Neck Radius

Straight Radius vs Compound Radius.

I prefer a straight radius and here's why: nut, board and bridge can all be adjusted exactly in unison. Compound radius makes sense in ways and falls flat in others. For instance a 9.5 - 12" compound radius forces you to adjust your bridge somewhere in-between, never quite matching. So yes the radius matches the path of the strings but never matches anything else. Its debatable and a matter of preference but I prefer to have a straight radius with everything matching.

Of all choices mine is a 9.5". The famous '58-'60 Les Pauls are a great example of the difference radius makes.  Many of those were 9.5". Modern Pauls are 12". Nothing wrong with 12", I just prefer the 9.5". It all depends on the player. I change my mind on this from time to time too.

The only Radius I really do not like is anything over 12". Charvel started the thin, wide and flat neck thing in the 80's and Ibanez ran with it. I never got into nor understood the move. I prefer a 1 5/8" nut width, meaty round thickness front to back and a 9.5" straight board. Thin wide necks not only tire my hand out fast they are tone robbers in my opinion and often suffer from "rubber neck". Because the necks are so weak even more mass is cut out when the makers install the overpowering truss rods needed to hold them straight. Unless you're deaf - you can hear it too.

In my experience - the neck is the biggest overall influence of tone. You shave a neck to thin and tone is going to suffer. I've proven this to myself many times. I don't think those Ibanez shred guitars are dead sounding because of the thick plastic like paint or Basswood bodies (although these things suck tone too) most of the tonelessness comes from lack of neck mass. Couple this with the proven tone killer Floyd Rose bridge and ... well unless you love the sound of nothing but distortion pedal this is a lose/lose combination. Of course there are those who love these guitars. Noted 99.9% of them sit in their bedroom playing at bedroom volumes - thus hearing nothing but distortion pedal anyway. The forums are full of these guys. People who've never plugged into a proper rig and heard what the guitar actually sounds like. All they know is 9volt battery and that is sad. These people are the first to hit the forums and talk tone.

IIn case anyone is wondering I must say I am a rock guy. I play with Marshalls good and dirty. Dirty tones require good sound from the beginning. Distortion does not bury good tone. Some people slam hard rock guys as if the distortion makes any quality components mute. It does not. Without a good tone distortion will just be a hissy bumble bee mess. It is in fact even more important in my opinion to start with a solid pleasing sound when playing high gain. There is much more to an electric guitar than pickup and an amp. All parts of an instrument will effect the sound.