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What is a Big Sky Radiused Fingerboard?


Guitarooster52

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New "Big Sky" radiused fingerboard edge - seems to be the ad-man's puff line.

 

My gut feeling is it's just a marketing ploy to part money from pickers.

 

The only "Big Sky" I am aware of until now is (Sound to Earth - Belgrade, Montana and some old Flatiron and Gibson folk) Bruce Weber's superb f-hole mandolin/mondola "Big Sky" range - which in turn pays homage (for want of a better expression) to the beautiful Gibson mandolins of yore, and is just a tiny step down from their fabulous Fern range.

 

And "Big Sky" is a resort in Montana, I beleive, too.

 

So I'm guessing it's just a name for the neck style - the radius will be the same as it always was.

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I haven't heard much about the Big Sky radius lately. I think it's main attribute was an added round-ness to the edge of the fingerboard meant to simulate a nicely broken in neck. The actual fingerboard radius is the same as ever but the edges of the board are rounded a little. Those are my words, not Gibson's and I'm sure the exact words can be copied from somewhere and pasted here, but that's the gist of it.

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I've often wondered about this myself. One the one hand, it does sound a bit like marketing BS, but on the other, the reference to the neck's radius gives the impression that it actually is more then just a fancy sounding term, though I have never seen an actual description of what it is supposed to be.

 

Also: ain't Montana the "big sky state"?

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"Big Sky" is a name the State marketing people in Montana use to describe Montana. Montana used to be known as "The Treasure State", but now they are known as the "Big Sky" state.

 

The Gibson Marketing people now use it to also describe the new radius fretboard on some models. The fretboard has a curve or radius to it. They used to have a 12" radius. The frets are curved to that radius as well as the saddle and the way the fret nut is slotted. It has a very comfortable feel. That is the curve you see when you look at the top of the saddle. It matches the curve of the fretboard.

 

The new "Big Sky" compound radius goes from 12" at the nut and gradually flattens out to 16" at the 12th fret. So, as you play up the neck the radius flattens out. Although this radius is also used on some other models, the "Big Sky radius" models also means that the model not only has the new radius, but also that the edges of the fretboard have been sanded to make them more comfortable.

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"

The new "Big Sky" compound radius goes from 12" at the nut and gradually flattens out to 16" at the 12th fret. So' date=' as you play up the neck the radius flattens out. Although this radius is also used on some other models, the "Big Sky radius" models also means that the model not only has the new radius, but also that the edges of the fretboard have been sanded to make them more comfortable.

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I believe that is what my old Eric Clapton Signature Strat also had but I could be wrong. I do know the back of the neck was made to Claptons specs so it was thicker down by the cowboy chord area and flattened as you got up to the upper frets. It made it probably the nicest electric neck I had ever played. But then I am an acoustic guy, so I traded the Strat for a Taylor....(I think I won that round of trading! :- )

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The new "Big Sky" compound radius goes from 12" at the nut and gradually flattens out to 16" at the 12th fret. So' date=' as you play up the neck the radius flattens out. Although this radius is also used on some other models, the "Big Sky radius" models also means that the model not only has the new radius, but also that the edges of the fretboard have been sanded to make them more comfortable.

[/quote']

 

It means that's more difficult to refret a board with "Big Sky" ??

 

Next time I must make a partial refret on mine (3,4 frets) ......

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It wouldn't be any more difficult to refret as long as the board doesn't get planed or resurfaced. Sometimes you can get away with that, sometimes not. When I refret, I always over-radius the frets a little so they bite a little better. At the same time I'm not trying to match the existing radius with the pre-bending of the fret wire. If the slot is clean and the right size, and the fret wire clean, and the loose nut behind the hammer is paying attention, it'll seat and follow the board's radius, be it 12" or 16".

 

I can't remember details but seems like I refretted a Strat and did my own compund radius. It was a '77 I think, with the old-school Fender 7.25" radius. I kept it 7.25 in the first position but used a 10" and a 12" radius sanding block as I worked my way up the neck. Not exactly CNC machine precision and I didn't go 16" like some.... my whole intention was to retain the old Fender feel but with lower action up the neck so notes could be bent with less chance of it fretting out.

 

Dang, I'm itching to fret something now.

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