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View Full Version : Ever played a scalloped fretboard?



OhioBelle
08-27-2017, 07:09 AM
You know how one thing leads to another and before you know it, you've fallen down the rabbit hole?

Checking out the pretties on Antebellum instruments and was intrigued by this baritone.

https://antebelluminstruments.blogspot.com/2017/08/2012-oceana-redwoodmahogany-baritone.html

Never heard of Oceana, so followed the link to their site.

One of their custom options is a scalloped fretboard.
A redwood/walnut concert for sale on the site is described as having a scalloped fretboard thusly:

"A scalloped fretboard has a incredibly smooth playability. The fretboard is scooped away to very precise concave, the ridges serve as frets, producing pure and clean notes. Also the scallops allow the action to be lower than on a traditional fretted instrument."

http://www.oceanaukuleles.com/shop/j427nr9jv1fjade2mjtvkaczqz8uiy

I am in love with the idea, particularly for campanella. Anyone ever played a scalloped fretboard?

Jarmo_S
08-27-2017, 08:16 AM
Sounds crazy to me. On guitar world they never got much favor, more like easier to get an overpitched note.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fingerboard#Scalloping

Unless you are a soloist uke player I'd say forget. Its not for chords imo.

wildfire070
08-27-2017, 09:37 AM
I think Oceana ukes are the only ones with the scalloped fretboard. I haven't seen any other uke with it. Its an interesting design. There's been a few sold on HMS. Here's a couple of listings with some descriptions and their thoughts on the instruments and scalloped fretboard.

https://www.theukulelesite.com/oceana-vintage-style-koa-soprano.html

https://www.theukulelesite.com/ukulele-market/oceana-custom-cedar-top-koa-tenor.html

besley
08-27-2017, 11:04 AM
I've tried playing electric guitars with scalloped frets, and it's sort of like learning to play all over again. It's quite a challenge to get just the right amount of pressure that ensures you cleanly fret all the notes without stretching all the notes sharp. I hated it. Given the low tension of uke strings I would think this would be even more of an issue. As for being easy to play, the easiest fretboard I've every played was the really low frets of a "Fretless Wonder" Black Beauty Les Paul, which was sort of the opposite of scalloped frets. It made it very easy to slide up the neck, but did make bending the strings and pull offs a bit more difficult (which is why that model isn't very popular among modern players).

southcoastukes
08-27-2017, 02:20 PM
We've never done a fully scalloped fretboard like you'all are discussing, but we've done a scalloped edge.

It's on the top edge only. If you ever do "thumb-around" fretting or muting it's really nice.

102603

(this one is from a proto & the scalloping was put in for a trial after the fret markers had been installed)

anthonyg
08-27-2017, 02:57 PM
I used to own an electric guitar with a scalloped fingerboard. Its swings and roundabouts. Scalloping makes it easier to apply enough pressure to cleanly fret the note and prevent any buzzing but also easier to apply too much pressure and bend the note sharp. It's also easier to bend notes deliberately but a little harder to NOT bend notes accidentally.

I'd only suggest getting a scalloped fingerboard if you really know why you want it. Lead electric guitar? Yes. I don't know about a ukulele.

OhioBelle
08-27-2017, 03:49 PM
Thanks for all of the information, everyone. So now I understand how useful such a tool might be for electric guitars and unusual (think Sitar) note-bending situations. I'm not about to acquire one in the near future (although those Oceanas are so lovely. sigh...), but am definitely intrigued. Zac's description of "pure clean notes" sounds exactly what I'm trying to produce via campanella, but apparently the risk of bending the note sharp is real. I am already guilty of pressing too hard, so perhaps a scalloped fretboard would teach me to lighten up, LOL! I think it would also encourage precise finger placement. I could use a little of that, too! :p

Meanwhile, I'll keep striving for "pure, clean notes" on my ordinary fretboard. :)

besley
08-27-2017, 06:00 PM
We've never done a fully scalloped fretboard like you'all are discussing, but we've done a scalloped edge.

It's on the top edge only. If you ever do "thumb-around" fretting or muting it's really nice.

102603

(this one is from a proto & the scalloping was put in for a trial after the fret markers had been installed)

Now THAT does look interesting. I would love to try it!

southcoastukes
08-28-2017, 04:23 PM
Well, that one is gone to the great land down under - a long-time customer with a standing request. Early next year we should (finally) have new instruments to offer. The first (a Classical Tenor Guitar) will have the scalloped edge as a standard feature.