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Author Topic: Does Larrivee Make Anything With a Rounder Radius?  (Read 407 times)
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« on: May 01, 2021, 02:44:51 PM »

 

Howdy. New guy here, hoping to get some advice/guidance.

For my style of playing, my 1998 Larrivee C-03 is just too flat in the fretboard. After years in cover bands, 95% of my playing has been on Fender Stratocasters with noticeably rounded nuts, frets and saddle profiles - and other guitars with similar fretboards. Thus, my Larrivee's relative flatness (16" radius) feels foreign to me when I play it, and clean execution suffers with articulate fingering (like Classical Gas, Castles Made of Sand, Here Comes the Sun, etc.). Even my lousy $50 Silvertone camping guitar plays better for me because of the familiar feel of the fretboard radius. Round is just what I'm used to.

But I LOVE the beautiful tone of the Larrivee, and so does everyone who hears it.

Does Larrivee make anything like the C-03 (electronics and cutaway for reaching up the neck) with a rounder radius?  Thanks for ideas.

I found this chart of radii by brand but it's pretty general and may/may not be complete or current:
https://www.thaliacapos.com/pages/fretboard-radius-guide-by-guitar-make-model


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Mikeymac
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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2021, 02:54:31 PM »

That chart is "almost" right for Larrivee: in 2015/2016, they switched from that compound radius to a straight 16" radius (like Martin and some Gibsons). Your older guitar (like my '92 and older Larrivees) probably has a 20/21" radius - flatter like a classical, as you mentioned. So if you can find a newer Larrivee to try out, you might get along better with the neck/fretboard.

I have an old '79 Larrivee L-19 that needed the neck "straightened" which they were able to do with compression fretting. So while they were doing that, I had them reshape the fretboard to a 16" radius, and it made a huge difference in how that neck (a slightly beefier profile than newer Larrivees) felt and played for me; I really like it now.

If you really like the guitar and want to keep it, you could consider having a competent tech refret it and reshape the fretboard in the process; then you could even go with something like a 12" radius (like many Gibson acoustics) if you want. It would probably be a $300 or so expense.
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All guitars are left-handed:
 
1979 L-19
1988 L-04 (04 = 09 with Flamed Maple b&s)
1992 OM-05
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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2021, 12:14:39 AM »

Have you spent much time on the Larrivee? If not, I recommend on developing that technique into your repertoire. I played electric for most of my life and felt the same way when I switched to mostly acoustic about 7 years ago. I thought it was the guitar's fault that I felt slowed down but, seeing how classical players can really fly, I decided to devote some effort into expanding my technique. Now, a flatter fret board truly feels right to me and if I'm on a telecaster, it's more effortless than ever before.
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« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2021, 06:19:25 AM »

Yessir, I have. Bought it new in 1998, and realized even then that it felt different than the Martin, Gibson and Taylor I tried in the same price range. But the tone sold me. I was totally electric at the time and just figured I would adapt. Put in plenty of practice with it for 22-23 years. But, sadly, every other guitar I've played, electric or acoustic, in the ensuing 2+ decades has simply felt more comfy and delivered a more articulate response when playing trickier lead riffs.

Simply put, the flatness of the C-03 fretboard makes it the odd man out among literally dozens of guitars I've bought/sold/traded in and out of a rotating stable. It seems the ideal possible scenario for this wonderful sounding guitar would be if it were my only one and my left hand would just adapt to that, but that's not the case. Frustrating, sorta heartbreaking actually.

Hence my desire to find another sweet sounding Larrivee, but with a radius in the more comfortable 12-14 range (for me anyway). Wondering if there is such an animal.
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AZLiberty
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2021, 07:26:27 AM »


Hence my desire to find another sweet sounding Larrivee, but with a radius in the more comfortable 12-14 range (for me anyway). Wondering if there is such an animal.

Very few acoustics are that tight.  Some Gibsons, the newer US built Guilds. 

I find anything tighter than 15" hard to play.  My favorites are the older Larrivee compound radius and my Rainsong, which is flatter yet at 20".  Martins are 16", and the vast majority of acoustic fretboards simply follow the Martin pattern.
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« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2021, 10:10:32 PM »


Hmm, I musta missed this thread... So, I love my L09 also - it is a 2005, with the compound neck.  Although I've gotten used to it, and can play it well once I 'warm up' on it, it still doesn't seem as intuitive (if that's the word) as my 16" Martin neck or my 15" on my Alvarez.

So, here's a question:  If you change to a different radius neck, doesn't that adversely affect the guitar's value? Also, Mikey, is it that much more 'intuitive' or easier to play now? Also should you take it to a local Luther or shoot it bak to Larrivee?
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Mikeymac
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« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2021, 11:09:01 PM »


So, here's a question:  If you change to a different radius neck, doesn't that adversely affect the guitar's value? Also, Mikey, is it that much more 'intuitive' or easier to play now? Also should you take it to a local Luther or shoot it back to Larrivee?


