Why does cheaper model = thicker neck & smaller fretboard radius? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-08-2020, 08:01 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Devon, England
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Question Why does cheaper model = thicker neck & smaller fretboard radius?

Prestige, J-Custom and JEM all come with a Wizard / Super Wizard neck profile and a 430mm fretboard radius. Cheaper lines come with a slightly thicker Wizard variant and a 400mm radius (Premium currently with standard Wizard profile but 400mm radius).

Most Ibanez RG/RGA/RGD/S players seem to have a strong preference for a 430mm and a thin Wizard / Super Wizard neck, so clearly models with these specs are more desirable.

My question:

Why does Ibanez use thicker necks and 400mm fretboard radius on cheaper models? Does it somehow reduce the cost of manufacturing and setting up a guitar, or is it just a way of Ibanez encouraging a larger customer base to pay out for the more expensive models?
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-08-2020, 10:37 AM
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Re: Why does cheaper model = thicker neck & smaller fretboard radius?

I think (but am by no means sure) that the thinner necks would need better wood, such as straighter grain and more consistent drying, to make sure that they stay stable, that extra couple of mm can make all the difference in terms of strength and stability. Don’t forget that 2mm is 10% of the overall thickness so to speak!

Interestingly though a lot of the signature models actually have thicker necks at the end of the day...

Plus, yeah, marketing
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-08-2020, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2012
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Re: Why does cheaper model = thicker neck & smaller fretboard radius?

I would guess manufacturing a thinner neck probably needs a greater degree of accuracy too. Shaving off an extra 0.25mm from a Super Wizard neck might cause stability issues, while erring on the side of caution and leaving a proportion of them too thick would upset customers. 0.25mm would proportionately make less difference on a thicker neck and buyers of the cheaper lines would be less fussy / aware of slight variance.

I can't think of any logistical justification for a 400mm radius - beyond marketing and enhancing the desirability of a guitars that have 430mm. Unless perhaps a flatter radius requires more precise fret levelling to avoid buzz / bends bottoming out?

That's an interesting observation about signature models. Based on specs (I haven't experienced the feel), the Prestige / high-end signature models seem to be. JEM, PIA, PGM and JPM neck profiles are Wizard / Wizard II thickness - apart from the JEM EVO line that was between Wizard and Super Wizard thickness - but all have a 430mm radius. This suggests that Super Wizard may be more of a marketing gimmick to people who think thinner automatically means better (rather than being superior to the standard Wizard profile) and that a Wizard II / Wizard III profile may be most comfortable for some experienced players.
JS, Iceman and Fireman all appear to be more of a traditional 'baseball bat' profile - a long way off the Wizard profile.
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400mm versus 430mm , neck profile , radius

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