fingerboard tapered to slightly overlap neck into thumb position

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by zootsaxes, Jun 11, 2021.


  1. zootsaxes

    zootsaxes Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2015
    Memphis, TN
    What is everyone's thoughts and opinions about fitting fingerboards to slightly taper and overlap the neck as it passes the overstand and enters into thumb position? My new favorite bass has been setup this way, but there was some sloppy work done and I can't decide if it was intentional or not.... the Knutson Messenger does it a little, but conversely that's a highly finished and refined setup (very intentional)... I'm wondering what ya'lls take on this little touch is. It seems like it makes no difference and serves no function and is just a small aesthetic thing that maybe some luthiers like, but I don't really know. Thoughts?
     
  2. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    This is hard for me to visualize without pics, but maybe it is a replacement fingerboard that is too wide for the neck, and so somebody shaved/planed/scraped the part of the fingerboard that would rest on the neck so the 'board's edges would be flush with the neck and not overhang. Once past the neck, for whatever reasons, the planing was not continued and so the part of the fingerboard that projects over the body overhangs a bit.
     
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  3. zootsaxes

    zootsaxes Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2015
    Memphis, TN
    image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg Yes of course pictures! Sorry, I couldn’t find my phone before. Here is the Knutson and my post-war German ply. So this is more than likely slop and not a convention I was unaware of? Thanks for your help.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
  4. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    Thanks for the pics. I am going to revise my guess, as I have seen something like this before. The fingerboard width taper and the neck taper do not match up exactly, which creates the overhang on the sides. I have got a similar situation with a bassoguitar whose original fingerboard was so used up it had to be removed and replaced. The replacement 'board, Romberg bevel and all, actually is too narrow at the nut end of the neck -- sort of the opposite of your situation.

    I simply measured and cut off enough of the top end of the 'board that I get a flush alignment all the way down.
    That fingerboard was going to have to be cut back some anyway. Its complete, original length had the fingerboard projection past the overstand covering the soundhole.
     
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  5. unbrokenchain

    unbrokenchain Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    Black Mountain, NC
    That's what it looks like to me, that would bug me too. You can remedy it yourself with a scraper, little sandpaper and some good oil.
     
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  6. zootsaxes

    zootsaxes Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2015
    Memphis, TN
    Thanks guys - that’s what I needed to know! Appreciate ya’ll!
     
  7. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    Gotta go. Like a bad fret job on EB
     
  8. neilG

    neilG

    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA
    The fingerboard should be planed flush to the neck. The blanks come oversized so you can accomplish this. What you have there is just as you say, sloppy work.
     
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  9. I once came across to a bass in a shop in Paris, which had a fingerboard made wider than the neck all the way from the nut down to the end. The seam of the fb and the neck was flush and neat all the way, but the edge of the fb sort of curved outwards from the seam. I have never seen a solution like that before and never after that either, and I regret I did not take any pics. The bass played nice, the neck itself was actually not very narrow, but the fb was about 1 whole cm wider than the neck anyway. It looked peculiar, but this strange feature actually did not feel strange and didn’t have any affect to actual playing.I asked the shop owner about the fb, but he could not tell much about it, nor the bass, which was for sale on commission. The bass was priced about 12 k Euros and was from late 19th century. I figured out that somewhere in the past the fb needed to be replaced and the owner, from a reason or another, wanted to have a bit wider fingerboard without replacing or shimming the neck. The string spacing felt normal and the same spacing would have been possible with a narrower board, too. The shop owner was helpful, though and suggested to provide the contacts of the owner, but since I was not actually intending to buy that bass, I just thanked him and said let’s just leave it a mystery as it was.
     
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  10. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    I've seen this on 5-string conversions. It's fine if intentional:)
     
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  11. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    As have I.
     
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  12. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    This is close to the standard spec on five-string Kay basses.
     
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  13. And me with my Clevinger EUB that has been converted from 4-string to 5-string.
     
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  14. dperrott

    dperrott

    Oct 3, 2005
    NYC
    Yes I've seen it on a 6 string and maybe a 5. The board didn't have the extra material removed, or tapered from the neck to the playing face. The best choice would be take it to a luthier unless you are skilled with tools. It would take forever to do with sandpaper
     
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    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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