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Thread: Remove Frets & Scoop

  1. #1
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    Default Remove Frets & Scoop

    I searched but could not find specific info. I just bought an Eastman MD305. Question: Could/would it be possible or advisable to have maybe 6 frets removed and what about it being scooped? I really like the tone playing up the neck on some tunes but frets I'd never use are in the way.

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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    I never advise against removing part of your instrument's upper range...but that's my minority opinion.

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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    When you say playing up the neck, are you referring to fretting notes, or actually picking/strumming over the end of the fretboard? That mandolin and many other Eastman (and other major brands) already have a shortened fretboard because 99% of players don’t use those highest frets, but do like the ability to pick closer to the sweet spot.

    If the highest frets are causing issues with your fretted notes, like buzzes or dead notes, you need a fret job, not a removal. It would be relatively easy for a luthier to 1) address just the offending frets, 2) level all your frets as part of a full setup, or 3) create a uniform “drop-off” after the 15th fret but keep the frets in place.

    If it’s your picking hand that’s the issue... maybe practice not digging in as much. I like the warm tone over the end of the fretboard but use it as an effect, not as my standard playing position.

    It’s your instrument and you can do what you want, but removing frets on an already shortened fretboard would be unorthodox. It sounds like there’s a conventional problem and solution to your issue.

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    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    Mine came from the builder scooped. I think those that aren't may be due to the extra work involved. It is a personal decision tho. I prefer the look of a scooped Florida myself, and hate the pick click on those that are not.
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  8. #6

    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    If you would never use them and they're in the way, go for it. It's your mandolin to alter to your preferences. Besides, it's not a very high dollar instrument although a nice starter.

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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    Learn to play it as is,,

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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    If you remove the frets, you’ll have to have it scooped at least as far as the bottom of the fret slots.

    If you don’t use the frets why not? I have a mandolin with a scooped florida and the original builder inlayed frets for purely visual reasons beyond the 21 real frets. My Kimble has 22 frets and I don’t miss there not being a florida. My two vintage Gibsons each have 20 frets and I’ve never heard of anyone complaining that those should have a few more.

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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    well it was just a thought anyway, tks for the answers, no biggie...I just got the mandolin a week ago today and slowly learning a few things, I can hear it just finding it is another thing. So I'll go out on a limb here as I know all you guy's/gal's can play and this is just a newbie's attempt and all wrong but just what I was hearing at the time this morning...help

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bPN...ew?usp=sharing
    Last edited by CBFrench; Jul-06-2019 at 2:40pm.

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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Mine came from the builder scooped. I think those that aren't may be due to the extra work involved. It is a personal decision tho. I prefer the look of a scooped Florida myself, and hate the pick click on those that are not.
    I would think it more work to fret the Florida than scoop it but regardless it is a matter of choice. Ray just blocked off the end of my Dearstone, no Florida like it fine, my Kentucky 900 has Florida, fully fretted, like it fine, if it bothers you modify it. If I was to modify mine I'd chop it off, I personally don't like the looks of the scoop YMMV

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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    Quote Originally Posted by lenf12 View Post
    If you would never use them and they're in the way, go for it. It's your mandolin to alter to your preferences. Besides, it's not a very high dollar instrument although a nice starter.
    So how does a "newbie" know that they are never going to use the upper register frets?

    I can understand folks that have been playing mandolin in certain styles long enough to know they are not going to use those frets, but there's still a chance that the OP may one day want to learn to play something that does use the higher register.

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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    But, as I implied, not all mandolins have them anyway. Frets up in “dog whistle” territory seem to be the preserve of instuments with floridas and some bowlbacks.

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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    Fully fretted, always.

    I find it curious that the affectation of removing frets and scooping hasn't hit the guitar world but seems to be prevalent with mandolin and banjo (frailing/clawhammer)

    This to me is like removing the last few chapters of a book.

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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Hildreth View Post
    Fully fretted, always.

    I find it curious that the affectation of removing frets and scooping hasn't hit the guitar world but seems to be prevalent with mandolin and banjo (frailing/clawhammer)

    This to me is like removing the last few chapters of a book.
    I can understand the frailing/clawhammer folks , to a certain extent they don't play much way up the neck past the 12th fret anyway.

    I have never seen guitar players remove upper frets.

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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    An alternative to scooping the extension is to pull the frets, fill the slots with maple purfling strips or plastic binding material, and sand the strips flush to the top of the extension.

