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finger board question???

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by the blue mule, Jan 21, 2006.


  1. I just purchased a 1960's Roth fiberglass 3/4 bass.
    as I look down the fingerboard i see that is is curved gradually upward as it leaves the neck, over the body...how much curve, if any, is considred okay?
    I am a primarily an electric bass player and this is all new to me............so any help would be appreciated.
    I am a guitar repairman, and I have used a "Luthier Mercantile neck heater" to remove excssive curve from guitars.............would this work on the bass fingerboard........
    thanx for the help.
    bobby joe
     
  2. sounds like your fingerboard has a dove tail. Is it rattling? What is the string height at the end of the board? What material is the fingerboard made of? Ebony? Rosewood? fiberglass?
     
  3. about a 1/4 of a inch at the very end (treble end) of fingerboard......about 10 inches down the finger board it is a little less than 3/8's ....the bow is obvious (as I say I am a guitar repairman so sighting necks is old hat to me)....as best i can tell it is either ebony or ebonized hard wood, no grain is visible on underside of fingerboard.
    Dovetail is a new term to me.............?? what is it exactly.
    it does have a sort of home-made adjustable bridge.......it has the height rollers, but it appears somebody modified a standard bridge to make it adjustabe.
    action is little high at nut and on low end because of this bow.
    thanx
    bobby joe
     
  4. Just a woodworker term for a peice of wood that is warped upwards at the ends.
     
  5. ah that dove tail...........
    when I read your first post I started looking and found a dovetail joint where neck joins the body.
     
  6. The fingerboard could indeed have a dovetail...............it looks like what is called relief on a guitar, (not sure if that term is used on Basses or not.) how much relief is acceptalbe on a bass.........I put a guitar fret straight edge on the bottom edge of fingerboard and it straight until the last inch or so and the it sort of rises to between 1/4 to 3/8.
    The bowed or relief area of fingerboard is slightly more than 1/8 of inch at neck/body joint
    thanx
     
  7. The relief on a bass is obviously going to be more than a guitar and 1/8 of an inch doesn't sound too bad. IMHO, as a non-luthier,
    you have three choices. 1. Play it like it is, and if it doesn't give you a problem, then it ain't broke- don't try to fix it or you could make it worse. 2. Try the heat press method,and see if it helps.
    3. get a new fingerboard put on, with a fiberglass bass, I don't know whether this would be worth it or not. There are some really good Bass Docs on this site, I hope they will put in their .02
     
  8. Thanx Reedo.
    The action is a little high on the low end. I am afraid that as a beginner upright player it might lead to tendonistis (sp?) or other problems.
     
  9. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I've never heard of a fingerboard being dovetailed... hmm...

    Anyway, the board could either be warping or have too much camber/scoop in it. Either way, getting this scoop out would require planing.. Heating and clamping isn't going to be that effective. How thick is this fingerboard? (Measure along the sides of the board... in mm if possible) Also, is this ebony or ebonized wood? Is the board slightly cool to the touch? (ebony) Can you scrape or sandpaper a bit of the board on the underside to remove black dye? (ebonized)
     
  10. I dont deal in mm's much but here goes, the fingerboard thickness is 12/32. Which seems to work out to about 1 mm to the best of my measuring.........I could be wrong about the mm's.
    It is dyed and by scarping under the fingerboard it appears a rich chocolate brown color......does not have a rosewood grain, but I know that can be deceiving. grain is very tight and very straight..........................sorry.
    I am a guitar repairman and is "scoop" what we refer to as relief.....??? If so, this thing has a lot of scoop. or Warp.........!!!
    thanx for you response..............
    I await more............
     
  11. Nick...
    that 12/32 is at the edge of the fingerboard on bass side.........down the middle of the fingeboard is much thicker.
     
  12. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    ebony board with either too much scoop or warped... is the fingerboard/neck glue joint straight? if you sight down the neck from the nut end, does it bow quite a bit? the neck might be warping as well... hard to tell by talking about it... can you post some pics?
     
  13. Joint looks good................
    Using a Stew Mac fret straight edge the board is straight the length of the neck..........bowing starts at neck joint fall off and get gradualy worse until the end of board..........probably curves upward between a 1/4 to 3/8 inch in that distance.Do you think this is ebony from my description...........? I have seen light ebony .................but on guitars any ebony is always thinner and smaller area..hahahaha.
     
  14. sorry no camera...............
     
  15. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    well, it sounds like you definitely need to get it to someone that can do good setup/repair on upright basses. without pictures there isn't a whole lot more I can suggest.
     
  16. thanx for all you help Nick.
    Since I paid next to nothing for this bass, and have quite a bit of tools and experience in guitar repair. I may try it myself.
    It seems from what you have said and what I see on this fingerboard. I may need to level this board, as I have done on numerous guitars during re-frets.
    I have a set of radius sanding blocks, good planes and straightedges............
    What is the recommended scoop/relief/camber in fingerboard?
    Any other tips you can give on leveling a bass...........
     
  17. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    pm sent