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Fingerboard contour?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by daddy-o496, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. daddy-o496


    Oct 9, 2009
    I am gathering materials to build my own carved DB. I have the maple back and sides, the neck block and a european spruce top. I am going to order a fingerboard and found that they come either beveled or round. Could you please tell me what a beveled fingerboard contour is and its application. When the bass is completed, it will be set up for 100% pizzicato in a bluegrass context. Which contour would you recommend? Thanx a million, daddy-o496(Vic).
  2. Cody Sisk

    Cody Sisk

    Jan 26, 2009
    Lilburn, GA
    Ronald Sachs Violins
    I prefer to not have a bevel. It means that the fingerboard is flat on the E-string side, creating a point between the E and A string. I think it feels more even on the left hand across the strings without the bevel. If you ever want your action really low, this bevel tends to get in the way and buzz when playing the E string. I actually planed the bevel out of the fingerboard on one of my basses..
  3. If you are thinking of building a 5iver (and you should!) then the bevelled would not work.

    Go on - throw on that other string!:p
  4. tonequixote

    tonequixote Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2004
    It is my understanding that the beveled E fingerboard was shaped to accomadate larger diameter gut strings. The bevel increases the amount of room for the string to travel.

    IME the bevel has no negative effect on my left hand fingering. A little different feel from a continous radius but nothing to be afraid of. YMMV.
  5. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    I've seen very few basses with beveled FBs, so I would say don't do it, most people are not familiar with them.
  6. Gearhead43


    Nov 25, 2007
    Actually they are really, really common. Many European and Asian basses are still made with the bevel. Lots of older instruments have them also.

    I have owned and played basses with and without the bevel, and it really makes no difference to me, playability-wise.
  7. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Are we talking about the bevel under the E string? If so, they are not common in my experience playing many basses in numerous shops around the country.
  8. davidprice


    Jan 1, 2005
    I'm with Gearhead on this one - I think I've seen more with the bevel than without - though to the OP, even if they are common or not, as you are building this rather than buying a bass with it already 'done', you can choose whatever you want. Ideally you could try both out on existing basses but I know that is often easier said than done. My current bass has the bevel and my previous bass didn't. I don't notice a big difference but I kind of like it with it. You say you'll be playing 100% pizz (as is true for me) and bluegrass - do you anticipate using gut strings or steel? If gut, it may make sense to have with the bevel... Personal taste really....
  9. My current bass is the first I have played that doesn't have the bevel.

    I had adjustments to make with my technique going from 3/4 up to 4/4 scale, and going from 4 to 5 strings, but as for the bevel - can't say i noticed.

    It kinda looks cool?

  10. Bevelled is a bit old-school... and believe it or not, I've even played a 5-er with a bevel for the B.

    Since my bass has a bevel (built in Germany in the late 50s, still the original fingerboard), basses without feel strange to me, but it really makes little difference in practice with modern setups.

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