I just received a nice scarf jointed maple neck blank, but it has what to me looks like a scary amount of back bow. I laid the factory fret board, confirmed as straight, on edge atop the neck, held firmly near the nut end, as a nice, hard straight edge, and I’ve got 3/16” clearance at the bottom (highest) fret. Though I know Ben Gitty says a little back bow is ok, as string tension will correct it, this baby seems too far out there in my thinking. What say the fire? I don’t want to end up with a banana with an unplayable action six feet high.
Hi, for me flat is preferred. Often a fret board will bow from the frets being a tight ish fit in their slots. That should flatten when glued to the neck. If the neck is built correctly then things will stay flat.
Allowing for the strings to pull the bow out of a neck, I think, is a bit of a hit and miss arrangement. Some necks may be stiffer than others and not bow up so readily.
Also not much pull on a three stringer, if three strings pulled my neck into a bow l might get concerned.
That confirms my thinking. My current daily driver wears the low, middle, middle GDG electric strings, and it’s dead flat, as it was when I glued up the walnut fret board over a poplar neck. My thinking is if anything, maple with walnut fret board is gonna be hell for stiff as a three string, unlikely to bend ever unless steamed.