My next bass project (and electric upright fretless bass), like my first one, is primarily red oak it's just easy to find the pieces I need (in the sizes I need) at Home Depot. Red oak is a decent hard wood and I can generally find something straight enough for my purposes. It does have that porous quality that makes it a little hard to use a hand plane on, but so far I've done ok with it.
In the cigar box bass I'm finishing up now, I laminated three 1/2" thick pieces together to form a straight 1 1/2" neck that fit three bass strings nicely. I put no additional fingerboard piece atop this laminated neck - it was straight and fit the purpose well enough.
This time the bass will have four strings and I've already created the neck with a tapered width - 1.5" at the nut going up to 2" at the end of the fingerboard. I'm thinking of using a flat, thin-stock fingerboard atop the laminated neck. I've located a couple possible pieces online.
First question - How hard is it to add a radius to a fingerboard? I don't have much of a workshop and use mostly hand tools, I'm wondering if I'll be able to modify the fingerboard in a way that doesn't introduce highs/lows that would show up when playing.a fretless instrument.
My second question is this - how thin/thick should this fingerboard be? If I were to go for some amount of radius, this would probably answer itself - I'd need the 1/4" stock in order to have material to shape and I can easily find 1/4" thick stock. But if I stayed with a flat neck,I found a nice looking piece of 1/8" thick stock. Is 1/8" too thin? I'm not worried about the neck warping - the laminated oak should be just fine keeping straight.
Thanks in advance,
I read somewhere that you can radius a fretboard with the use of a template radioused (is this a word) inversely. Wrap course sandpaper on the inside of the curve up and down the fretboard length until it takes shape and then finer and finer sandpaper for a finish.
Im not sure about this and it seems like it would take some time..
Anyone else have thoughts on this?
Woah - that was a great clue! I went to eBay and found this:
Does that about do what you're describing?
No. I was thinking that the curve would be inverted. Concaved. Found one online but you can make one ..
I would make one by wrapping sandpaper around a fretboard that the frets had been taken off and rubbing a block on this fretboard, then when the block is finished it will be a template for future fretboards.
Actually.. I might try this idea myself at one point. Thanks!
Oh, I see what you mean - you're talking about how to make one. The one sanding block on ebay was already made.
My bad. I didnt look at it properly.Yeah. It would do the job.
I'm glad I didn't look properly, it gave my head a little push into thinking about how to make one.