I've been without my workshop for almost a year now and am finally close to having it back! I promised my brother-in-law a CBG for his birthday last summer and am getting ready to start on it. 

I've got my box picked out and I picked up a neck and fretboard from CB Gitty and am starting to plan the build out (side question: how much planning to most folks do on their builds? My first three were pretty seat-of-the-pants, on-the-spot stuff but I'm trying to really diagram this one out and build it to a plan).

My question is this - what are the relative merits of either using a separate fretboard attached to the neck, vs. just fretting the neck itself? (This is of course ignoring unfretted necks or necks with frets just marked). It occurred to me when I was trying to get the neck flush with the top of the box that the fretboard would then be raised above the top of the box, which then got me to thinking about why have a separate fretboard at all? I mean, I like 'em and they can be quite pretty...but what's the benefit of that vs. just fretting the neck itself?

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Hey Sean.

As far as I'm aware folk use fretboard for these instruments because they're mostly a stick in a box and for ease of use rather than notching out a whole load of neck. For one it adds height above the box which means more room for the fingers to pick. Also for strengthening the neck with the extra thickness. Then you've got the aesthetics like you mentioned. Plus, make a mistake on a fretboard and all you got to do is replace the fretboard rather than a whole neck.

On factory guitars I guess fretboard are also necessary for hiding truss rods.

If you fancy fretting the neck and it's sufficiently thich I see no rules that have to be adhered to. After all, it's your build, right?

Have fun and all the best to you.

Bear :0)
First congrats on getting your shop back. I dread moving in a few years I’ll go what you’ve been through.

My 2 cents worth - I put a lot of work into my head stocks and necks. If I then screw up the fret slot cutting, that’s work down the drain. Yes I have screwed up fretboards cutting slots but that was just the fretboard - my neck board was still good.

Drilling fret dots is easier on the fretboard - it’s flat. I’m curious also to hear what others do.

As to planning - I diagram everything - the box, the neck board - with dimensions - I find it is keeping surprises and rework way down. I’m currently on build 14.

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