    This process is reversible. To reinstall the frets, a Dremel with a jeweler's bit in a router base can be used to clean the maple strips out of the slots. The bit will cut through the maple or plastic without cutting out any significant amount of fingerboard material. I have used this technique to remove the flush plastic "frets" on a couple of Hawaiian guitar conversions.

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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    Tks rcc56, no merit debates, just straight answer. There is absolutely nothing but a muted thump coming from last six frets no matter how hard they’re depressed. Sounds like a good option on this one to simply remove those few frets

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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    That F5 extension looks really wonderful to my eye; I'd never scoop it. I found that it's the large (triangular) picks, which produce the clicking noise, hardly the smaller ones.

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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    Quote Originally Posted by CBFrench View Post
    Tks rcc56, no merit debates, just straight answer. There is absolutely nothing but a muted thump coming from last six frets no matter how hard they’re depressed. Sounds like a good option on this one to simply remove those few frets
    True, especially on an F-5 with a long extension. But the original poster's mandolin is a 23 fret instrument, not a 29 or 30 fret instrument like some F-5's. He may want those high notes later.

    I have been known to go up and get a high C or even a high D, but not very often. On my 24 fret instrument, I removed the 23rd fret [Dave Apollon style] so I can get a clear E if I want it.

    Anyway, it only takes a few minutes to inlay and level the strips, and it looks better than leaving the empty slots. And, at least for those of us who are experienced with fret work, this method is quicker, easier, and less invasive than scooping the board.

    It's just another alternative, which happens to be reversible.

    Another approach would be to cut off the fingerboard at fret 19 or 20, but I don't recommend it, for a number of reasons.
    Last edited by rcc56; Jul-07-2019 at 2:41pm.

  26. #19

    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    Quote Originally Posted by CBFrench View Post
    I searched but could not find specific info. I just bought an Eastman MD305. Question: Could/would it be possible or advisable to have maybe 6 frets removed and what about it being scooped? I really like the tone playing up the neck on some tunes but frets I'd never use are in the way.
    No.

    Take the money and use it on lessons, if you are hearing pick click you’re digging in too deep and it’s poor technique. No amount of scooping will fix that.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    As a resident of the sunshine state, I take offense at those of you who want to cut off Florida! (Just kidding).
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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    Here is every thread with the word Scoop in it on the Cafe. I scooped my Gibson F5G years ago. I started out using the Frank Ford method found here. I removed mine because I kept hitting it with my pick. It's a personal decision that you should make after you play a bit and see if it's a problem. I never ever found myself even trying to hit a note that far up on the fretboard. Even Dave Appolon who is the only person I know of that regularly used any of those frets removed one fret so he could actually fret that note.
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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    I posted this thought in my Peghead Nation thread awhile back. I noticed that my picking was slower and my pick tip was getting caught on the strings more. So I decided to practice while playing over the fretboard. Slow and careful to get clean picking without hitting the fretboard. Man is that hard but I also notice that my picking speed was picking up and my pick wasn't getting caught int he strings anymore. I think it is a valid exercise practicing over the fretboard and working on not hitting the strings. I think my problem was I was sewing machining my picking hand, too much verticle movement from the strings, so I was digging in too much. Just a thought and it certainly isn't easy but it is a good exercise and you may find you do not need to scoop after doing this for a few months.
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  33. #23

    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    Quote Originally Posted by tbown View Post
    As a resident of the sunshine state, I take offense at those of you who want to cut off Florida! (Just kidding).
    Ha! I am from So. FL and specifically wanted the Florida on my mando!
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    I had the floridectomy done on my Paris Swing. The florida was right under the sweet spot and constantly got in the way.

    Since the whole idea of the Paris Swing is its style and look, I had the scooped florida fitted with faux frets. Retained the cool look.

    Had it been a much better mandolin I might not have had it done, but as it is, it gets played a whole lot more than it would have without the operation.
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  35. #25
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Remove Frets & Scoop

    There is no Florida on an Eastman MD305 (see below). It is a pretty stumpy extension. However, if it really bothers you I would do what rcc56 suggests esp if it is reversible. A friend of mine has a Gibson A-5 and it does have a Florida and I can see how that can get in the way. All my mandolins don't have that but I do play up the neck at times and would find a way to play around that problem but that is just me.

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