Can anyone expaine the purpose of Binding?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by LajoieT, Jun 28, 2005.

  1. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    I kinda like the look of binding in the necks and bodies of basses when I see it, but I've always wondered if there was a practical purpose for it? Is there some history to binding in the luthier trade? Is it just done for looks?

    Also, as far as necks go I've seen some where the frets showed through the binding and some where they don't. Is that just a stylistic thing or is one a shortcut over the other (probably more preferrable but time consuming or skill requiring) technique?
  2. catdriver


    Apr 19, 2005
    Park City UT
    In general it's a way to keep a laminated top skin from cracking. It will also stop crcks from getting bigger. This is why you'll often find bindings around basses with exotic top skins, around fingerboards, and around the sound holes on acoustic instruments. As for frets and bindings I bet the binding goes on firsst and the frets later.....
  3. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I think it's supposed to prevent wood from splitting at the grain ends that are exposed at the edges of a solid (nonlaminate) guitar top. If you have a thick piece of topwood or a solidbody instrument, it's purely ornamental.

    Of course, like a lot of aspects of lutherie, its inclusion and execution also demonstrate the skill of the builder. I always look careful at the quality of the binding on any guitar that has it.

    Guitars that have bound fingerboards and fret ends that overlap the binding require a lot of skill to execute correctly, since the fret tang needs to be cut precisely to leave the right amount of fret crown over the binding, and the fret must then be filed and polished without taking off the binding underneath the fret end.

    If the fret isn't overlapping the binding, the luthier chickened out.
  4. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Not to mention it looks cool

  5. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    Gibson would be the exception here - the frets on 'pauls I know are cut flush to the edge of fret boards. The binding on the necks when applied stand proud of the top surface of the fret board and the binding is then dressed to extend and smooth the ends of the wire into/on the top edge of the binding material. FYI - perfect way to spot a refret.

    For the most part binding is applied to any instrument that has a sharp corner from edge to top or back. The binding material is more forgiving that wood or lacquer, hides dings better if it is damaged and is more readily replaced or refinished than wood.
  6. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Binding is applied to the edges of acoustic soundboards in order to seal the edge grain, preventing or at least slowing down mosture gain/loss due to changes in humidity, which can otherwise result in too-rapid expansion and contraction, causing cracking
  7. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    D'oh! [​IMG]

    ....I didn't even think of acoustics. I gotta get out more.

  8. marty1966


    Sep 24, 2004
    Sounds similar to Rickenbackers.

    The neck binding on a Rickenbacker is applied after the frets are in place and the binding between the frets is scraped level with the fretboard.

    Hence the binding covers the fret edges....this looks nice but can be a headache if a refret is needed.....I've seen refretted Rics and the binding no longer covers the frets...a tell-tale sign of a refret on a Ric.
  9. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Binding on solidbody electric instruments is nothing more than bling bling. NTTAWWT. ;)