Beginner Bass Neck Radius

Hello all -

I was watching Josh’s video on the best beginner bass. The Yamaha TRBX304 was the top pick. During my research, I noticed that it has a 10" neck radius. It has many great reviews, mentioning the “ease of play” for those of us with shorter/fatter fingers. My question:Would a greater or less neck radius, have a great impact on the ease of playing ?

Thanks !


I wouldn’t stress over the neck radius too much in the beginning. You will find what fits you after a few weeks of playing.

I, for example, have average hands, but I prefer big, “meaty” necks. I had no clue obviously in the beginning, however, after trying a couple of basses, I’ve found that I prefer a thicker neck, not because they are “the best” or “easier”, I simply like the feeling.

However, if you have/will develop a good fretting hand technique, you will be able to handle any neck thickness. And the main difference will be the feeling.


Agree with @wellbi

You just don’t know in the beginning what you are going to ultimately like or dislike. I’m still changing on bits and specs I like over others.

I don’t think radius makes as big a difference as nut width (jazz/P) etc. My first bass was a jazz bass partly because I thought a skinnier neck would be easier, turns out I like beefy necks a lot, some days more.

Play what makes you happy, and sounds and looks good to you and notice along the way things that start to pop up that annoy you


@stuka1166 just to hopefully make things a little clearer. There are two parts to the neck. there’s the radius of the fretboard. The larger the number then the ‘flatter’ the fretboard will be. Although this is a quite subtle difference. Pic below.
More important than the radius I think is the neck shape. As @wellbi and @John_E have pointed out the shape of the neck is going to be more important. Some basses have thicker necks and others have thinner ones and will be shaped differently. Pic below as an example.
It’s going to be a matter of what I’ve heard referred to as the ‘handshake’. That moment when you physically put your hand round the neck. At that point you’ll know if it feels right.


I agree with @Barney on the neck radius. It’s basically how flat or curved the neck is, it’s a little counter intuitive. If the fretboard were to form a circle, the radius pertains to that. The common radius’s on the market are all pretty comfortable. Not something to get hung up on.

I also agree that the back of the neck and it’s feel is super important, much more than the radius by orders of magnitude. But I would caution on the illustration. That pertains to Fender necks.

Necks from other manufacturers will differ - a U neck from Fender will feel completely different than a U neck from ESP. This is one area where there is no consistency between different brands, and you can’t just go by spec.

Now within brands, there is often a “feel” that defines a brand Yamaha, Schecter, and ESP all have a unique feel to them. You need to try the brands and see how they feel before deciding.

Agree with all of the above. While you may develop a preference (I prefer flatter necks, for example, so 10" is way better than 7.5" for me) - as a beginner this won’t be nearly as big a factor as the overall shape of the neck - it’s profile, width, and so on.

The TRBX you are looking at has a neck shape between a thin C and a D profile. It’s 38mm at the nut - a thin, fast neck with a satin finish that is famously easy to play. It is, in fact, my favorite neck on any bass I have tried so far, out of all six basses and one guitar I have owned and many I have tried in stores; I liked it so much that when I eventually upgraded that bass I did so by buying a TRBX604, which has the same neck.

But will it be right for you? That’s something that only you can answer.

Generally - thin neck profiles with a 38mm nut width are considered easier to start out on. Fender calls these Jazz-style necks. But this is a big generalization and doesn’t apply to everyone. Neck feel is a personal taste.

Hey, @stuka1166 ! Good advice from @John_E there.

Too many people worry over minutiae way too early on. (I used to be like that as well). It’s good that you are doing your homework, but unfortunately there is no single simple answer as to what’s “easier” or “better” in the world of bass playing.

The larger the neck radius is, the “flatter” the fretboard will be, but there are so many other factors, that in and of itself, the neck radius is just another number.

Get out there and try a number of different basses and see which one(s) “feel” and sound the best to YOU. :slight_smile:

Good luck in your search,


Dont think about radius if you dont plan to do crazy bends.

