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Is this fretboard ok ?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Papersen, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    We’ve just played this bass with a friend yesterday. It’s a quality hand made instrument (not a mass produced one) and realized that fretboard is not straight and widens from about 10th fret to the end.

    Could this be made on purpose or is a construction flaw?

    Attached Files:

    modulusan likes this.
  2. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    What does the other side of the neck look like? Personally, I wouldn’t worry about it if it plays well. I would assume it was intentional if the neck fits the body properly.
  3. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    Looks similar on the other side

    Attached Files:

  4. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    Is it only noticeable when you look down the neck?
    How about when it's on a stand?
    Is it curved equally on both sides?
  5. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    IMO: you have a winner!
  6. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    You can only see it when placing the bass horizontally. Not distinguished when it’s on a stand. Both sides shaped
  7. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    Most bass necks widen as they go from the nut to the end.
    But most are straight.
    I wouldn't worry about something you can't see from the front.
  8. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Hah. It's not an intentional design feature....but you'll often see that on custom or hand made instruments. The cause is a mismatch of the neck pocket and the nut width of the neck.

    If you look at any neck pocket, the side walls aren't parallel. They taper in towards each other slightly, going outward to the neck. Theoretically, if you draw lines from those side walls, they should extend out and meet the sides of the nut out at the headstock. And then the sides of the neck will be straight lines from the heel to the nut. That's how it's supposed to fit. And, theoretically, if you make necks of different widths at the nut (2" vs 1 7/8" vs 1 3/4"), the neck pockets should be cut slightly different for each one, because the angle of the side walls will be slightly different. Not much, but just a little bit.

    But out in the real world of custom Luthiery, when an order comes in for a bass with the neck to be trimmed to a narrower nut width than normal, you use the neck pocket routing template you have. Then when you trim the width of the neck to fit the neck pocket, and to the desired nut width, it's not a straight line. So, you have to do something. You can trim the edges to neat purposeful-looking kinks, right at the end of the pocket. Or, like this Luthier did, you can blend it into a gentle curve. And hope nobody notices.

    Another one of those pesky little engineering details.....
    digmeout and nouroog like this.
  9. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    If you don't feel any problems while playing on that part of the neck it is no problem at all. And if you have to contort to even see it than I wouldn't be concerned.
  10. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    Thanks everybody for your helpful input. I’m not obsessive about this kinda details and the bass plays and sounds superb.

    However I believe it’s something more easily found in a 1k bass but not in a 6k instrument. That’s why I was worried.
  11. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Constant state of flux
    Not true, if you read what @Bruce Johnson just wrote, you will be understand why your statement is completely incorrect.
  12. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    Thanks for your input. I agree with Brad’s post.

    I won’t tell which brand/luthier built it but he makes many basses like this each year with exact same specs, so it can be considered as a “line” instead of a single custom instrument. That’s why I asked.

    I’ve tested a second one and didn’t have this issue. Again, nothing wrong with the bass since it looks, plays and sounds fantastic but I’m intrigued to find out if it’s accidental or usual.
    modulusan likes this.
  13. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    I meant Bruce not Brad, sorry :)

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