I'd find a good local luthier to reshape the fretboard (which will require removing and replacing the frets).

If Larrivee were even willing to do it (probably not), the time involved would no doubt be much longer than a local shop that focuses on repair. Larrivee has their hands full right now building new guitars to fill back orders from Covid (like Martin and many other companies).

I just found that it really changed the feel of what was a very full 1979 Larrivee neck (w/o adjustable truss rod - I think these have a square, non-adjustable rod). It feels slightly thinner and overall more comfortable for things liked barring chords. I wouldn't mind having this neck shape on a few other guitars now.

I can't imagine it hurting the value on a Larrivee if the work is well done. Changing the specs on a Martin or Gibson might bother some buyers; Larrivee's don't have that same kind of following or "historic" set of specs that people look for.  For example, the three Larrivees listed in my signature each have a slightly different size and shape of neck - Larrivees have changed - a LOT - over the years, so there's no real "standard" that folks have a strong expectation of.
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All guitars are left-handed:
 
1979 L-19
1988 L-04 (04 = 09 with Flamed Maple b&s)
1992 OM-05
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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2021, 11:15:15 PM »

Off topic, but neck related: this thread offers some info about Larrivee's truss rod history from John, Jr. himself (4th or 5th post).

 
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All guitars are left-handed:
 
1979 L-19
1988 L-04 (04 = 09 with Flamed Maple b&s)
1992 OM-05
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« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2021, 01:07:37 AM »

Hi. I would either try to get used to it or send it to me for further investigation. I can play any guitar or other stringed instrument ... poorly. 
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Capefear
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« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2021, 11:00:40 AM »

....I just found that it really changed the feel of what was a very full 1979 Larrivee neck (w/o adjustable truss rod - I think these have a square, non-adjustable rod). It feels slightly thinner and overall more comfortable for things liked barring chords. I wouldn't mind having this neck shape on a few other guitars now.

I can't imagine it hurting the value on a Larrivee if the work is well done. Changing the specs on a Martin or Gibson might bother some buyers; Larrivee's don't have that same kind of following or "historic" set of specs that people look for.  For example, the three Larrivees listed in my signature each have a slightly different size and shape of neck - Larrivees have changed - a LOT - over the years, so there's no real "standard" that folks have a strong expectation of.

Yeah, I remember those baseball bat necks on some guitars way back....glad they've evolved.    Still, seems like a little risky.  I am surprised that your L19 and L04 have different necks, but it's good that I can do this mod and retain value (Of course, I have no plans to sell, so I guess I shouldn't worry). I'll have to ponder this.
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« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2021, 11:08:43 AM »

Hi. I would either try to get used to it or send it to me for further investigation. I can play any guitar or other stringed instrument ... poorly. 

Okay.  What's your address?
 
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« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2021, 03:58:34 PM »

Yeah, I remember those baseball bat necks on some guitars way back....glad they've evolved.    Still, seems like a little risky.  I am surprised that your L19 and L04 have different necks, but it's good that I can do this mod and retain value (Of course, I have no plans to sell, so I guess I shouldn't worry). I'll have to ponder this.
Not to offend anyone here, but you're not going to retain the value if you do a mod like that. I've kept my eye on the used market for years and have only seen people struggle when making significant changes to their Larrivees.

 Regarding thicker necks, not sure where the "evolved" idea comes from. There are many high end makers, like Collings, that use thicker necks than Larrivee ever did and they have no trouble selling guitars for a small fortune, partially because people like the feel of those necks.

 If anyone is struggling on a Larrivee neck and thinks it's the instrument, look up some Andres Segovia videos. He had stubby sausage fingers, but could absolutely fly on a flat radius, 2" baseball bat neck. There are advantages to a flatter board, but it takes changes in technique to find them.
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« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2021, 08:20:19 PM »

Not to offend anyone here, but you're not going to retain the value if you do a mod like that. I've kept my eye on the used market for years and have only seen people struggle when making significant changes to their Larrivees.

 Regarding thicker necks, not sure where the "evolved" idea comes from. There are many high end makers, like Collings, that use thicker necks than Larrivee ever did and they have no trouble selling guitars for a small fortune, partially because people like the feel of those necks.

 If anyone is struggling on a Larrivee neck and thinks it's the instrument, look up some Andres Segovia videos. He had stubby sausage fingers, but could absolutely fly on a flat radius, 2" baseball bat neck. There are advantages to a flatter board, but it takes changes in technique to find them.

Or Redd Volkaert. Stubbiest fingers I've seen and what a player!
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Mikeymac
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« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2021, 06:39:06 PM »

I went back and found this info from an old thread, which provides some data for Larrivee's neck changes over the years.

