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Fingerboard Curvature

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by dragonetti11, Jun 23, 2004.


  1. dragonetti11

    dragonetti11

    Jun 20, 2002
    My fingerboard is just a hair flat looking. The string heights are a little higher for the D and A strings. It also has a bevel. I am wondering what it costs to get a new fingerboard put in (parts and labor). Or do you think that it is not that big of a deal? I have had it planed but there are times when it buzzes a little. There also seems to be some areas where there are tiny little holes and discoloration, so I dont know if planing it some more could worsen that, the holes that is, I dont mind the color. Also my endpin is bent slightly forward, I have heard conflicting oppinions on whether this is something to fix or not. I suspect it could be delt with with some cork lining wrapped around it.
    Thanks
     
  2. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Cork won't work because it is too compressable. Sometimes a wood shim can be fitted which will straighten things out. Otherwise you might need a re-bushing of the tailpiece taper. As far as your fingerboard, I think you need professional help determining if it is usable for the type of set-up you want. Generally, removing the bevel is rarely succesful. Could you tell us how thick the board is at the edges, both at the nut and end of the neck?
     
  3. Bob Ross is restoring a Morelli (this is the second one we've done this year) I found and the FB was not bad and it did have the bevel....Bob said let me try to take the bevel out and see if we can use this board. Being the wizard he is with those Japanese scrapers, he took out the bevel and dressed it and it's perfect! I couldn't make the thing buzz anywhere...but I still may ask him to put a new one on, because the stiffness of a new board on an older bass is just wonderful from the playing/action angle. To me it's worth the Money. We can always save this board for another less worthy instrument.
     
  4. While it is definately possible for a talented luthier to convert a beveled fingerboard to a round (radius) board, it should be kept in mind that, unlike what most folks think, the beveled board is NOT a round board with the bevel simply cut off one end. In fact, the geometry of the beveled board is quite complicated when compared to a round board. On a round board, the radius center is located on a line perpendicular to the center of the board. On a beveled board, the radius of the round part is somewhat off center so that the highest part can occur in the area where the A string passes.
     
  5. So that implies a bridge that is not symetrical? The reason for asking Bob is that I have a bevelled board and the bridge, which was fitted for me by someone who was reccomended (hell the bass sounds good for what it is) but with my symetrically cut bridge - nice for moving accross the board but the A is lower than the D slightly and indeed the G is very high if not a touch higher then the A. Is there an explanation here. I saw your earlier posts showing your blanks for setting the curve of the bridge top - one for piz and one for arco but do you have seperate ones for boards with a bevel?

    You can see where I'm coming from - I'm wondering if the bridge has been cut as if for a curved board when it shouldn't.

    Many thanks :hyper:
     
  6. The shape of the (top of the) bridge has very little to do with the type of fingerboard. The object is to get the strings a certain height off of the fingerboard and provide sufficient angle for the bow when playing arco. If you were to plot the required heights projected on to the bridge, it might even be possible for the shape to be like a roof on a house (straight and pointed). Those patterns you mentioned are simple starting points - not the end all.
     
  7. Thanks Bob - I move around the bass OK but I always wondered - people go on about string hieghts so much but I did insist (although primarily a piz player) that the bass be set up for arco - and so it is.
     
  8. dragonetti11

    dragonetti11

    Jun 20, 2002
    At the edges all the way down the FB it is 1/2". I don't think reshaping or taking out the bevel would be very good. There are small holes in one part of the board from when I first got the bass set up (by John Michael Smith in the Twin Cities). They're not any problem and were filled in and he did a good job but I think the ebony is just not very good. What is the going rate of putting a new FB on?? I play orchestral and solo music and the only problem I see is that the D and A strings are a bit higher than the G, or could there be other problems??
     
  9. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    A new fingerboard and nut, along with proper set-up and dressing (assuming the bridge might still be useable) will cost around $750 to $1500 depending on who does the work and the quality of ebony used. You might first try regraduating and dressing yours for $150-300. Even if the ebony is not great, it might make sense to try it. However, you'll need to add some arch and that will make the edges thin.
     
  10. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I read yesterday in the latest "Double Bassist" mag about a "new" compound curved fingerboard that was used on a recently made Grancino copy. Apparently there will be more information on this fingerboard in the next issue. It's apparently more flat towards the nut which makes it easier to play. I'm not in front of one of my basses now but I thought all fingerboards were setup that way.
     
  11. dragonetti11

    dragonetti11

    Jun 20, 2002
    So the only problem that this could cause is the height of the D and A strings to be different? It seems to me not to be that big of a problem. Who else here has a different string height between 2 different strings? Or who has had this problem and fixed it, what were your results from doing so? How much extra does it cost to get a new bridge with it?
     
  12. Paul Warburton wrote "Being the wizard he is with those Japanese scrapers, he took out the bevel and dressed it and it's perfect!"

    What do these scrapers look like Paul? Are you talking about the file that looks like a cheese grater? I believe they are called "micro planes"?

    I never learned so much as when I had to redress a fingerboard for you Paul. I would get it to where I thought it was pretty good and you would find the buzz!! You are a real buzz finder, a real stickler. :bassist:
     
  13. Dragonetti, you said "At the edges all the way down the FB it is 1/2". And you want a little more curvature on your fingerboard so your string height is the same on the A, D, and G string. !/2 inch is 12.5 mm which is a little thick for the board edge thickness, I think 10 mm is normal ( right Arnold and Bob?) so you have a couple mm to work with. First of all, just because your string height is variable does not mean the fingerboard curvature is too flat. It could be that the bridge is shaped wrong. But if the board is too flat, you could get it re-shaped so there is a little more curve. That will then change your string height on the G.

    The other option is to leave the board and re-shape the top of your bridge so all strings are the same height.
     
  14. Hey Ken...Those scrapers are just pieces of various lengths of metal anywhere from close to 12"x4' down to ...you name it! He sharpens them with a wetstone. He puts burrs on different part of the scraoer depending if he needs to get into little crevaces or tight spots like up against the liners...whatever. Having this down to a science his "chops" if you will, it really can cut some serious costs because it's so damn fast!
     
  15. Oh, okay Paul... I call them cabinet scrapers.
     
  16. Wow - 12 inches by 4 feet - that is a serious scraper!!!! ;)
    Sorry Paul - I just couldn't resist.
     
  17. Leave me alone Branstetter...go take some pain pills! :eyebrow:
     
  18. Adrian, can you expound on this a little?
     
  19. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    That is interesting about the compound curve. It looks like it would be a good idea.

    I always take my basses to Heinl's Music in Toronto to have work done to the fingerboard. They have a template of NHOP's fingerboard curve. They worked on my Juzek before I purchased it, and I can practically lay the strings right on the board without any buzz.