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I need to extend a short fingerboard

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by stefaniw80401, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. I recently bought a bass with a stylish cut-away at the end of the fingerboard. Sure it looks great, but the maker failed to measure/verify that the board was long enough in the first place before cutting it away.

    The high note on the G-string is a Bb on the bottom edge of the FB, but what's worse is that the anchor point for the right thumb for pizzicato is gone, and my jazz pizz fingers on the A&E strings do not have any fingerboard support beneath them. If you're a jazz player you know that you need to pluck at the bottom of a "standard" fingerboard for best attack and clarity.

    Since this is also my arco solo bass, some of my rep occasionally has notes up to high C and D. I can pinch these notes sideways, but they're prettier if I vib them on the fingerboard. But what's worse I think is that my perception of where the harmonics are beyond the FB is nebulous since there's so much space now beyond this short board.

    Can this otherwise beautiful fingerboard be saved? Should the existing curve be squared off and the new piece of ebony be splined in? What joinery advice can the luthier community who has experience in this area offer? Certainly, I'll take this to my luthier to implement, but just wanted to get learned up on this.

    Thanks, Mark
  2. unbrokenchain

    unbrokenchain Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    Black Mountain, NC
    If I recall correctly, @Paul Warburton had this done to his 5-string bass in an elegant way
  3. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    You likely will end up with a weak compromise and probably use up as much bench time as replacing the whole fingerboard....
  4. Uh-huh...that's what I'm afraid of. So then what can the luthier do/make with the old board?
  5. Use it for a fractional size bass or cello. But it might be too much work by hand and a pre-shaped industrial cut fingerboard might be cheaper.
    But the wood could also be used for nuts and saddles.
  6. So the general consensus is to replace the finger board?
    Chris204T likes this.
  7. I think that really depends on which luthiers are in your area... I've found some of them to be extremely practical folks who can figure out relatively inexpensive fixes for problems we encounter. At the very least, I'd talk to the luthiers near you and see what they have to say before you decide to get a new board.
  8. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Talk to Bob Ross, who probably worked on Paul's basses

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