Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Fretboard radius, 50’s clubs etc. ?


Anybody know the fretboard radius fpr a vintage 50s country club? and made 60 Gretsch's too, like clubs and tennessean. I'm curious, though I planed the fretboard (and tried to keep it the same(though I wasn't using a gauge..eek) I just printed some off and it would seem I have a vintage Fender 7.25 radius on my electro 2..which has a 54-55 Club neck on it. I'd be curious to know the actual numbers. My 55 Convertible which has been refretted but not by me would seem to have a 10" radius


My ‘54 Electro single pickup has a rather flat neck at 16”. My ‘51 Bacon Belmont has a 10” radius neck.


I've rarely had occasion to measure and never on a Club, but the couple times I have (a '53 Jet and '59 Gent), they were both about 12" and felt about the same as most of my Gretsch fingerboards - pretty flat.


In this CNC - specialized guitar-making tools - robot-ized day and age it's very tempting and normal to assume fingerboard radii were standardized with radiused sanding blocks and machinery...but I'm pretty sure that wasn't always the case. Fenders, yes, Gibsons, not so much (a lot of older ones are closer to a 10" radius than the supposed/assumed 12"), Guilds nope, Gretsches...I'm not an expert at all, but I don't think so.


On the old ones I've run across (fitting bridges via remote measurements), 12" is actually surprisingly common - given the Gretsch reputation for variation in the vintage era.

But flatter and steeper radii are also not uncommon. If I had to throw a number, I'd say about 75% actually do range around 12". I think that may have been a virtuous ideal the factory strove for, but occasionally, Father, they sinned.


Most are between 14” and 16” for 50% of the middle and then the edges roll off to 12”


Interesting! Thanks! Well my Electro 2 is now about around 11"..haha a bit of a frenzy over here. I like it better. Closer to what I'm used to, Feels good!

My Tennessean is dead on 12" as is my Deluxe Chet.


Pretty sure they just kinda winged it on a belt sander.


Pretty sure they just kinda winged it on a belt sander.

– JazzBoxJunky

yup, that's what I think too


They old ones certainly look like they've been belt sanded from the factory, and usually across the grain. It's actually quite hilarious.


The radius is uniform I think they had a system or developed one. All the boards I've worked on seem really good.


I'm pretty sure you've seen more than me that's for sure. Not commenting on the radius but more the final fretboard surfacing. I've seen many that looked factory (original ancient small frets , fretboard looks full thickness etc.)that had definitely been sanded cross grain and the marks left. Have you seen any like that?

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