Elevated fingerboards

Updated on November 3, 2016 in Luthier's Corner
6 on November 2, 2016

Just thought I’d get the ball rolling in the Luthier’s corner…

Elevated fingerboard are supposed to make access to the upper frets easier. I think the general consensus is that a cutaway is more effective in this regard, but there tends to be a lot of resistance to cutaways among “serious” classical guitar players. If you make guitars using the traditional Spanish construction method, elevated fingerboards are a bit tricky. When I finally got round to making one a few years ago, I decided to go with a different construction method, closer to that used for steel string guitars, where the body and neck are constructed separately, and attached near the end of the build.

Anyway, as a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s 6,000 words-worth!

James

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0 on November 2, 2016

Fascinating, thanks for sharing!

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1 on November 2, 2016

Thanks for posting James. Personally, I have never really liked elevated fingerboards and prefer conventional ones. I suspect, of those who have owned one, inmight be in the minority.

on November 3, 2016

Ha, back from a longs break here.. KONO, aka, ASTRO64, aka René. I have a Greg Byers with the elevated fretboard. I don’t play enough “up there” yet for it to make much difference so far, plus I have long fingers so perhaps it is less of an advantage. It hasn’t bothered me either. In terms of aesthetics, I agree it is not an improvement. But it looks very professional 😉

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0 on November 3, 2016

Elevated fingerboards aren’t for everyone but I quite like them…after I got used to them. I think they are an interesting way to, if not solve at least mitigate, the age old problem of access to the higher parts of the fingerboard.

The earliest ventures into addressing this issue with a raised fingerboard rather than a cut away were in the early 1800s by the Vienna crowd, J.G. Staufer in particular. Some were with the adjustable neck and some not. The style with the bent soundboard, as James documented above, first appears about 1830 with the instruments of Johann Bucher and Franz Brunner, both Viennese makers contemporary with J.G. Staufer. Again sometimes with the iconic adjustable neck and sometimes solid with a spacer between the soundboard and the fingerboard, not very different from the concept above. As a long time student of the early guitar I always find it interesting the many new concepts entering the guitar world which are really old concepts just newly discovered.

Nice work , as always, with that James. It’s very classy looking.

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0 on November 3, 2016

Thanks Scot. I’m undecided myself about the aesthetics. I’ve seen a few that I really don’t like, but I was quite happy with the way mine turned out. I think there’s little doubt that a cutaway is more effective in terms of improving access to the upper frets, and I’ve got nothing against cutaways, but there’s a lot of resistance from players.

James

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0 on November 3, 2016

I have doubts about increasing access to the most horrible notes on the guitar! 😉 Put up a barbed-wire fence, I say 🙂

Nice work, though, James. Good to see you here, and, of course, to Scot as well. 

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