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Thread: Fretboard flush with soundboard

  1. #11
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    Thanks for all those responses.

    ProfChris-I think you've raised some interesting points to directly address my question.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukecaster View Post
    Funny, the 30s/40s Favilla U2 soprano I recently got seems to be a bit different: it appears to have a single piece neck, with no separate fret board, frets installed directly into the neck (i've heard that called Hawaiian style), but the playing surface is raised slightly, it is not flush to the body. Adding to that, to get the small birdsbeak overhang, there appears to be a thin piece of fingerboard added, incorporating the area of the last fret and the overhang. Pics below, but anyone familiar with that build style?
    Attachment 102768
    Attachment 102769
    I think you have a fretboard, but made from the same wood as the neck. Your side view picture is rather blurry but I think I see the glue line.

    I suppose Favilla could just have glued on the birds beak to cover the dovetail joint, but that seems the hard way to do it.

  3. #13
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    I have a Kamaka gold label and the frets are simply installed into the neck, which is flush with the top of the instrument. This is a no nonsense koa wood pineapple and I love it. I have worked for years on banjos and the idea there is usually to have the fretboard flush to the head with the neck angle and bridge creating the action height. It works well. The only negative that I can see is that there is less ability to adjust the bridge height.
    Kamaka pineapple soprano gold label - 1950s
    Kamaka custom soprano, gold label. 1960s?
    Koaloha Opio long neck soprano. 2016
    Mele pineapple soprano - koa and mahogany - modern
    Martin SO, modern, Mexico
    Mainland longneck concert pineapple
    No name concert in koa
    Kamaka tenor - 2002
    Mele, Braddah tenor 1990s
    Slingerland banjolele Maybell - 1920s

  4. #14
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    My gold label Kamaka soprano is the same, frets right into the koa neck, which is flush with the body.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by frianm View Post
    I have a Kamaka gold label and the frets are simply installed into the neck, which is flush with the top of the instrument. This is a no nonsense koa wood pineapple and I love it. I have worked for years on banjos and the idea there is usually to have the fretboard flush to the head with the neck angle and bridge creating the action height. It works well. The only negative that I can see is that there is less ability to adjust the bridge height.
    I think Deering does this. I've seen it on their banjo uke and personally really liked it.
    "If a lot of people play the ukulele, the world would be a better place to live."

  6. #16
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    Interesting, but I think that uke does in fact have a fretboard although it is extremely thin. It seems to me they just put on a thin piece of almost vaneer and then sawed through the thin wood to the neck to make the fret slots. Very quick method no doubt. Hit the neck and stop sawing. Next! I just wonder what the height of the saddle and bridge would be. Low no doubt. String beating on the top would be inevitable. but that might not be a bad thing. The uke after all is almost a percussive instrument and that is part of its sound. Or at least it used to be in its more primitive forms. Now we make little tenor small guitar things.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sequoia View Post
    I just wonder what the height of the saddle and bridge would be. Low no doubt. String beating on the top would be inevitable ...
    Not inevitable at all! I can angle the neck back to produce whatever string height at the saddle I want (usually around 10-12mm, pretty much the same as with a conventional fretboard).

    Angling the neck is really quite simple - if the 12th fret action is to be, say, 2.5mm, then that translates to 5mm at the saddle if the neck is in line with the top. So I decide how much higher I want it - say, 6mm higher to give 11mm total, and then angle the neck back so it's 6mm below the plane of the top at the nut. The simplest method is to place neck and body down on a flat surface and put a 6mm drill bit under the neck at the nut.

    This also works for fretboards - for each mm depth of fretboard, angle it back 1mm less at the nut.

  8. #18
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    This thread speaks to me.

    I own an Ohana SK-28 and I learned to play on it, so now any other uke feels weird to me with the neck raising off of the body. The advantage of a neck that is flush with the body, like on the SK-28 and some old vintage models, for me, is strumming! If you're a fast, hard strummer like me, you may tend to run into the side of the neck when it isn't flush, and that hurts the fingernail. I find the flush necks to be much more forgiving of my strumming. Granted, it may be a matter of refining my technique, but I think there is a reason this was the classic build of a ukulele.

    I also agree that the SK-28 just sounds so much bigger than other ukes, although that may not have so much to do with the flush neck, and that particular sound won't be a fit for everyone. But for me, it's much more comfortable to strum right at that spot where the neck meets the body, and having it flush is a bonus. Anyone know of any other modern ukes using this technique? I'm gonna buy 'em all up

  9. #19
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    I have RISAs that have a zero fret instead of a nut & the frets are set into the neck on that, but it is an electric.
    I have seen ukes with cantilevered fretboards also, presumably to allow the sound board more freedom of movement.
    So, I'm guessing, it was just the way it was done back then.
    Modern factory produced ukes all tend to have separate fretboards, perhaps because it is easier, (& cheaper), to do it that way.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  10. #20
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    Aside from the low string height over the soundboard.....that style would be harder to build. Having a fingerboard that extends over the top hides a lot of joints. Neck/body joint, maybe a tenon or dovetail, and the binding ends. You'd have to have a perfectly fit neck and fingerboard to make that Nunes style look good. Obviously not impossible to do...just harder

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