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Fingerboard Camber

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Andy Allen, Oct 12, 2005.


  1. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    What effect does fingerboard camber have on the sound and playability of a double bass?

    I will be taking my bass to my Luthier soon to have a full set-up, and would like to have her (Lisa Gass @ LA Bassworks) put a little more camber on the fingerboard so that it matches the bridge radius more closely. Is this a good idea?

    I am happy with a medium string height on the E and G, but because of the flatter fingerboard radius the A & D are much higher, and I would like to even the string heights up. The bridge radius (set-up by Lisa previously) seems to be ideal for both pizz and arco, so I’d like to keep that as-is.

    I will of course be discussing this with Lisa, but would like to go into the conversation a little more informed than I am now.
     
  2. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Andy-
    Camber usually refers to the longitudinal relief[curve] of the board. This is really a separate issue than the radius. The board radius is generally matched by the bridge radius. The correct match will facilitate proper technique but have no effect on sound. Variance in fingerboard camber will relate to tone though. Generally speaking the stronger the camber the more you can dig in and produce a bigger sound. Of course it becomes harder to play.
     
  3. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks Jeff,

    And thanks for the terminology correction. Now I know it's not an unusual thing to ask for the radius to be altered.

    I'll leave the main decisions to Lisa - she has a very good reputation, and has been very accomodating on the quick set-up stuff. Now that I have settled on strings and string-height, and the bass has settled in for over a year it's time for the full set-up and tuning to be done. That can be my Xmas present to the bass :) .
     
  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Hey, JEFEJEFF! How's the situation out there? They been showing Freeport under some swell onna TV.

    Lemme know if I need to paddle out n'rescue ya.
     
  5. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Naw, I'm good. Fortunately my turtles, frogs, and fish don't seem to mind. I'm thinkin' of expanding into ducks.