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Fretboard height above body

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Linas, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. Linas


    Jan 6, 2005
    Okay, i started building a bass probably 2 years ago. Surprisingly its not even close to done. But now i am determined, and setting a date for completion. The plans originally called for the neck having a step up from the body, but i botched that and had to plane the top of the neck flat. My fretboard is 3/8" high, and i was wondering if maybe i should glue a thin veneer of 1/8" or so to the neck to make up for the thickness i lost. I really dont want to have to recess the bridge if i cant get the action right. So here is my exaggerated pic of what im working with. So should i get some extra height, or will 3/8" off the body be okay?


    And here is where i left off, nothing glued yet (other than the 3 piece neck and body wings) just a mock up.
  2. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    I would just measure the minimum height of your bridge, factor in string height off the fretboard, and see if you maybe don't need to add any height. Most fingerboards are only 1/4" thick or sometimes just a hair less, and 3/8" is plenty tall, especially if you are going to add frets. If the bridge gives you minimum 1/2" string clearance, then I'd think that having the fretboard 3/8" off the body should be fine.

    To be sure, lay everything out - neck, bridge, fingerboard, and nut. Place a straight-edge from your nut to your bridge, and take a look at your string clearance. You'll probably want ~3/32" clearance on the low string, and ~1/16", give or take (depends on your personal preference, of course).
  3. yeah, I always shoot for my fingerboard+frets to be the same height of the bridge saddles when they're fully down.

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