Fingerboard height above belly

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by CaptB, Jun 30, 2003.

  1. CaptB


    Apr 10, 2003
    My father (who usually makes violas) is restoring for me a Czech Swartz double bass in fairly poor condition). He has asked me to find out the height from the belly to the centre of the top of the bridge-end of the fingerboard i.e. including the thickness of the fingerboard immediately above the belly.

    It's a 3/4 instrument, so if you could measure yours I'd greatly appreciate it.

  2. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Decide on the amount of neck overstand, and the height of the bridge you want. The fingerboard height above the table depends on those factors. Some makers work with that as a constant, but it's dependent on the top arching and the factors above. Average overstand and bridge height for a 3/4 bass: 32-36mm and 160-170mm. Bridge height is measured from the center with strings on.
  3. Mine is exactly four inches, from the belly to the top of the fingerboard, between the "A" and "D" strings.
  4. Captain America:
    each bass is different, as Ahhnold says it all depends on the neck overstand, the arching of the top, the neck angle ( surprisingly it varies, too ) and thickness of the FB. So, measuring one´s 3/4 instrument will be of no help in this, even though there is an average. That´s why you only get answers with an average. But I guess the neck has been taken off, and something has to be done to joint.
    Otherwise, if the neck joint is all right, why not starting from what the height is right now. Making the bridge plank to meet the desired string height is easier than refitting the neck.
    Also keep in mind that the bass has to be playable with the final FB height. Some very old basses have had their neck overstand raised, because of the much lower height of the modern strings compared to 17´th century guts. This was to make them bowable with lower string height, so that the bow will not hit the c-bouts when bowing E and G string.

    Hope this helps.