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Concave Fretboard?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by John Davis, Mar 15, 2002.


  1. John Davis

    John Davis Guest

    Mar 27, 2001
    Houston, Texas
    I was just lounging around today, and got to thinking. Would a concave fretboard work? I know the nut and bridge would have to compensate for this, but would there be any structural problems with it? I'm not talking about a heavy concave(like a U) but a slight one.

    This was just kinda bugging me.
     
  2. why? are there some advantages that i'm not aware of?
     
  3. John Davis

    John Davis Guest

    Mar 27, 2001
    Houston, Texas
    Probably not.....it's just curiousity.
     
  4. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Convex radius' are used because the inner strings are "harder" to reach or fret with a flatter radius (to some, anyway). This would be even harder with a concave fretboard, because your fingers would be reaching WAY in to get the inner strings, and it would probably cause quite a few problems. Not to mention, with a concave radius, they're removing less wood to get to a desired thickness than with a flat radius. Concave have to remove MORE, and it would more expensive, both because the fretboard would have to be initially thicker, and it would take longer to sand, finish, AND to fret (and THAT would be hell, because fretwire is wound with tang on the inside so it'll bend for convex shapes easier. The worst would be the playability and subsequent hand problems, though.

    Interesting, but it really wouldn't every be practical.
     
  5. I can't imagine what the neck profile would be like since you'd have to still maintain enough material to bury the trussrod(s). And while yer at it...what in the world would the bridge have to look like??
     
  6. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Imagine playing a barre-type chord on such a fretboard...not playable for sure.
     
  7. A friend of mine has a Martin Backpacker guitar with a concave fretboard. Its not very comfortable at all.
     
  8. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Voodoo - Some acoustic guitars have concave/scalloped fretboards. The depth of the scallop increases as the diameter of the strings decreases.

    This kind of fretboard allows more room to press the strings down and minimizes having them bottom out against the fretboard.

    For bass, it's not an issue because typical string diameters don't bottom out against the board, (unless your fingers are on steroids)

    Scalloped boards are good for guitarists who do a lot of bends, fret with lots of pressure, use slinky strings, or have extremely low-profile fretwire.

    Some say that concave/scalloped fretboards don't allow the tonal characteristics of the fretboard wood to come through in the tone.
     
  9. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I'm not sure we're all talking about the same thing.
    John meant a fretboard with a "negative" radius, if I'm not mistaken, not a scalloped fretboard.

    But I think we agree that both things are not very practicable on a bass.
     
  10. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Scalloping is a negative radius that goes against the direction of the neck, like the frets, and repeats in between each one. A fretboard radius is a constant radius that goes in the direction of the neck.

    I think Steamboat meant the scalloped frets that rickbass was talking about. Scalloped frets are great on guitar (and useful in bass, like on the Yamaha BS attitude), whereas a negative (concave) radius would make both chording and fretting painful or impossible.

    Scalloping works, concave radii do not, I can't imagine.
     
  11. John Davis

    John Davis Guest

    Mar 27, 2001
    Houston, Texas
    I hate it when my random ideas turn out to be rather useless. :(
     
  12. neptoon

    neptoon

    Jul 25, 2000
    summerville, sc
    :confused:

    i'm sure that concave fretboards have been used in the construction of some classical guitars...well, pretty sure...
     
  13. pc

    pc

    Apr 4, 2000
    Montreal QC
    I've heard concave necks are easier to play. Does anyone had tried one of these?

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Dammit PC!! We just begin to understand what the original question was asking and you show up with a total 'nuther take on the semantics!

    I don't know what to think of your pic :confused:
     
  15. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    How would one play barre chords? :confused:
     
  16. pc

    pc

    Apr 4, 2000
    Montreal QC
    :D :D


    Neither me... take a look at the Basslab site... There's a lot of interesting suff there!
     
  17. kirbywrx

    kirbywrx formerly James Hetfield

    Jul 27, 2000
    Melbourne, Australia.
    What would be one of the advantages of a concave fretboard? :confused: I'd imagine it would hurt your thumb after a while..

    EDIT: I have found JT's competition
    [​IMG]


    :D
     
  18. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    I can't imagine a concave fretboard would hurt your thumb.
     
  19. old_skool

    old_skool

    Aug 17, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
  20. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Now I'm getting a hankerin' for a Basslabs bass...hope this passes....