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Thread: 2001 Flatiron Festival F - Add a radiused fretboard?

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    Default 2001 Flatiron Festival F - Add a radiused fretboard?

    Hi y'all, So I had a Collings MT for years. Great mando, great neck. Easy to fly across the fretboard. Was like a little sports car.

    After a couple of years, I was ready for a change in tone and a good deal popped up for a 2001 Flatiron Festival F. (Sooo smitten by the classic F5G look too.)

    However, I think I was used to the radiused fretboard on the Collings. I don't feel I can fly across the Flatiron with the ease of the Collings. I had it set up when I got it this summer, but still feel like "something" is different in the playability.

    Wondering if it would make sense to add a radiused fretboard to the Flatiron or if anybody felt the same about their Flatiron Festivals or Gibson F5G's with flat fretboards.

    (I know... read previous threads on same subject, everybody's situation is different, you dont know till you try, etc. Just had to ask.)

    thanks folks...
    Last edited by lespaul_79; Nov-07-2018 at 6:31pm.

  2. #2
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2001 Flatiron Festival F - Add a radiused fretboard?

    I have to wonder if you wouldn't experience the same "easy to fly" feeling with new, larger frets. I recently had my F-9 refretted with "banjo-size" Gold Evo frets, and the "flying" is much easier with them than with the original frets. In my experience, unless the radius is really significant, it's hard to feel a difference with a radius on a neck as thin as a mandolin neck.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2001 Flatiron Festival F - Add a radiused fretboard?

    Quote Originally Posted by lespaul_79 View Post
    (I know, I know... read previous threads on same subject, everybody's situation is different, you dont know till you try, etc, etc. Just had to ask.)
    For me, the Collings MT became the standard of playability by which all other mandolins are measured. But I think that it's dangerous to reduce that comfort simply to the fingerboard. Yes, there is the compound radius, but there's also the neck profile, the fret leveling, the setup, and so forth, that combine to form that experience. Perhaps you'll adapt as other players do in time. Or maybe you'll gravitate back to a Collings F-style instead. Other alternatives could involve seeking out a builder who formerly built for Collings (like Pava and Passernig) or going the custom build route now that you know the tone and the feel that you're seeking.
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    Registered User Mike Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2001 Flatiron Festival F - Add a radiused fretboard?

    Yes. 2005 F5G flat board. Radiused with first re-fret.
    Mike Snyder

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    Kelley Mandolins Skip Kelley's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2001 Flatiron Festival F - Add a radiused fretboard?

    I have replaced quite a few fretboards with a new radiused board. I’d say go for it cause that sounds like what you want.

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    Default Re: 2001 Flatiron Festival F - Add a radiused fretboard?

    It has been said a thousand times and will be repeated a thousand more. The Flatiron Festival is one of the most underrated and undervalued mandolin out there.

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    Default Re: 2001 Flatiron Festival F - Add a radiused fretboard?

    If you’ve had it now for more than 3 months and still don’t feel comfortable on it, I’d have someone who knows what they’re doing (like Skip Kelly) put a radius on it and add larger EVO or stainless steel frets. My Kelly has those specs (with EVO) and it’s the easiest playing mandolin I’ve owned, including a Collings MT. (Thanks, Skip!)

    Like Don above, I think the fret size makes a bigger difference for me than either the neck profile or radius. My second most comfortable mandolin to play is a Silverangel Econo that has a more pronounced radius and a pretty thin speed necked V profile, but jumbo frets. My Eastman has a slight radius with a comfortable neck profile, but traditional tiny frets, and, while I adapt to it after a few minutes, it’s not on par with the other two (of course, it cost < $500).

    So, if the neck feel is holding you back and you’re very happy with the tone, make it like you want it! If the tone’s not quite what you thought it’d be, that’s a different story...
    Chuck

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    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2001 Flatiron Festival F - Add a radiused fretboard?

    Everyone is different. I switch between and flat board with skinny frets and a radiused one with fat frets. The biggest difference to me is the neck profile.

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    Default Re: 2001 Flatiron Festival F - Add a radiused fretboard?

    Before you spend the money on changing the frets and the board, I would recommend playing a few other mandolins to get an idea of what your hand prefers.

    I had a Gibson era Flatiron for nearly a year. I loved the tone but it was uncomfortable for me to play. I could play my Weber for hours with no trouble but the Flatiron was causing fatigue in 20 minutes. I thought it was the radius board and large frets that were making the Weber more enjoyable to play. I was prepared to spend the money to upgrade the board and frets on the Flatiron but luckily I was passing through Nashville with time to kill and I stopped at Carters and Gruhns.

    I played a bunch of mandolins while I was there and I realized that for me, radius vs. flat and big frets vs. small frets didn't make a lot of difference. What made all the difference in the world was neck profile! My hand prefers a deeper neck (front to back dimension). V vs D shape was somewhat of a factor but in the end it was depth that influenced play-ability and comfort for me. I soon sold the Flatiron and bought a Collings.

    Everyone is different and what works for some may not work for others. However, I do think that finding what you hand prefers will help you make the right decision.

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    Default Re: 2001 Flatiron Festival F - Add a radiused fretboard?

    I agree with trying out as many as you can before spending your $, and, yes, everyone has different opinions. I have a flat boarded Fkatiron 1N that I love. It’s neck is chunkier than any of my others, but it’s well set up and I adjust to it quickly. But, I think I’d love it even more with a radius and larger frets
    Chuck

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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2001 Flatiron Festival F - Add a radiused fretboard?

    Quote Originally Posted by CES View Post
    I have a flat boarded Fkatiron 1N that I love. It’s neck is chunkier than any of my others, but it’s well set up and I adjust to it quickly. But, I think I’d love it even more with a radius and larger frets
    Those are called Redline Travelers. Or Poe Scouts.
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    Default Re: 2001 Flatiron Festival F - Add a radiused fretboard?

    Quote Originally Posted by TN Picker View Post
    Before you spend the money on changing the frets and the board, I would recommend playing a few other mandolins to get an idea of what your hand prefers.

    I had a Gibson era Flatiron for nearly a year. I loved the tone but it was uncomfortable for me to play. I could play my Weber for hours with no trouble but the Flatiron was causing fatigue in 20 minutes. I thought it was the radius board and large frets that were making the Weber more enjoyable to play. I was prepared to spend the money to upgrade the board and frets on the Flatiron but luckily I was passing through Nashville with time to kill and I stopped at Carters and Gruhns.

    I played a bunch of mandolins while I was there and I realized that for me, radius vs. flat and big frets vs. small frets didn't make a lot of difference. What made all the difference in the world was neck profile! My hand prefers a deeper neck (front to back dimension). V vs D shape was somewhat of a factor but in the end it was depth that influenced play-ability and comfort for me. I soon sold the Flatiron and bought a Collings.

    Everyone is different and what works for some may not work for others. However, I do think that finding what you hand prefers will help you make the right decision.
    I would tend to agree. My Flatiron has a v shaped neck and a narrow nut which I prefer. The F9 I had was the same, and when I traded up to an F5G I found that the wider nut and D shaped neck nearly put me out of playing altogether. Play a few others before you spend the money.

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    Mando-afflicted lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: 2001 Flatiron Festival F - Add a radiused fretboard?

    I own a Flatiron Festival 2001 also, and I find the fretboard comfortable. I did lower the bridge a bit for my own taste after I received it and mine had a new frets so I assume it was professionally set up. I have a Collings MT, wide nut and they are a different animal, as you have stated. One plays great because of the traditional feel and the other (MT) is just so gentle on my hands.
    2017 Collings MT Gloss Top Wide Nut McClung Armrest
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