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View Full Version : Extended vs regular fretboard



EDW
11-19-2017, 05:42 AM
I know that some builders believe that an extended fretboard can dampen or reduce vibrations to the top. Some think that it has little to no effect. On soprano in particular, there is not a lot of area to the top in either case. I see that new Martins all seem to have the extended board.

Has anyone found that it affects the tone or do you think it is more theoretical? Has anyone done any back to back testing?

DownUpDave
11-19-2017, 06:07 AM
Most of your vibrating top happens below the sound hole. There is a large tranverse top brace just below the sound hole and another above. In the upper bout the top is attached to that large tranverse brace and the neck block. These elements essentially kill the ability of the top to produce much vibrations. So having the fingerboard on the top at that area is really not that big of a deal.

Now having said that David Ingalls of Ono Ukuleles and Rick Turner of Compass Rose do a cantilevered fretboard that does not touch the top. They believes it makes a difference. There is much room for debate on this.

Booli
11-19-2017, 10:48 AM
+1 to what Dave said.

My 2 cents is that for most folks, it is just splitting hairs. YMMV.

Warning: slippery slope ahead! :)

anthonyg
11-19-2017, 11:18 AM
How many of you are playing past the 15th fret, heavens, how many play past the 12th fret and of those who do, how many are making good music up there?

I made some comparisons to a Stratocaster guitar. Standard Strats have 22 frets and the distance between the 21st and 22nd fret is 10.8mm. On a Tenor ukulele the equivalent gap is between the 14th and 15th frets and on a Soprano the closest equivalent gap is between the 9th and 10th frets.

Given that you will need extraordinarily good intonation to make good music up there and great technique to boot I don't know what extended frets on a ukulele are about other than a "ooh, ahh factor.

For the record I only play a few songs up to the 10-12 fret regularly and ONE song I play up to the 15th fret as an exercise. I play mostly Tenors and sometimes Baritones or Concerts.

Booli
11-19-2017, 12:48 PM
How many of you are playing past the 15th fret, heavens, how many play past the 12th fret and of those who do, how many are making good music up there?...

Folks that only ever strum & sing and use 1st position chords will usually either not care about, or be afraid of more than 12 frets.

For campanella style playing, I am often above the 12th fret on the E and A strings and sometimes even the G string, and yes my ukes are very well intonated to no more than +3 cents sharp as much as possible, and even so most folks cannot even perceive intonation being off unless it is more than about +/- 12 cents, so in their case, the intonation problems on such a short scale as soprano matter even less because they cannot 'hear' it.

I may be the exception rather than the rule, but coming from guitar to uke, I like to use all the frets I can, and maximize the fretboard as much as possible, especially with my own songwriting.

YMMV. :)

Ukecaster
11-19-2017, 04:16 PM
Folks that only ever strum & sing and use 1st position chords will usually either not care about, or be afraid of more than 12 frets.....

Yeah, that's pretty much me so far, but I prefer only 12 frets. Without an an extended fingerboard up there, I find a bit more room for strumming or picking in that area without my fingers hitting anything below.

Booli
11-19-2017, 04:27 PM
Yeah, that's pretty much me so far, but I prefer only 12 frets. Without an an extended fingerboard up there, I find a bit more room for strumming or picking in that area without my fingers hitting anything below.

It's all good brother. :)

Everyone wants something a little varied according to their individual preferences, and in the end we all get to make some music and bring some magic into the world.

:music:

Croaky Keith
11-19-2017, 11:35 PM
If you pick melodies, you'll often find yourself up there, even if you have a low G. :)

anthonyg
11-20-2017, 12:43 AM
If you pick melodies, you'll often find yourself up there, even if you have a low G. :)

I pick melodies and I find myself up at the 12th fret sometimes. As an exercise I will play 0232 an octave above at 12,14,15,14 but above that the musicality is suffering. I can see some people playing up there but seriously, mass market ukuleles with 19 or 20 frets seems silly. Most players would rather have the room to pick or strum and unless the construction is spot on accurate its sounds awful anyway.

Nickie
11-20-2017, 10:44 AM
I never play up there in the upper ukesphere. I tried to learn a song with notes at the 12th and 15th, and gave up cause my uke sounds crappy up there.

EDW
11-20-2017, 11:34 AM
I never play up there in the upper ukesphere. I tried to learn a song with notes at the 12th and 15th, and gave up cause my uke sounds crappy up there.

Some people would think that is a perfect excuse to buy another instrument!

Nickie
11-20-2017, 11:37 AM
Some people would think that is a perfect excuse to buy another instrument!

Not me! Now, I've finally gotten my UAS under control....shame on you!


(just kidding)

anthonyg
11-20-2017, 12:38 PM
There are high frets and there are high frets.

16-17 frets can be handy sometimes. Sure.

20 frets on a production ukulele. Why? I'd be happy if it was normal practice to make ukuleles with good intonation up to the 12 fret. When you play a ukulele with 20 frets and it has poor intonation over the first 12 frets you have to wonder what's going on.