In the early days through perhaps the early 80's, Larrivee had pretty hefty necks compared to the next generation, which came in the mid-late '80's (remember, adjustable truss rods started in '85, and Larrivee was building electrics in the '80's to make up for the lack of acoustic sales until the "unplugged" concerts by Clapton and others made acoustics a big market again).

My '92 OM-05 also had a pretty thin neck (although not quite as thin as the '88 L's measurements below); then at some point necks "standardized" slightly larger, as my 2015 L's measurements below document.

Just thought it might help to look at the numbers of several samples. Both neck width and neck depth are provided; I suspect neck depth is what you're most interested in, though it's interesting to see that the width at the nut was sometimes noticeably less than 1 3/4".

Measurements from 1979, 1988 and 2015 Larrivee L's. There are some noticeable variations:

1979 L-19 (S/N: 19 0656) Sitka/EI Rosewood
Neck width:
At Nut: 1 47/64" (44.09 mm)
12th fret: 2 9/64" (54.20 mm)
Saddle: 2 11/64 (55.36 mm)

Neck depth:
1st fret: .842" (27/32")
7th fret: .958" (61/64")
10th fret: .1.03" (1 1/32")

1988 L-09 FM (S/N: 04 8493) Sitka/Flamed Maple
Neck width:
At Nut: 1 23/32" (43.47 mm)
12th fret: 2 7/64" (53.48 mm)
Saddle: 2 9/64" (54.44 mm)

Neck depth:
1st fret: .786" (25/32")
7th fret: .809" (13/16")
10th fret: .840" (27/32")

2015 L-05 (S/N: 128752) Sitka/Mahogany
Neck width:
At Nut: 1 3/4" (44.56 mm)
12th fret: 2 11/64" (55.19 mm)
Saddle: 2 1/4" (57.10 mm)

Neck Depth:
1st fret: .820" (13/16")
7th fret: .909" (29/32")
10th fret: .930" (15/16")

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All guitars are left-handed:
 
1979 L-19
1988 L-04 (04 = 09 with Flamed Maple b&s)
1992 OM-05
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« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2021, 10:19:33 PM »

I went back and found this info from an old thread, which provides some data for Larrivee's neck changes over the years.

In the early days through perhaps the early 80's, Larrivee had pretty hefty necks compared to the next generation, which came in the mid-late '80's (remember, adjustable truss rods started in '85, and Larrivee was building electrics in the '80's to make up for the lack of acoustic sales until the "unplugged" concerts by Clapton and others made acoustics a big market again).

My '92 OM-05 also had a pretty thin neck (although not quite as thin as the '88 L's measurements below); then at some point necks "standardized" slightly larger, as my 2015 L's measurements below document.

Just thought it might help to look at the numbers of several samples. Both neck width and neck depth are provided; I suspect neck depth is what you're most interested in, though it's interesting to see that the width at the nut was sometimes noticeably less than 1 3/4".

Measurements from 1979, 1988 and 2015 Larrivee L's. There are some noticeable variations:

1979 L-19 (S/N: 19 0656) Sitka/EI Rosewood
Neck width:
At Nut: 1 47/64" (44.09 mm)
12th fret: 2 9/64" (54.20 mm)
Saddle: 2 11/64 (55.36 mm)

Neck depth:
1st fret: .842" (27/32")
7th fret: .958" (61/64")
10th fret: .1.03" (1 1/32")

1988 L-09 FM (S/N: 04 8493) Sitka/Flamed Maple
Neck width:
At Nut: 1 23/32" (43.47 mm)
12th fret: 2 7/64" (53.48 mm)
Saddle: 2 9/64" (54.44 mm)

Neck depth:
1st fret: .786" (25/32")
7th fret: .809" (13/16")
10th fret: .840" (27/32")

2015 L-05 (S/N: 128752) Sitka/Mahogany
Neck width:
At Nut: 1 3/4" (44.56 mm)
12th fret: 2 11/64" (55.19 mm)
Saddle: 2 1/4" (57.10 mm)

Neck Depth:
1st fret: .820" (13/16")
7th fret: .909" (29/32")
10th fret: .930" (15/16")



Those of us who own Larrivees older than that will just have to be ... smug.   whistling
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Mikeymac
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« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2021, 04:51:37 AM »

Those of us who own Larrivees older than that will just have to be ... smug.   whistling

Well, right now, all my Larrivees are 1992 and older - that's almost 30 years old for the NEWEST ONE. 

(I do have the new Forum VI on order...)
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All guitars are left-handed:
 
1979 L-19
1988 L-04 (04 = 09 with Flamed Maple b&s)
1992 OM-05
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« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2021, 02:19:54 PM »

Well, right now, all my Larrivees are 1992 and older - that's almost 30 years old for the NEWEST ONE. 

(I do have the new Forum VI on order...)

Most days, I believe I am over GAS. Since I retired, I just don't have the disposable income that used to fuel it and, of course, I still own a dozen very nice guitars. Then I see that Baker-T and continue to dream.   
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