Fretless fingerboard issue...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by esa372, Dec 14, 2014.

  1. esa372


    Aug 7, 2010
    I have a four-string fretless Jazz bass, and I have discovered something odd with the fingerboard.

    Under the E-, A-, and D-strings, the relief is ~.25 - .30 mm at the 8th fret, but the relief under the G-string is practically zero... noticeably less (visually and tactilely) than the other three strings.

    As a result, I'm am getting much more (and better) "mwah" from the G-string that I get from the other three. If I tighten the truss rod (even an eighth of a turn) to lessen the relief, the E, A, and D, create more "mwah", but the G-string chokes on the fingerboard.

    So, wonderful TB community, what steps should I take to get this fingerboard straightened out? My thought is that I should remove the neck, set the truss rod so that the board is perfectly flat under the E-, A-, and D-strings, and sand down the G-string side to be level and even with the rest.

    Is this the right way to go, or does TB know of another way to address this?


  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Make sure the problem isn't that the neck is twisting first. If it's really that the board is uneven then your plan is good.
  3. esa372


    Aug 7, 2010
    Thanks, lz4005! How would I check for twisting?
  4. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013
    Look down your neck at the headstock and it will look like a "staircase" it will Move one side slightly to the other
  5. esa372


    Aug 7, 2010
    Thanks, Precision101. There is no visible twist in the neck, thankfully... :)

    It looks like sanding is the way to go. I'll wait a few days, though, in case there are some other suggestions from TB.

    Thanks, guys!
    Precision101 likes this.
  6. esa372


    Aug 7, 2010
    Just a follow-up...

    I did the sanding today; started with 150 grit, and worked up to 12,000 grit. When I put it all back together, the problem was solved - all the strings are equidistant from the fingerboard. Now I just have to file the nut a little to compensate for the (slightly) lower fingerboard.

    Thanks for the help and suggestions!
  7. Luthier's corner had a great answer to your question as well as an education in fingerboard shapes in general. Bruce Johnson is the guy to ask.
    esa372 likes this.