From what I understand, during a guitar setup, the string height is adjusted to follow the fretboard radius.

How is string height adjusted for a neck with a compound radius ?

2 Answers 2


I have a Jackson soloist guitar, it has a compound radius fingerboard (12 to 16) string height is adjusted in exactly the same way as a straight neck.

Since the highest curve is at the nut and the fingerboard 'flattens' out slowly as it gets closer to the bridge, and string height has to account for the highest point of the fret board; there isn't anything more you can do with the strings that you wouldn't ordinarily do with a straight neck.

  • Doesn't that mean that string radius is well adjusted near the nut and as one get nearer to the body one suffers the effect of a guitar on which the strings are not properly adjusted for the fretboard radius ?
    – Anonymous
    Jan 28, 2011 at 19:45
  • 1
    @bleakcabal - no, as the strings and the fretboard still follow straight lines. The change from tighter radius at the nut to flatter at the bridge is constant along the length of the neck.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Mar 21, 2011 at 22:55

Adding to @DRL's answer to address some unanswered questions by the OP:

As I'm sure you know, the whole point of a compound radius is simply to allow for more comfortable fretting at higher points on the neck for solos and whatnot. A flatter neck can be considered "faster" by some players. It's simply an ergonomic enhancement, and we're talking about a very small change as the fretboard gets flatter. The reduction in curvature is relative to the ellipse formed by the nut, so as the fretboard gets flatter the strings do not consequently get closer to the fretboard. See this site from the inventors of the compound radius neck for some basic information. They don't go into the level of technical detail that I think you want, but it's a good start nonetheless.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.