31 Guitars with Compound Radius Fretboard – Plus 3 Best Ones

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If you want to make playing just a little bit easier and more comfortable, a guitar with a compound radius fretboard might be what you are looking for(some people call it a compound radius neck, but in reality it’s the fretboard). For years, I was living under a rock. I didn’t even know what compound radius was. But at the start of 2021, everything changed. And I’m really glad that happened

My friend bought a Fender Ultra Telecaster that features a 10″ – 14″ compound fretboard radius, and it was a pleasure to play. A bit after that I bought this cheap Jackson to review and its 12”-16” compound radius took my breath away. And because of my deep love for compound radius, I was pumped to put together this article. It includes the cream of the crop guitars with compound radius fretboards from different price ranges and we’ll also look closely at the 3 best ones.

If you have any questions, just check the FAQ section or leave a comment.

Let’s get started!

photo reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Author: Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I also noticed that most guitar websites don’t do a really good job, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website. I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as Songsterr, Musicnotes, GuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar. I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog(I guess that went the right way…).


31 Guitars with Compound Radius Fretboard

If you are after a high-value guitar with a 12″-16″ compound radius fretboard and Floyd Rose, keep the EVH Wolfgang WG Standard on your radar. It’s got a pair of versatile Direct mount Wolfgang humbuckers and overall it offers a great bang for the buck.

Price Range Icon Meanings:

$= $199-299

$$= $300-499

$$$= $500-899

$$$$= $900-1499

$$$$$= $1500-

*Consider all links in this post to be affiliate links. If you purchase, at no additional cost to you, we may earn a small commission. It helps us to keep the lights on, thanks! 🙂

