottom of each string at 4/64, measured at the 12th fret. It plays well with no fret buzz. I think if I went any lower it would be difficult to do bends.


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Post subject: Re: How low can you get on a compound radius?
Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:29 am
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I agree with the logic that if a compound radius is 14" at the body joint it should be even greater at the bridge. I could work it out if people are really interested.

My view on heights is to take the E strings down until they don't work and then bring them up a bit until they do and then set the radius of the other strings between the two . What ever that is is what it is and varies from guitar to guitar as relief and neck angle all play a part.

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Post subject: Re: How low can you get on a compound radius?
Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:11 am
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I just dug out my under string radius gauges to double check my earlier post, and it's 14" radius at the 22nd fret, 20" at the bridge.
Guitar is an American Deluxe Stratocaster from 2011/12 - serial starts US11, and was purchased fresh out of its sealed shipping carton in early 2012.

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Post subject: Re: How low can you get on a compound radius?
Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:07 am
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John Sims wrote:
My view on heights is to take the E strings down until they don't work and then bring them up a bit until they do and then set the radius of the other strings between the two . What ever that is is what it is and varies from guitar to guitar as relief and neck angle all play a part.
Beautiful! That's what I do as well.


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Post subject: Re: How low can you get on a compound radius?
Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:24 am
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The strange thing is that it only buzzes or chokes on the upper frets i.e. 12th fret and above if I really lower the action to 1.25mm . kinda sucks because I thought the frets are flatter on upper frets.

From lower frets, seems to be ok and no buzzes at all.

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Post subject: Re: How low can you get on a compound radius?
Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:34 am
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Choking only on the higher frets suggests too much relief in the neck. Your neck may be set to Fender's recommendation, but remember that's only a recommendation. Some necks play better when they're straighter.


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Post subject: Re: How low can you get on a compound radius?
Posted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:18 pm
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Ditto.
Capo the 1st fret and depress the last fret, check your clearance at the 7th fret.
It should be .010 or even less.

The flatter or compound radius allows for lower action without fretting out on bends, but it has no effect on acceptable action on straight playing or chording since you aren't pulling the strings across the radius.

But honestly, 1.25mm is extremely low... that's about 30% lower than standard spec. 1.5mm is really considered "perfect" and a lot of people actually like it a bit higher.

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Post subject: Re: How low can you get on a compound radius?
Posted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:16 am
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CB91710 wrote:
Ditto.
Capo the 1st fret and depress the last fret, check your clearance at the 7th fret.
It should be .010 or even less.

The flatter or compound radius allows for lower action without fretting out on bends, but it has no effect on acceptable action on straight playing or chording since you aren't pulling the strings across the radius.

But honestly, 1.25mm is extremely low... that's about 30% lower than standard spec. 1.5mm is really considered "perfect" and a lot of people actually like it a bit higher.


Thanks folks. Let me try with the capo and check the clearance.

You might be right with 1.25mm being extremely low.. maybe i'm asking too much with a Strat. LOL. Lower action just avoids any strain on my wrist and extreme bending when I do solos.

Oddly, i checked my other Strat guitars and their measurement is also at 1.4mm to 1.5mm on 12th fret but it doesn't feel that high to me.

Is it because those have fatter neck ? Whereas the Elite has significantly slimmer neck ... weird. :oops:

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Post subject: Re: How low can you get on a compound radius?
Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:21 pm
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I have a 2014 AmDlx, bought new in box, with the compound radius neck, modern C profile. I set it to Fender recommendations on relief, and after experimenting a bit settled on 1.4 mm (3/32”) string height at 12th fret. Slight buzzing occasionally but not audible through the amp. Plays like a dream from the nut to the 22nd fret.


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Post subject: Re: How low can you get on a compound radius?
Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 6:05 pm
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CB91710 wrote:
Ditto.
Capo the 1st fret and depress the last fret, check your clearance at the 7th fret.
It should be .010 or even less.

The flatter or compound radius allows for lower action without fretting out on bends, but it has no effect on acceptable action on straight playing or chording since you aren't pulling the strings across the radius.

But honestly, 1.25mm is extremely low... that's about 30% lower than standard spec. 1.5mm is really considered "perfect" and a lot of people actually like it a bit higher.


So so I did capo, pressed on last fret of high E string, and I used a business card to slip in to the 7th fret and it can easily slide in. Not that it has too much clearance from the fretboard..

Is this OK?

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Post subject: Re: How low can you get on a compound radius?
Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:59 pm
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A typical business card is close to .010"/0,25 mm, so with the "easily slide in" description, I'd say you may lean to a bit too much relief.
SRV had .012"/0,3 mm and nobody needs more than him. And his string height was HIGH... :lol:

Anyways, relief is personal. And personally, I prefer very straight necks - like, replace the business card with a strip of printer paper, and forget the "easily" on sliding.


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