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Author Topic: RS4 Neck Question  (Read 461 times)
Jasn
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« on: April 20, 2018, 04:05:20 AM »

Hey everyone,

I purchased a gold top RS4 (Lollar pup) from a member on this forum several years ago. It's a beautiful guitar but for much of the last 7-8 years it has stayed in the case. I've always found the neck difficult to play on, especially having spent 15 years on an SG.

Last month I decided it was time to put the RS4 to use and either I'd get the feel for the neck or my fingers would fall off trying. I've got the feel of it, but even after 2-3 hrs/night in the woodshed, I still find it's a difficult guitar to play. So I started doing some research and found the neck has a 16-20" radius. It seems like most guitars with this radius are built for shredding. While the radius might suggest shred, that seems to have too limited appeal for Larrivee to design a guitar around.

Does anyone know what the intention was to build a neck with such an uncommon radius, or the benefits of having a flat radius?
Do you guys find it tougher to play on? I should note my issue is playing big chords, think Every Breath You Take by the Police or jazzy, altered/extended chords.
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2018, 12:12:19 PM »

My RS-4 is a dream to play. As fine as the finest electric guitars I've ever encountered. This probably doesn't help. My hands aren't your hands.   
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JOYCEfromNS
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2018, 12:22:20 PM »

I echoe Ducktrappers comment. I have always assumed the RS4 neck was designed to closely resemble their acoustics as I have no hesitation switching back and forth unlike some other electrics that sometimes gets in the mix.
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Larrivee Electrics - My Dream then and Now!!!!!<br /><br />Forum IV     00-03MT       #4      (Treasured)
George
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2018, 01:48:04 PM »

Ditto the two comments directly above ...  My RS4's and RS2's are the most comfortable to play electric guitars I own...  and sound much better than many others...
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George
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« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2018, 02:43:18 PM »

The compound radius has been used by several guitar companies other than Larrivee (Ibanez, Carvin/Keisel and Warmoth necks come to mind immediately) to make lower action possible, without "fretting out" when bending on the higher frets. Some folks love it, some don't, it really depends on what you're used to or what you're able to get used to.

That's a very  nice guitar you've got there, for sure! 
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All guitars are left-handed:
1979 L-19  |  1992 OM-05  |  2010 RS-4 in Candy Blue  |  2013 C-10 Italian Spruce/Silver Oak  |  2016 L-05 Custom
headsup
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2018, 01:39:31 AM »

I have a couple RS4's, and I agree with the above comments.
I believe (and i hope some-one can help on this) Matt Larrivee -the guy in charge of the R&D behind the (current) RS4 had a very specific reason for that neck radius, and shape.
 If memory serves (doubtful) it was to re-visit an old Gibsom neck profile.

Again, I read this somewhere, perhaps in that brilliant interview with Matt by David Wren when the RS4 was introduced...
 anyone got that article handy?

It's a terrific read about every aspect Matthiew delved into around the design and build of the guitar.
 after reading it, I called Chuck Baker in Vancouver at Rufus Guitar shop and he said "ya I got one" I said, "it's mine now, ship it"
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Too many guitars to list here.
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George
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2018, 01:50:31 AM »

I have a couple RS4's, and I agree with the above comments.  Ditto

I believe (and i hope some-one can help on this) Matt Larrivee -the guy in charge of the R&D behind the (current) RS4 had a very specific reason for that neck radius, and shape.
 If memory serves (doubtful) it was to re-visit an old Gibsom neck profile.


I cannot find the article, but I truly believe it.  I was contacted recently about an RS-2 I had for sale and the prospective buyer was asking if the neck profile was more like a slim 60's or a Fender thin or a 50's Gibson profile.  I clearly told him it was not at all like the first two and that if I had to describe it, it would be the 50's Gibson profile.  I honestly believe that is what it feels like to me...
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George
mike in lytle
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2018, 02:15:38 AM »

I have a couple RS4's, and I agree with the above comments.
I believe (and i hope some-one can help on this) Matt Larrivee -the guy in charge of the R&D behind the (current) RS4 had a very specific reason for that neck radius, and shape.
If memory serves (doubtful) it was to re-visit an old Gibsom neck profile.

Hmmm. I have only one RS-4 (the Forum RS-4) and the neck is dang near exactly the same as my L- body acoustics, oldest of which is from 1995.
Somewhat confused about what R&D might have come up with the same thing for electrics being built in-house for acoustics at the time.
Or maybe I am misunderstanding what is being said here.
Mike
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Mikeymac
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2018, 05:10:10 AM »

Maybe I'm wrong about the compound radius on these (if Matt says they're modeled after an old Gibson neck, which would've been a 12" radius)...

...but I agree that they're shaped very similar to the acoustic necks, only they have a 1 11/16" nut...and TO ME they feel closer to the slimmer '60's Gibson neck than the fatter '50's Gibson neck...
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All guitars are left-handed:
1979 L-19  |  1992 OM-05  |  2010 RS-4 in Candy Blue  |  2013 C-10 Italian Spruce/Silver Oak  |  2016 L-05 Custom
Jasn
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« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2018, 09:53:38 AM »

Thanks for the all replies.

So it turns out the reason my RS4 is so tough to play on is due to it direly needing a setup. I never really noticed the action was high, and assumed scale length was the issue. Then I played my acoustic and immediately noticed it had much lower action. The 6th string @ the 12th fret was nearly 4mm (0.16") above the fret. I think once I get it back it'll be a lot easier to play on   


Again, I read this somewhere, perhaps in that brilliant interview with Matt by David Wren when the RS4 was introduced...
 anyone got that article handy?


I would love to see that article too if anyone has it?

I did a bit of research into guitar making. I'm not sure if this is what Larrivee had in mind but it seems like they tried to blend several 'worlds' to get the best guitar. 25.5 scale is great for tonal clarity as the harmonics are further apart.

A flater fretboard allows for lower action, which makes the guitar easier and faster to play. It also allows for larger bends without buzz or fretting out. The down side is it's not as comfortable to play when playing barre chords or altered chords.

A thicker, longer neck will improve sustain and tone.

In my mind it's kind of a cross between an early LP (thicker, set in neck) with the scale of a Strat and the finger board of a modern guitar like an Ibanez.
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