ModelPickupsNeck ShapeFretboard RadiusBody StylePrice RangeCheck Current Price (affiliate links)
Jackson JS22 Dinky – Best Budget Read The Full Review2 x Jackson High-Output HumbuckersSpeed12”-16”Modern Stratocaster$SweetwaterThomann
Jackson JS32T Rhoads 2 x Jackson High-Output HumbuckersSpeed12”-16”V$SweetwaterThomann
Jackson JS32 Dinky DKA – Cheapest With A Floyd Rose2 x Jackson High-Output HumbuckersSpeed12”-16”Modern Stratocaster$$SweetwaterThomann
Cort Meta Series MBM-1 Matthew Bellamy Signature2 x Manson design humbuckersSoft V12”-16”Single-cut – Offset$$$Guitar CenterThomann
EVH Wolfgang WG Standard – Great Value2 x Direct mount Wolfgang humbuckingWolfgang12”-16”Wolfgang$$$Guitar CenterThomann
Jackson X Series Dinky DK3XR HSS2 x Jackson Single-coil & Jackson High Output HumbuckerSpeed12”-16”Modern Stratocaster$$$SweetwaterThomann
Jackson Soloist SLX DXDuncan Designed HB-103B (bridge) & Duncan Designed HB-103N (neck) humbuckersSpeed12”-16”Modern Stratocaster$$$SweetwaterThomann
Cort G 300 ProSeymour Duncan SH2N (neck) and TB4 (bridge) humbuckersNot Available12”-16”Modern Stratocaster$$$Guitar CenterThomann
EVH 5150 Standard2 x Direct Mount EVH Wolfgang HumbuckersEVH Modified “C12”-16”Double cut
5150 Standard
$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 2 24 HT HH – Best Overall2 x Fishman Fluence Open Core PRF-COC HumbuckerSpeed12”-16”Modern Stratocaster$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Jackson Pro Series Rhoads RRT32 x Seymour Duncan SH-6 humbuckersSpeed12”-16”V$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Jackson Pro Series Soloist SL2A MAH HTSeymour Duncan Distortion SH-6N Humbucker & Seymour Duncan Distortion TB-6 HumbuckerSpeed12”-16”Modern Stratocaster$$$$SweetwaterThomann
FGN J-Standard IliadSeymour Duncan STR-1 & Seymour Duncan STL-1 single coilsNot Available9.84″ – 13.78″Telecaster$$$$Thomann
Charvel Pro Mod San Dimas HH1 x Custom Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro APH-1N Humbucker & 1 x Custom Seymour Duncan Full Shred SH-10B HumbuckerSpeed12”-16”Modern Stratocaster$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Fender Dave Murray Stratocaster – For Iron Maiden FansSeymour Duncan Hot Rails for Strat SHR-1N & Seymour Duncan JB Jr. SJBJ-1N & Seymour Duncan Hot Rails for Strat SHR-1BC9.5″-14″Stratocaster$$$$SweetwaterThomann
EVH Wolfgang Special2 x direct mount EVH Wolfgang HumbuckersWolfgang backshape12”-16”Wolfgang Special$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Schecter Sun Valley Super Shredder Exotic FRSchecter USA Pasadena Humbucker & Schecter USA Sunset Strip HumbuckerThin C12”-16”Modern Stratocaster$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Schecter C-1 SLS Elite – Really Smooth ShredderFishman Fluence Modern Alnico Humbucker & Fishman Fluence Modern Ceramic HumbuckerUltra Thin C12”-16”Modern Stratocaster$$$$SweetwaterThomann
EVH Striped Series Frankenstein RelicSeymour Duncan Custom Flat Strat SSL-6 Single-coil & Seymour Duncan Full Shred SH-10B HumbuckerEVH12”-16”Modern Stratocaster$$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD H3-1000 QM1 x Seymour Duncan Pegasus & 1 x Seymour Duncan Sentient humbuckersThin U11.81″-15.75″Modern Stratocaster$$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD Arrow-1000NTFishman Fluence Modern Alnico Humbucker & Fishman Fluence Modern Ceramic Humbucker
Extra Thin U
11.81″-15.75″V$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Schecter Solo-II Blackjack – A Rare Single-cut With A Compound Radius2 x Lundgren M6 humbuckersThin C12”-16”Single-cut$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Fender Tom Morello Stratocaster2 x Fender Vintage Noiseless Single-coilModern C9.5″-14″ Stratocaster$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Schecter Banshee Mach-62 x Lundgren M6 humbuckersUltra Thin KM12”-16”Modern Stratocaster$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Ibanez AZ2204N – Best Premium2 x Seymour Duncan Fortuna single coils & 1 x Seymour Duncan Fortuna humbuckerAZ Oval C9″-12″Modern Stratocaster$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Boss Eurus GS-12 x EURUS-CTM HumbuckersC12”-16”Modern Stratocaster – Offset$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Fender American Ultra Stratocaster 3 x Ultra noiseless vintage Strat single coilsModern D10″ – 14″Stratocaster$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Fender American Ultra Telecaster – First Guitar With A Compound Radius I Played2 x Ultra Noiseless Vintage Tele Single-coilModern D10″ – 14″Telecaster$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Friedman Vintage-T 2 x Classic P-90 Single-coilVintage Taper9.5″-12″Telecaster$$$$$Sweetwater
Ibanez Lari Basilio Signature2 x Seymour Duncan Lari Basilio Single-coil, Seymour Duncan Lari Basilio HumbuckerAZ Oval C9″-12″Telecaster – Offset$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Suhr Classic JM S90 RW2 x Suhr S90 single coils’60’s C Vintage Standard10″- 14″Jazzmaster$$$$$Thomann

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3 Best Guitars with Compound Radius Fretboard – My Favorites

Best Budget – Jackson JS22 Dinky

Jackson JS22 Dinky displayed for readers

What I like

  • Compound radius fretboard at a really affordable price
  • Great quality hardware
  • Comfortable and fast playing
  • Surprisingly versatile
  • Mean distorted tones
  • Great all-around quality

What I don’t like

  • Sometimes flaws in the finish
  • If you hate metal, this axe is not the best option for you

Who is it for?

If you are after a cheap guitar that has a compound radius, can handle metal, plus possesses a nice amount of versatility too, and is smooth playing, Jackson JS22 Dinky is a really good option. Also, JS22 Dinky is really upgradeable, hit it with a pair of Seymor Duncan’s and you got a premium-sounding guitar in your hands.

