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View Full Version : Can you 'wear out' a fingerboard?



rreffner
06-02-2009, 02:08 AM
Specifically the 3-4 frets? Can any repairs be done? Mahalo

ukulelebadass
06-02-2009, 02:38 AM
You can certainly wear down a finger-board, and the frets can become worn. Just like with anything the constant application of pressure and friction can wear out parts of your instrument.

I have also seen fretboards become warped, or detached from the neck.

A decent instrument repair shop should be able to help you out with whatever issues you are having with your uke.

spots
06-02-2009, 05:43 AM
As shared above, yes it happens and yes it can be repaired. But sometimes repairs aren't worth it given the cost of the repair versus the grade/quality of the instrument.

I have a 20 year old banjo where frets 1-5 are notched at most of the string locations. In addition certain frets are also worn down flat to the fretboard due to years of bending certain strings. The notches on the nut where the thinner strings run have become more deeply etched over the years. The fingerboard itself shows finger and nail wear marks in certain heavily used locations.

It's all part of the normal wear and tear of playing an instrument.

ukulelebadass
06-02-2009, 05:56 AM
As shared above, yes it happens and yes it can be repaired. But sometimes repairs aren't worth it given the cost of the repair versus the grade/quality of the instrument.


Yes, good point if you are playing a Mahalo, chances are it will be cheaper to replace it than to get it fixed. On the other hand if you're playing enough to wear through the frets it may be time to consider upgrading to a more serious instrument!

If you like the Mahalo, Fender makes some pretty nice instruments to Mahalo specs.

Ukuleleblues
06-03-2009, 11:57 AM
Specifically the 3-4 frets? Can any repairs be done? Mahalo


What do you mean by worn? The wood or the frets, are they just flat on top, etc.

Ahnko Honu
06-03-2009, 12:09 PM
I recently bought a 37 year old Kamaka pineapple that has wear on both the fretboard and the fret wire. The finish under the neck was also worn to bare wood. One of the previous owners obviously play it a whole lot. I'm leaving it as-is for character since it doesn't effect the playability. :shaka:

Uncle-Taco
06-03-2009, 01:10 PM
Worn frets are easy for a qualified luthier to replace.
Worn wood on the fretboard is just beauty and love.

rreffner
06-04-2009, 01:32 AM
What do you mean by worn? The wood or the frets, are they just flat on top, etc.

I mean the fretboard wood. Indentations in the wood from playing.

Ukuleleblues
06-04-2009, 12:38 PM
I mean the fretboard wood. Indentations in the wood from playing.

I have an old bluebird uke that has worn spots like that in the wood. It doesn't affect how it plays. I know whay it's worn, cause it plays so nice, someone played the heck out of it. Enjoy it, it probably is a great sounding uke.

ukantor
06-04-2009, 01:30 PM
I once bought a uke from a very old man. It was the only uke he had ever owned, and he had played it so much that the fret board was really worn. The sad thing is that it sounded HORRIBLE - he never knew what a good uke can sound like.

Ukantor.

Ukuleleblues
06-04-2009, 03:49 PM
I once bought a uke from a very old man. It was the only uke he had ever owned, and he had played it so much that the fret board was really worn. The sad thing is that it sounded HORRIBLE - he never knew what a good uke can sound like.

Ukantor. Thats funny, at least it had a lot of good mojo.

Bender
06-08-2009, 06:56 PM
I have a used "vintage" Harmony that has a plastic fretboard, and yes, frets near the top of the A-string are noticeably worn. I don't think it affects the playability much if at all...if I can find a replacement fret board for it at some point in the future, I might replace it but I'm not too worried.

danged
06-09-2009, 06:38 PM
I have a vintage Kamaka 6 string which was called the Lillilu model by Kamaka. The finger board and neck are the same piece of wood, the frets were installed right on the neck. It's not in playable condition, some cracks in the body and the finger board is heavily worn, just like old piano keys where the wood is showing through the ivory, similar to many guitar players wearing holes on the guitar tops from strumming.