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Down Up Dick
03-18-2015, 06:08 AM
If Rosewood fret boards crack or shrink because of humidity, why not find some other wood or maybe plastic or perhaps even metal as a substitute? I know Ebony is used, but it's probably expensive.

A metal ukulele like a National steel or Luna etc. is mostly metal. Why not the fretboard too? And mebbe even the neck . . .

Because of the above, mebbe the fluke or Flea or Blackbird or National Steel will be the coming thing. I know that wooden Ukes can be very beautiful, but not if they're cracked or twisted.

I was just wondering about this. :old:

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
03-18-2015, 07:57 AM
All woods "crack or shrink because of humidity".

However, woods don't crack if they are dried properly, built/glued up in X humidity and kept by their owners at the same X humidity.

Industry standard for X humidity is around 45%. Warranty is void if you disregard this golden rule.

Rob-C
03-18-2015, 02:52 PM
In my experience, ebony is more prone than rosewood to expansion / shrinkage due to climatic changes. Metal necks and fretboards have been tried through the years, but players generally hate them and they too expand and contract with temperature.

ksquine
03-19-2015, 05:11 AM
I've never heard of a cracked fretboard (humidity related anyway). Is this really a problem??

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
03-19-2015, 06:07 AM
If the neck and fretboard move at different enough rates (due to different moisture content of the woods etc), then the fingerboard is the one that cracks.

Down Up Dick
03-19-2015, 06:11 AM
I've never heard of a cracked fretboard (humidity related anyway). Is this really a problem??

It seems to be somewhat common. It shows up in some of the threads about humidity. I've read about it and also about twisted, warped necks with frets that stick out on the sides, so I wondered why someone doesn't at least make the fretboards out of something else. And the necks are somewhat thick and short; it's hard to imagine one twisting.

It's strange, but in all my long, musical life I've never read or heard about cracking violins or violas or cellos. I'm sure that they do, but I've never seen anything about it. I have heard of clarinets and flutes cracking, but people spit in them.

Well, I just thought I'd ask, but not many cared to talk about it. Ahhh, well . . . :old:

RichM
03-19-2015, 07:28 AM
I've played wooden instruments for almost my entire life, and performing basic care to minimize the risk of cracks has been part of my basic education since day 1. Frankly, I don't understand what the big deal is; I have owned hundreds of musical instruments in my life, take about five minutes each day to make sure humidifiers are filled an working properly, and have never once suffered a crack.

janeray1940
03-19-2015, 07:39 AM
I've never heard of a cracked fretboard (humidity related anyway). Is this really a problem??

I've seen it happen on an ebony fretboard (not mine). The uke in question made a crosscountry move from one climate extreme to another, and cracked soon after it arrived. I suggested humidifying and - the cracks closed up and the uke plays fine.

BlackBearUkes
03-19-2015, 03:51 PM
As mentioned above, all woods move over time but do not always crack or become a problem. I work on violins on a daily basis and believe me they also twist and warp sometimes. Well seasoned woods, well cared for, present no problems, but not all instruments are built with care and seasoned woods. Many imports are thrown together without regard to cured woods and as a result suffer down the road.

Making fretboards out of plastic, metal or other materials is not done for a variety of reasons, mostly because the results look cheap, are not easy to repair, if at all, and are more costly. Try taking the frets out of a plastic fingerboard and replace them, not a good solution. There are some guitars that have their fingerboards made of metal or plastics and every time one of these comes into my shop, I cringe. Stainless steel frets are impossible to repair, chipped new age fingerboards are worse. Give me wood every time.




It seems to be somewhat common. It shows up in some of the threads about humidity. I've read about it and also about twisted, warped necks with frets that stick out on the sides, so I wondered why someone doesn't at least make the fretboards out of something else. And the necks are somewhat thick and short; it's hard to imagine one twisting.

It's strange, but in all my long, musical life I've never read or heard about cracking violins or violas or cellos. I'm sure that they do, but I've never seen anything about it. I have heard of clarinets and flutes cracking, but people spit in them.

Well, I just thought I'd ask, but not many cared to talk about it. Ahhh, well . . . :old:

Down Up Dick
03-19-2015, 04:02 PM
Thanks to all who answered my questions. At least now I know why we don't have substitutes for shrinking, cracking fretboards and twisted necks.

I guess it's just one of those que sera, sera things. :old: