Problems with my pre-slotted fretboard from Stewmac!!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by vonbajo, Mar 22, 2014.


  1. Hi!

    I've ordered a fretboard for 34" fender bass some weeks ago. Measuring the slots i found that the nutslot seemed closer to the first fretslot than it should be, compared it to some basses as well and it seemed more and more farout. So i mailed stewmac and they sent me a new one, recieved it yesterday and I compared it to the first one i got. The slots are at the exact same place. So now I wonder if my rulers arent correct or if I make a bigger problem than it is.. Dont they use machines for the slots? so it should be as exact as it can get... ye i dont now, it would be a disaster if i use this fretboard in my bassproject and when all is set and done I get intonationproblems.

    This is my first bass project so therefore the great anxiousness :(


    Do anyone have one of these fretboards?? Know that theyll work, or faced the same kinda problems??

    /Samuel
     
  2. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    It is highly likely that the fingerboards are fine.

    However, in the interest of fairness, what tools are you using to measure?
     
  3. Hi.

    Welcome to TalkBass vonbajo.

    No personal experience about StewMac fretboards, but if the nut is off even slightly, then the FB will be even more out of tune than a fretted instrument usually is.
    AFAIK they're slotting these with 24 blade slotting machines, so no error unless the person setting the machine makes one.
    The nut slot on a Fender type FB is probably cut afterwards (/beforehand) though.

    How much "off" are we talking about exactly?

    Got a pic with a ruler/verniers caliper on the FB?

    Regards
    Sam
     
  4. If I measure exactly 34 inch, from line to line, and drawing a line at 17 inches (this is where the 12 fret slot should be(?)), and then if I lining up the fretboard at a position where the line at the 17 inches matches the 12th fretslot, this is where the nutslot is positioned --->

    http://postimg.org/image/mtmun3f43/

    the first fretboards i got 2 weeks ago, have the slots at the exact same positions.. so it cant be just a mistake
     
  5. Hi!

    I've ordered a fretboard for 34" fender bass some weeks ago. Measuring the slots i found that the nutslot seemed closer to the first fretslot than it should be, compared it to some basses as well and it seemed more and more farout. So i mailed stewmac and they sent me a new one, recieved it yesterday and I compared it to the first one i got. The slots are at the exact same place. So now I wonder if my rulers arent correct or if I make a bigger problem than it is.. Dont they use machines for the slots? so it should be as exact as it can get... ye i dont now, it would be a disaster if i use this fretboard in my bassproject and when all is set and done I get intonationproblems.

    This is my first bass project so therefore the great anxiousness

    Do anyone have one of these fretboards?? Know that theyll work, or faced the same kinda problems??

    If I measure exactly 34 inch, from line to line, and drawing a line at 17 inches (this is where the 12 fret slot should be(?)), and then if I lining up the fretboard at a position where the line at the 17 inches matches the 12th fretslot, this is where the nutslot is positioned --->

    http://postimg.org/image/mtmun3f43/

    the first fretboards i got 2 weeks ago, have the slots at the exact same positions.. so it cant be just a mistake

    /Samuel
     
  6. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    From the look of the attachment, the line drawn is not centered in the kerf. Again, what kind of tools are you using to measure the distances? This is a game of thousandths. Precision tools are necessary.
     
  7. Mahataru

    Mahataru

    Apr 7, 2013
    If I am understanding you, the situation is that picture is correct. You want to measure your scale length from the lower edge of the nut slot, or the side of the nut slot closest to the first fret. The scale length is the length of the string that vibrates. The string slots in the nut should be slightly angled up towards the first fret so that the apex in the angle of the string is right where the line is in that picture.
    Does that make any sense?
    I'm having a hard time explaining this since I don't have a way to illustrate what I'm trying to say. Someone else care to help?
     
  8. I used a folding rule, and double checked it with a ruler made of some kinda metal
     
  9. JLS

    JLS

    Sep 12, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Well, that explains a lot...
     
  10. The fretboard I've ordered is for a 34 " scale bass, so if I just draw a centerline and two lines crossing with 34 inch between each other, and a line exactly in the middle (17 inches from the bridge line, and 17 inches from the nutline) and place the fretboard so that the 12th fretslot is matched with the center marking, then the marking in one end of the centerline should match up exactly where the nutslot ends (closest to the first fret), in the picture this line is not exactly at this position. Wouldnt this mess up the intonation?
     
  11. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Have you explained this to them and asked for their explanation as to why?
     
  12. Yes.. I mailed them after I recieved the first fretboard, and they send me a new one, with the slots at the same places as the first fretboard.. :/
     
  13. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Have you tried another ruler? Precision instruments are key to luthiery. :) Also, try measuring with zero lined up on the 12th fret, and then take a pic of where 17" sits in relation to the nut slot, that will help show how much it's out...
     
  14. Manton Customs

    Manton Customs UK Luthier

    Jan 31, 2014
    Shropshire, UK
    Luthier, Manton Customs
    It might be helpful to carefully check the measurements of each slot with Stew Macs online fret calculator and see if all slots are where they should be.
     
  15. megafiddle

    megafiddle

    May 25, 2011
    You are measuring scale length. That will tell you nothing about whether or not it will
    intonate properly. For that, you need to know the fret positions in relation to the scale
    length. There are various scale lengths available, and they can all be intonated properly.

    What you would really need to measure is the nut to 1st fret, and 1st fret to 2nd fret.
    And you can't do that with a folding ruler or metal yard stick. For that you need calipers
    or a ruler marked in hundredths and a good magnifier.

    The relation between the frets and nut relative to each other is what's important. The
    overall scale length can be off, but still have all the correct ratios among the frets. There
    are some commercial bases and guitars out there that are off a bit with no intonation
    problems.

    -
     
  16. bassbenj

    bassbenj

    Aug 11, 2009
    It looks fine to me. As noted you measure to the front edge of the nut. In truth you should measure to the "witness point" of the nut which is where the strings are grabbed by the nut and kept from vibrating. The front edge of the nut is only an approximation since in a practical case there is a certain "give" to the edge of the nut and the strings are wound and don't contact exactly at the edge.

    So StewMac has sort of provided a rough estimate of where the actual witness point is going to be (and note it won't be identical for each string) which is just a tiny bit back from the front edge which is probably as close to where it really is as you are going to get.

    Note that all this assumes the bass body is toward the bottom of the photo. If that line is toward the headstock then it would really be off!

    As far as I can see that neck looks perfect to me! None of the intonation things are perfect anyway, that's why saddles are adjustable and you can see from how different saddle positions are on various strings and that this varies a lot due to different factors.

    I pronouce it fine if that line is close to the side of the nut toward the bridge.
     
  17. yes, the line is towards the the body..

    soo you think I would be fine doing as I have done; keep my 34 " scale on the paper and just line up the bass to a point where the 12th fretslot is lining up with the middlepoint of the scale, and keep the line (from where the strings is grabbed) in this position and make the rest of the bass design based on this? :rolleyes:
     
  18. I just recieved a call from Stewmac, they told that not just my two fingerboards were off but something with the slotting machine!!

    Soo, I was right all the time, notting wrong with my rulers.. And that feels great. But now I dont have a fingerboard... aaaah and that sucks :(
     
  19. JustForSport

    JustForSport

    Nov 17, 2011
    If you slot the nut so that the break/contact point in the bottom of the slots is the correct distance (where your line is) from the first fret or 12th fret (instead of an acute angle at the body-side of the nut [which might wear and change anyway]), your fingerboard will intonate just fine- barring any other issues.
     
  20. Primary

    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.

     
    Jul 31, 2021

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