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13down
06-08-2018, 06:18 AM
A uke debate that I haven't seen in a while...

What are everyone's feelings on fretboards that end at the body (such as on vintage sopranos and some new sopranos) versus fretboards that continue toward the soundhole?

I tend to prefer fretboards that end at the body, since I don't think I've ever played on any frets higher than the 12th, and I also like having maximum space to strum/pluck where the neck meets the body, without my fingers bumping into the fretboard.

I could swear that ukes where the fretboard ends at the body also vibrate more but I would not be surprised if I'm wrong and that is just an illusion.

I'm curious how other people feel about this!

Jerryc41
06-08-2018, 07:06 AM
A uke debate that I haven't seen in a while...

What are everyone's feelings on fretboards that end at the body (such as on vintage sopranos and some new sopranos) versus fretboards that continue toward the soundhole?

I tend to prefer fretboards that end at the body, since I don't think I've ever played on any frets higher than the 12th, and I also like having maximum space to strum/pluck where the neck meets the body, without my fingers bumping into the fretboard.

I could swear that ukes where the fretboard ends at the body also vibrate more but I would not be surprised if I'm wrong and that is just an illusion.

I'm curious how other people feel about this!

If I like a uke, I'll buy it, regardless where the fretboard ends. I don't play much at that end, anyway.

spongeuke
06-08-2018, 07:55 AM
On the classic Martins Sopranos, that I have a thing for, I don't usually play beyond the 7th fret. Yes the 3s and 5s have an extended fret board but for me it is just for looks. I guess people are impressed when hitting those high notes like an opera star.
The 13/16" space between the heal block and the first brace would not be a a significant vibrating surface, so I'm thinking it wouldn't effect it much and the brace controls that part of the sound board.
I've seen and used (on the experimental Bas'nBari) a gap between the sound board and the fret board extension. This requires a thicker fret board than the vintage sopranos and concerts. I feel it is more guitar like and appropriate to the larger ukuleles.
Thicker fret board over the sound board effects string hight above it to what effect on sound I've no idea.

Swamp Yankee
06-08-2018, 08:13 AM
I dislike extended fretboards that reach more than 2 frets or so past the neck/body joint. I always tend to play in that sweet spot between the soundhole and fretboard and I don't like my fingers making contact with the fretboard whether I'm strumming or fingerpicking.

This is especially true with less expensive ukes with poorly dressed fret ends but even with quality workmanship, I'd rather not have any finger/ fretboard contact there.

I've actually removed frets and "scooped" the fretboard extension past the 14th fret on some ukes... a common enough practice with banjos for clawhammer... but not something I've seen on many ukes.

70sSanO
06-08-2018, 05:06 PM
I could swear that ukes where the fretboard ends at the body also vibrate more but I would not be surprised if I'm wrong and that is just an illusion.

I'm curious how other people feel about this!

I play up the neck so I want the additional frets. As far as impacting sound, I would think most luthiers do no see any impact. Rick Turner (Compass Rose) would disagree as he has a floating (cantilevered) fretboard. I personally think there is not enough to notice.

John

Jarmo_S
06-08-2018, 09:07 PM
I don't have an ukulele in which fretboard ends at 12th fret, but especially for soprano it is I think a good idea.

If the action is low I can't fingerpick at the 12th fret with comfort, but instead scratch my nails to frets or fingerboard. This happens in my concert uke, where I have to do that nearer to soundhole just because.

Pete F
06-08-2018, 10:49 PM
I have often pondered this question. Apart from playing high up the neck, I guess an extended fretboard can only add some structural stability to the soundboard especially in book-matched tops. It does look good, and can be an aid/reference for finger style playing, I have found.

ripock
06-08-2018, 11:30 PM
well...since you're soliciting opinions, I would have to say that the fretboard ending at the body would totally suck. I am currently making a study of the key of E. So I like to be able to roll through all the modes using that key's notes. I usually start in the 4th fret and move up to the 19th. Or if we're talking about E minor pentatonic shapes, the dominant shape begins on fret 14. What am I going to do with only 12 frets?

Like most people, I play the ukulele sul tasto but I never find the fretboard beneath the strings to be an encumbrance. As a matter of fact, I sometimes like to use the fretboard on the soundboard for percussive sounds: as part of a strum pattern, I like to run my nail down the frets between the strings to achieve a guiro-like sound. I typically use frets 19 through 15 or so. If I had to go up to the 12th fret, it would put my hand out of position.

That's my opinion and ultimately that opinion is informed by how I play. If I played frenetic island vamps around the 5th fret, why would I care about anything beyond my needs?

DanY
06-08-2018, 11:59 PM
It depends on the music you want to play. Some solo arrangements have melody notes on the 13th and 15th fret so that’s why I prefer the extended fretboard. If your going to play solo chord melodies, I’d highly recommend it. If you are a singer/strummer, then you’ll never go that high. Some songs have that finale with the High C on the 15th fret that adds a nice dimension.

Jarmo_S
06-09-2018, 12:38 AM
Choices, choices. Ukes are not standardized.

From soloing point more frets are a good thing. I try limit my solo play to 15 frets even when my concert has 18 and with fluorocarbons I can play all of them. Many sopranos have also 15 at least. Makes 2 octave range from C4 to C6.

If one acquisites a low G uke, he will sort of loose the touch to a normal uke, because soloing is intuitive. Limiting to 15 frets is possible though I think.

From right hand point of view and low action, I don't like the extended fingerboard. Only from that viewpoint. For soloing 12 frets can be quite limiting even for a soprano.

Jerryc41
06-09-2018, 12:41 AM
Rick Turner (Compass Rose) would disagree as he has a floating (cantilevered) fretboard. I personally think there is not enough to notice.

John

I forget the brand, but I saw one that has a fretboard that is even with the body and does not overlap at all.

