One of the biggest improvements on the 2010 Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster is the new compound radius neck. Both the American Deluxe Stratocaster and American Deluxe Ash Stratocaster feature the compound radius neck which comes in both maple fretboard or rosewood fretboard.
So what is a compound radius fretboard or fingerboard? The first thing you have to understand is radius. If you look at the neck of your guitar, you’ll see a curve or a hump in the middle of the fretboard. This is the radius and it is there to make playing chords easier on the guitar neck. Most Fender necks have a single radius of between 7.25″ and 12″ with the higher number meaning a flatter radius.
So why would you want a flatter radius? Having a flatter radius makes string bending much easier and allows for longer bends without the notes fretting out. This makes the guitar easier to solo on. A flatter radius also allows for a lower action on the strings. Having a a more rounded radius makes the guitar easier to play bar chords on and fits the natural curve of your finger.
A standard guitar neck will have one continuous radius from the nut to the end of the neck which works well enough but isn’t the best solution. The new Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster has the best solution when it comes to getting easy chording as well as easy soloing. The compound radius neck has multiple radius measurements along the length of the neck. The neck is more rounded at the nut and flattens out as you get to the higher frets.
The American Deluxe Stratocaster compound radius neck measures 9.5″ at the nut, 12″ at the 12th fret, and 14″ at the 15th fret. This makes for a very smooth playing neck and allows for very comfortable string bending without fading notes associated with fretting out.
The compound radius neck is more complicated to manufacture but the reward in ease of playing and sound quality during string bending is well worth it. The fact that Fender has incorporated 3 radius zones instead of the usual 2 is just an excellent decision as well. If you are looking to upgrade to an easy-playing compound radius neck, then the 2010 Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster is the guitar for you!