Thinking back I was more concerned about what the bass sounded like, and I was very concerned with the P-Bass vs. Jazz bass. I ended up with a PJ, and eventually concluded that there really wasn’t much difference for the majority of applications.

If I were asked for advice, I’d say get what you like ( e.g. “Man I really like that bass, looks cool, and it looks cool on me. Bad ass… etc.” But, I would limit that what I would call “mainstream” basses. Any bass that sells in volume, like a Stingray, or a Yamaha, or a Ibanez, or Fender. The stuff that’s hanging on the wall at Guitar Center. I would expect any of these basses to fit just about anyone. Are they the same, certainly not, but what bass makes you happy to strap it on? What about a Gibson Thunderbird? Looks cool, but never saw one in person, so nah, I wouldn’t get that sight unseen. Stay with the popular basses. They’re popular for a reason.

In my case I found a 20 year old Squier PJ for $200 in good condition except for a broken signal jack. Someone put some Shehan styled DiMarzio rail pickups in it, and some strat pots. It’s an interesting bass in that while is says “Squire Precision Bass” on the head stock, the neck is a jazz neck. But, the bones of the bass were ok. I repaired the jack, put in some proper pups,and the way I went with the B2B course.

And, I learned on that bass for about 6 months. I decided I liked it, and that’s great because I already liked the look of the P-bass platform. Now I was ready for bass No. 2, the platform with the right colors, etc. I ended up building it from parts, and now i have my “dream bass,” a nice Seafoam Green Fender/Warmoth PJ with Seymour Duncan pup, and Hipshot hardware. I’m happy, so I practice and go!

My advice would be, what platform do you like! What platform appeals to you? If it’s a popular, you like it aesthetically, and it’s affordable. Go for it.

You might end up with a flat fretboard or a rounded one, or whatever, but it will be the bass you like!


I agree with @howard who agreed with everyone so I’m covered, lol.
Ease of play is a relative term. It’s like saying a soft strings, it’s relative. If you are an experienced player you’d developed this back and forth “love/not so much love”relationship with bass configurations. Let’s face it 6* and 20* on a fingerboard width of 2” would not feel so dramatic to a beginners plus you usually would not appreciate the plus(benefit) until you play some bass that doesn’t feature it(whatever it is) You would not know what’s missing. Collect enough data you’d developed a preference.

First few months of playing most player wouldn’t notice much of anything unless it’s the difference between a 34” scale and 30” scale. What I learned from playing is if you are new, nothing is easy the only thing that would make playing easier is practice and more practice, lol.


I really like the modern C and that is just a horrible picture of it lol the neck is symmetric.

A smaller fretboard radius is better for old style playing similar to upright bass, a larger radius flatter fretboard is better for modern finger style playing. YMMV.

I have several basses, I have no idea what the radii of their fretboards are :slight_smile: it’s probably the least significant factor to me.

As far as neck shape, I like a modern C but I really don’t notice the neck much except on my 5 string Sire that’s pretty wide. I find neck shape/radius makes a much bigger difference on guitar… the neck on my SG feels like holding a baseball bat :joy: but is very comfortable to play.

It’s just an example I pulled quickly from the web. He’s a more detailed one. However I was trying to keep it simple.

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And that’s just Fender’s necks :slight_smile:

Ibanez and Yamaha are often kind of a D or slim C on their modern basses.


Absolutely. Yes I agree with @sshoihet that the modern c neck drawing I posted is rubbish. I guess what I was trying to convey to @stuka1166 was that the shape of the neck in all it’s various incarnations is more important than the radius of the fret board


Yep for sure - nut width and shape make much more difference than radius.


ESPs are a thin U to boot. Like I said, necks are unique to brands

Until you get into 6 string. My ESP 6 feels very Ibby like

What are the 2 colors representative of in these drawings? Different woods?

Good question. I don’t know. Most necks are made out of one piece. Then if required they glue a separate piece of wood as the fretboard ie maple neck and mahogany fretboard.

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If it’s the same as others I’ve seen, the inner is the shape at the 1st fret and the outter is the shape at the 12th fret.