Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Radiused fingerboard

Does anyone have any experienced with radiused fingerboards and if so can you offer any pros and cons?

I’ve played on a radiused fingerboard on a GoodTimes 2 banjo. I was surprised at how natural it felt. I really can’t say it was better or worse than a flat fingerboard.

One issue you may want to consider is the problem of finding readily available bridges if you ever need to replace yours. My local music store only carries flat bridges.

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Great point. Thanks to the internet they should be easy to find. Thanks Mark!

My Huber is radiused. I went with that because I play guitar a lot and wanted the same “feel.” After all these years, I’m still not convinced. When I play a traditional flat board banjo there is something I really like/miss. I may go to a flat next time!

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Thanks for the input!

I’m curious at what size radius this would be? Is it so small that it is hardly noticeable? Is it enough to notice that you have a longer distance for your fingers to fret the 4th string? If the 3rd string is higher than the 4th, is it harder to clear the 3rd string when fretting the 4th?

(These might be silly questions. Apologies in advance if that’s the case)

Great questions. You can have varying radiuses/radii/whatever…my Huber is a 14", I think. There is no noticeable difference in reaching the 4th string, and all the strings are on the same plane as both the nut and bridge are straight.

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My Huber Lexington is radiused and my OME Bright Angel is flat.
Both banjos measure 1’3/4" across the 12th fret.
I noticed today that I can play the full chords easier up the neck (without sour notes)
on my OME w/ the flat fretboard. (Re: She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain Backup Lesson)
So maybe the flat necks are easier to play for beginners like myself.

My question then would be, what is the benefit of a radiused fret board with a straight nut and bridge?? looks like that would be just raising the action on the outer strings. By no means challenging your manhood, lol. just trying to make it all make sense.

Keep in mind… i’m an idiot, lol.

It would be, slightly, but the same as a guitar. The point is to get the feel of a guitar. Full disclosure: I sold my Huber and now play a banjo with flat fingerboard.

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What kind of banjo is your main banjo these days?
I like the one I see on your videos w/ the TEXAS state shape inlay!

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Thanks! My main banjo nowadays is the Twanger: https://store.banjobenclark.com/products/gold-tone-style-3-twanger-5-string-bluegrass-banjo-with-case

Awesome price… I need to try a gold tone someday