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Fingerboard relief ??

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by tskaggs, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. tskaggs

    tskaggs Guest

    Oct 13, 2005
    Ok and alright now, we all know that in order to get the best playability without excessive string buzz, the fingerboard should be concave in its shape between the nut and the bridge end of the fingerboard. (I know some folks don't subscribe to this. If you don't, read here: http://www.davidgage.com/z_david_neck.htm).

    That being said, when you apply a precision straight edge to the board; 1) How much gap is there at the maximum point of relief, .015", .025", .030"? 2) Where on the board is the maximum relief, dead in the middle, closer to the nut, or closer to the bridge end of the board?

    Just some things I'm considering since I just replaced the neck and fingerboard on my '52 Kay M-1. Seems I need a little relief in the board. It takes moderately high action to eliminate 100% of the string buzz.
  2. Gearhead43


    Nov 25, 2007
    Correctly planing a DB fingerboard is as much an art as a science (imho) and can take many years of study and practice to master. The fingerboard is a slight compound radius (I have read) when correctly scooped, meaning there is slightly more relief under the E string than the G string. The "deepest" area of scoop would be determined by the center of the vibrating length of the string. The amount of scoop should take your playing style into consideration also.

    To compound the issue it seems no two luthiers do it exactly the same way. I am no expert by any means, just a very interested student. I have done most of the setup and repair work to my own humble plywood bass, with good results, but I must admit fingerboard planing to be way out of my league and best left to the pros.

    Hopefully someone else can give you more info.
  3. uprightben


    Nov 3, 2006
    Boone, NC
    Do a search, there have been numerous discussions on this topic.
  4. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    We just discussed this in the thread entitled 'What's the Scoop?' :)
  5. tskaggs

    tskaggs Guest

    Oct 13, 2005
    Excellent & thanks. The string diameter as the measuring standard makes sense and is convenient. I understand the point where the greatest relief exists may be variable based on the style of music played.

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