Raised fret board

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Jen

Raised fret board

Post by Jen » Sat May 26, 2007 10:24 pm

Hey there,
i'm in the process of buying a new guitar and one of the options for the guitar is a raised fretboard, a moderately raised fret board. It's not as extreme as the Humphrey millennium guitar, very slight. I cant find anybody with one to see how it feels or even anyone who has any experience with one. Can anyone help me out here? Is it one of those things thats a matter of preference from person to person or just is just make lower frets genuinely easier to get at?
Thanx :D

Logan

Post by Logan » Sun May 27, 2007 3:08 am

I have played a raised fretboard guitar and I loved it. For what it's worth I;d get it. Good luck. :)

mrcold

Post by mrcold » Sun May 27, 2007 3:17 am

I have never played one, but i am curious... What is the advantage supposed to be?

Cody

Tarbaby (1953 - 2016)

Post by Tarbaby (1953 - 2016) » Sun May 27, 2007 5:24 am

Hi Jen! Top o the mornin' to ya!

I'm not sure, but I saw Elliot Fisk play the Concerto de Aranuez on his Humphrey with the "extreme" high fingerboard. He certainly had no problems playing above the 12th fret! (He has no problems BELOW the 12th fret either :roll: ) I think he even goes into "thumb position" up there, as cellists do.

So, I think the advantage is up there in the "nose bleed section", somehow.

Wish there were a way you could try it out before shelling out all that cash...

Cheers and good luck,

Alan

Jen

Post by Jen » Sun May 27, 2007 1:56 pm

alright cheers lads! I think i'll go for it, its such a tricky decision though, spending quite a bit of money on it and want it to be a godess of guitars you know :D

alter Ton

Post by alter Ton » Sun May 27, 2007 4:32 pm

mrcold wrote:I have never played one, but i am curious... What is the advantage supposed to be?

Cody
My guitar has an elevated-fretboard and I find that it makes playing above the 12th fret significantly less awkward, particularly for barres. I happen to play a fair bit of music that makes use of the highest frets so it was a rather obvious choice for me. Other than that, there doesn't seem to be any difference compared to a standard fretboard.

Jen

Post by Jen » Sun May 27, 2007 5:02 pm

ok cool, so it didnt affect your technique or right hand position in any way then?

alter Ton

Post by alter Ton » Sun May 27, 2007 5:26 pm

Jen wrote:ok cool, so it didnt affect your technique or right hand position in any way then?
No, if you don't play any pieces that make use of the highest positions then it's exactly like playing on a standard fretboard. It doesn't require any technical adjustment, except for the left hand when playing above the 12th fret. The only thing that does seem to throw people off is if they use the neck-body joint as a visual 12th fret reference for positioning. The elevation tends to make it look like the neck-body joint is at a different fret (depending on how much elevation is present and what angle you look at your fretting hand), so the visual reference is different.

Jen

Post by Jen » Sun May 27, 2007 6:37 pm

I see, well that doesn't seem like too big of a deal. I suppose I would use the 12th fret as a guide but in the pic of the guitar it doesn't look too extreme you know so it should be fine.
you guys are really helpful cheers!!

Intune
Posts: 1239
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 1:20 pm
Location: Connecticut, USA

Post by Intune » Sun May 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Apart from the elevated fingerboard's greater ease of playing above the 12th fret, one should also mention that the extra height of the strings above the soundboard helps prevent contact between right-hand fingernails and the guitar top...therefore, there are likely to be fewer scratches and a cleaner top. Moreover, some proponents of elevated fingerboards claim they help make a guitar louder: the thinking is that the extra mass of wood between the soundboard and the fingerboard above the 12th fret acts to keep sound vibrations from being transmitted to the neck, where they do no good; therefore, there's more vibrational energy left to excite the soundboard. And finally, elevated fingerboards are just plain fun to play!
Intune

Tim W
Posts: 348
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:28 pm
Location: Galesville, MD

Post by Tim W » Mon May 28, 2007 3:23 pm

I recently bought a raised fingerboard guitar. It has a bolted neck, and does not have a traditional heel. I find not having a heel makes playing in 10th-12th position much easier. I don't spend much time below the 14-15th fret, so I don't take advantage of the raised fingerboard to the extent that others probably do, but I do find it easier.

Regards\
Tim

mistermark

Post by mistermark » Mon Jun 18, 2007 1:31 am

Does anybody have a flamenco guitar with a raised fretboard? I would think the raised fretboard on a flamenco guitar would not be friendly for golpes?

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James Lister
Luthier
Posts: 7357
Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2006 3:53 pm
Location: Sheffield, UK

Post by James Lister » Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:19 am

mistermark wrote:Does anybody have a flamenco guitar with a raised fretboard? I would think the raised fretboard on a flamenco guitar would not be friendly for golpes?
A raised fretboard generally gives you a greater string height above the soundboard - which is the opposite of what you want for a flamenco.

James
James Lister, luthier, Sheffield UK

Dan Kellaway

Post by Dan Kellaway » Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:52 am

Intune wrote: Moreover, some proponents of elevated fingerboards claim they help make a guitar louder: the thinking is that the extra mass of wood between the soundboard and the fingerboard above the 12th fret acts to keep sound vibrations from being transmitted to the neck, where they do no good; therefore, there's more vibrational energy left to excite the soundboard. Intune
I'm not sure of the true scientific explanation of this but what I know for sure is that having more mass under the fingerboard results in a fuller sound for that note.
I learnt this particularly when I was building lutes. You may know that traditional lutes have frets set into the soundboard as they go up over the body. If you make a lute with just the soundboard to support these frets, you will usually end up with less sound coming out of these upper notes. The secret is to glue heavy chunks of ebony underneath them to give some mass on which to fret the note. This is very similar to the raised fingerboard scenario.
So having the mass will prevent unwanted vibration loss in that area. Whether the vibration goes into the neck I don't know but if I think of the vibration further down the neck then what the extra mass is doing is making the vibrational characteristcs more equal overall thus resulting in a more even response.

EJplaystheCG

Post by EJplaystheCG » Mon Jun 18, 2007 10:47 am

Dan,

Instead of having an elevated fingerboard, might a similar result (in getting a fuller or louder tone) be obtained by leaving the neck extension (the right term slips my mind) longer such that it extends further into the soundboard (underneath) right up till the upper harmonic bar? This means a larger area of the fingerboard is now being supported (underneath the soundboard).

I think in Courtnall's book, he mentions that one of the makers (either Santos Hernandez or Hernandez y Arguado) does not use an upper transverse bar since he leaves the neck extension almost right up to the upper harmonic bar. I don't have my copy of the book with me right now but the idea is as described.

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