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Fingerboard replacement and bridge shape

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by RadicalDad, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. RadicalDad


    Mar 6, 2006
    Portland, OR
    I just had the fingerboard replaced on my bass. The bridge had an "orchestral" shape to it, matching the old (but very thin) fingerboard. I liked that shape! The new fingerboard is much flatter, which means that the new bridge will have to be flatter too. (New bridge is waiting for me to decide what string height I want, so I'm currently playing the old bridge with the new fingerboard, and no, it doesn't work well).

    When the new fingerboard was put on, could it have been cut differently so that it had an orchestral shape? Do they come to the luthier pre-shaped, or do they come as just a block of ebony that has to be cut down and shaped? At this point, I'm not sure if further cutting the fingerboard to get a better shape is what I want to do. After all, I just paid $1,000 because the old fingerboard had gotten too thin over the years. I don't want the new one starting out life thinner than it needs to be.

    Is this a case of the luthier having JBS (Jazz Bridge/Board Syndrome), the opposite of OBS (Orchestral Bridge/Board Syndrome)? Did I fail to specify that I liked the old shape before work began? Or is there more shaping that can/should be done without unduly thinning the new board?
  2. glivanos

    glivanos Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2005
    Philadelphia Area
    I believe you need to tell your luthier whether you are an orchestral player (bow), jazz player (pizz) or all around player.

    That would affect how he would set up the curvature of the fingerboard and bridge as well as string height.
  3. Zachary Martin

    Zachary Martin Fine doublebass repairs

    It is standard for a qualified luthier to have templates for the fingerboard radius and corresponding bridge curve. If the FB radius is too flat the A and D strings will be higher off the board than they need to be or the "bow crossings" will be flat and difficult to bow.
    It seems as though the fingerboard needs to be re-shaped, lowering the E and G string paths. Two or Three millimeters will make a large difference in the feel of the Fingerboard without compromising the stability.
  4. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Man, they'll let anyone on here!

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