You can read my full review of this guitar here: Jackson JS22 Dinky Review.

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Best Overall – Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 2 24 HT HH 

What I like

  • GraphTech TUSQ XL nut increases sustain
  • Mean sounding & versatile Fishman Fluence Open Core PRF-COC Humbuckers
  • Fretboard with 12″-16″ compound radius feels really comfortable
  • Charvel Branded Die-cast Locking tuners hold the tune
  • Great all-around quality
  • Classy looks
  • 2-way mini toggle voicing switch allows tapping into single-coil like tones

What I don’t like

  • Single-coil like sounds are not very “Tele-like”

Who is it for?

If you are after a compound radius, rock-solid quality, versatile & mean sound, and awesome tuning stability, Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 2 24 HT HH is one of the best options. It also has a mini toggle voicing switch that allows to use of different sections of the pickups and churn out single-coil-like tones. For this price, this guitar doesn’t have any real cons.

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Best Premium – Ibanez AZ2204

What I like

  • 9 different pickup combinations with the Alter mini-switch
  • Seymour Duncan Fortuna pickups sound great and are versatile
  • Clear sound
  • AZ neck paired with 9″-12″ compound fretboard is a comfortable and fast playing
  • Bone nut, Gotoh bridge, and Gotoh locking tuners (great overall hardware)
  • Stays in tune like a beast
  • Could cost even more

What I don’t like

  • Expensive

Who is it for?

If you are after a compound radius, premium hardware, playability, and sound, check this Ibanez AZ2204. It’s Gotoh locking tuners ensure that it pretty much never goes out of tune, alter switch ensures versatility, and overall quality is high. It is expensive, but if you got the money for it, it’s likely that you won’t be disappointed.

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FAQ

What Is Compound Radius?

First, the fretboard radius determines how curved the fretboard is. Usually the fretboard has the same radius all over the place, for example, 9.5″.

image explains what Guitar fretboard radius means
With a compound fretboard radius, you can have a 9.5″ radius near the nut and a 14″ radius near the body.

With a compound radius, the fretboard might have a 9.5″ radius near the nut, but the radius increases down the fretboard. For example, the radius can be 14″ near the body joint.

Is Compound Radius Fretboard Better?

It depends on your preference. If you like to idea of the fretboard having more curve near the nut and less near the body, then of course it’s better for you.

Personally, it’s not a must for a guitar, but to me, a compound radius fretboard is better. Here are the pros and cons of a compound radius neck:

Pros

  • Allows you to riff and play chords near the nut with more curve and shred & solo with a flatter fretboard near the body
  • Most players agree that compound radius increases playability
  • Pretty easy to find a guitar with a compound radius nowadays

Cons

  • You still have to do some searching to find one (great that you have this article)
  • A guitar with a compound radius might be a bit more expensive than a one without

I recommend you try out a guitar with a compound radius to find out if it’s worth it for you. To me it is. Especially shaping chords is easier with a fretboard having more curve. At the same time, fast playing down the fretboard is smoother with less curve.

Does Les Pauls Have A Compound Radius?

There have been some Gibson Les Paul models with a compound radius available in the past. But at the time of researching and writing this article, there were none available. I’ll update GND articles frequently and if I happen to find any, I’ll let you know, so stay tuned. And if you know any Les Pauls with a compound radius, let me know in the comments!

There are some single-cut guitars with a compound radius available though, such as Schecter Solo-II Blackjack. But single-cuts with a compound radius are rare.


Conclusion

My dream guitar would have a fretboard with a compound radius. It just makes riffing & playing chords so much easier closer to the nut, and shredding down the neck so much smoother. To me, it was a game-changer. I highly recommend at least trying out a guitar with a compound radius as soon as possible.

I hope this article helped you out, and maybe you even decided to get one of the guitars featured. If you have any questions, leave a comment, I and the GND team are here for you.

Now go, my son, and Rock!

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