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Fingerboard shape

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by peteroberts, Dec 26, 2001.

  1. I just bought an upright and noticed that the 2 I played had different fingerboard shapes...the one that I did not buy has a circular shape, while the one I bought has a noticeable 'hump' at the A string. Why the different shapes? Are they supposed to be approached differently, or are they for different applications?
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    It's not uncommon for a lot of DB fingerboards to display an almost flat region under the E string and a more pronounced radius under the others. Since the amplitude of the E string's vibration is so large, a more gradual curvature would cause the E to rattle against the fingeroard.

    I don't know which is more common; sorry.
  3. I think you are talking about a bevel. They are pretty common. Correct me if I'm wrong guys but I understand that a bevel is kind of an old school carve to compensate for large (gut) E string travel. (vibration) Today’s strings have much smaller diameters therefore we don't need this extra space. Having said that it is "old school", I recently obtained a new bass with a slight bevel. It's all a matter of taste. I don't care for a bevel and plan to carve it out as I have done on other basses.
  4. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    I have both. I don't even notice. Basically, I think the difference is immaterial.
  5. they don't feel different? I thought the weird slope at the E string was strange at first, but I guess it just takes some getting used to? I remember the flatter radius feeling more natural at first.
  6. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    With my current bass I had the problem that the E string would rattle at any height, mostly due to the way that I pull the string. Rather than change my technique Shank came up with a hybrid fingerboard approach (now called the 'Ray Board') that starts with a well-rounded bevel and endins up being fully curved by the time you get to the other end of the fingerboard.

    I had the understanding that the beveled fingerboard found on basses and some cellos was to aid with the 'rolliness' of gut strings. With a curved fingerboard like a violin you end up pushing the string down at an angle to the fingerbaord, and the gut string would try to roll away from you. The bevel gave you ergonomic access to a 90 degree depression of the E string.

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