Jarmo_S
06-09-2018, 12:59 AM
I forget the brand, but I saw one that has a fretboard that is even with the body and does not overlap at all.

I think the floating fingerboard is like one in the violin family instruments. Ukulele neck is quite at the same angle as the top, so the extended cantilever part has to be thinner. The theory is that the top vibrates then more freely.

mmn
06-09-2018, 03:06 AM
Extending a fret board over and gluing it to the sound board will definitely dampen the vibration. Detectable or not is the debate. Seems people who play up there aren't particularly concerned.

Rllink
06-09-2018, 08:53 AM
Anybody have a quick link to someone playing in the hinterlands beyond the soundboard? I've never played up there. I would like to see someone doing it before I have an opinion on something that I don't do.

Swamp Yankee
06-10-2018, 02:49 AM
Anybody have a quick link to someone playing in the hinterlands beyond the soundboard? I've never played up there. I would like to see someone doing it before I have an opinion on something that I don't do.

Conversely, you could try playing that way, then form an opinion based on experience ;)

stevepetergal
06-10-2018, 03:07 AM
I play higher than the 12th fret every day, so having an opinion would be a moot point. I'm surely not alone, and you might consider the possibility that you will one day be in the same position.
As far as the fretboard dampening the soundboard, I'm sure your right. But, the essential vibration takes place in the area surrounding the bridge. The dampening effect of the fretboard, near where the neck block holds it fast anyway, is surely negligible.

Swamp Yankee
06-10-2018, 05:48 AM
I forget the brand, but I saw one that has a fretboard that is even with the body and does not overlap at all.

Ohana makes the 28 series which have a body/neck joint @12th fret and a fretboard that is flush to the top. They're an homage to the original Nunes ukuleles from the early 20th century in which that setup was typical.

Ukecaster
06-10-2018, 03:36 PM
On soprano, I like to strum in that spot between the 12th fret and soundhole, usually closer to the 12th fret, and find that my nail sometimes hits the extended fingerboard, making a clickety clack sound. Maybe more my newb technique than the uke's fault, but I like sops without extended fingerboards better. However, I do have some sops with slightly extended fingerboards (but not all the way to the soundhole) , so I guess I'm still trying to overcome that issue.

Jerryc41
06-10-2018, 04:08 PM
On soprano, I like to strum in that spot between the 12th fret and soundhole, usually closer to the 12th fret, and find that my nail hits an extended fingerboard, making a clickety clack sound. Maybe more my newb technique than the uke's fault, but I like sops without extended fingerboard better. However, I have some sops with extended fingerboards, so I guess I'm still trying to overcome that issue

You're always safe blaming the uke. It's the only logical thing to do. :D

kkimura
06-11-2018, 02:19 AM
On soprano, I like to strum in that spot between the 12th fret and soundhole, usually closer to the 12th fret, and find that my nail sometimes hits the extended fingerboard, making a clickety clack sound. Maybe more my newb technique than the uke's fault, but I like sops without extended fingerboards better. However, I do have some sops with slightly extended fingerboards (but not all the way to the soundhole) , so I guess I'm still trying to overcome that issue.

I have the same issue with one of my ukuleles. This one has really low action that makes it a sweet finger picking instrument but also makes it easy to click the fingerboard unless I strum over the sound hole. My other ukes are okay strumming over the fingerboard.

Rllink
06-11-2018, 03:56 AM
Conversely, you could try playing that way, then form an opinion based on experience ;)I took you up on your suggestion and I would still like to see someone else do it. ;)

Swamp Yankee
06-12-2018, 02:30 AM
I took you up on your suggestion and I would still like to see someone else do it. ;)

Lots of it on display in videos on the ukulele site... but here's a bit in this video

https://binged.it/2y1rorL

Ukecaster
06-14-2018, 02:06 AM
On tenors with cutaways, I always thought that left hand access to the upper fingerboard was the only benefit, but it seems that not hitting the top on that side with the fingernails would also be a plus.

13down
06-15-2018, 04:37 AM
Interesting to see these replies. A lot of replies match what I've already thought, which is that the extension of the fretboard has no real effect on sound, but that a lot of people do have preferences for visual and tactile reasons.

For visual and tactile reasons, I am team End at the Body. I have wondered if it contributes to the sound, but, especially after reading this thread, I'm thinking that it is an aural placebo effect.

Ukecaster
06-15-2018, 06:04 PM
Lots of it on display in videos on the ukulele site... but here's a bit in this video

https://binged.it/2y1rorL

He picks up there, but I don't see many folks fretting up there, especially on soprano. He is so smooth, no clicks on his fingerboard extensions.

Swamp Yankee
06-16-2018, 02:19 AM
He picks up there, but I don't see many folks fretting up there, especially on soprano. He is so smooth, no clicks on his fingerboard extensions.

Agreed... I don't see many people fretting up there either. Which is one of the reasons I think that fretboard extensions past 15 frets are useless for the vast majority of players... and most players can easily get by with 12.

Not that I believe all ukes should be made that way... but it seems the preponderance of ukes are made with fretboards extending to the soundhole or very near, which is odd if it is indeed true that 95% or so of players never venture anywhere past the 15th fret...especially considering that many players strum or fingerpick over that very fretboard extension.

Yes, good technique can mitigate the negative effects of right hand playing over the fretboard.... but it seems to me it's a solution to a problem that really should not exist in the first place.

ripock
06-16-2018, 03:00 AM
As I said earlier in this thread, I like extension: extended necks, extended fretboards, and extended warranties. I would be interested in how much the extended fretboard muffles the sound of the uke. My un-scientific guess is that it doesn't matter, especially since most players refuse to acknowledge the primacy of the ukulele strap and muffle their soundboards with their forearms anyway.