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Thread: Fingerboard Extensions

  1. #1

    Smile Fingerboard Extensions

    I wonder if in time, new builders will gradually stop putting on extended fingerboard extensions. I know a lot of them do but many don't. When I see a newish mandolin with fairly long extension, either scooped or otherwise I just can't see the point.

    I know Gibson seem to have kept up the tradition of the 'Loar' look but many people scoop these.

    I think the Northfield one is best and less wood, less work. I am biased of course as I play a Northfield Big Mon but I do think their extension looks totally right as do many others.

  2. #2
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingerboard Extensions

    Sorry I'm a traditional Gibson F-5 fan, I say leave well enough alone? I've never had problem with the pick click that those with dog ears think they hear? It goes with the lines of the body of an F-5 perfectly IMHO, I wouldn't buy any mando with a chopped off extension, I don't care who made it? I do like the original F-7's though and they are cut straight but they are also a rare and sweet sounding vintage thing.

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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingerboard Extensions

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmy powells View Post
    ... I know Gibson seem to have kept up the tradition of the 'Loar' look but many people scoop these. ...
    Actually Gibson very comfortably goes both ways... They have a good number of models that do not have extensions.
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    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingerboard Extensions

    Since I lack the skills to play fluently up there (and the ambition to acquire them), I don't miss the florida on the mandolins I have that don't have them. And I do get the occasional pick click on the mandos I have that do have them. So, I wouldn't miss them. I kind of wonder if they could be an option.

    I do see one benefit of the extension on one of my mandolins - it provides a longer area to which one can attach a floating pickguard / fingerrest, thus allowing a two pin or two screw arrangement to have a wider, more stable spacing. But an argument can be made about the necessity of that pickguard, too.
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  6. #5

    Default Re: Fingerboard Extensions

    Hi William. It is maybe down to plectrum technique but I certainly hear it and find it very irritating. I've had many old F4s and when I pick one up I notice immediately. Maybe some people don't have so much plectrum exposed as others and don't notice it.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Fingerboard Extensions

    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    Sorry I'm a traditional Gibson F-5 fan, I say leave well enough alone? I've never had problem with the pick click that those with dog ears think they hear? It goes with the lines of the body of an F-5 perfectly IMHO, I wouldn't buy any mando with a chopped off extension, I don't care who made it? I do like the original F-7's though and they are cut straight but they are also a rare and sweet sounding vintage thing.
    I'm no dog-earred artiste, but I have recordings where the click really distracts from the song, to the point where it's totally unusable. For example, listen to a little of track 1 on this page, "The Ballad of Fenton Baxter," from 1:27 to 2:04. (After that, you almost get used to it.):

    https://www.thefullertons.net/ugly-roomer.html

    There are other problems with that recording that make it a throw-away, but the dern click is definitely a prime culprit.

    Grr. Once again, I'm glad I'm not a pro!

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Fingerboard Extensions

    My first real mandolin order (other than for close friends) I did my swooping fingerboard end with 21 frets instead of a traditional gibson extension. When I sent a picture to the buyer he wrote back that he had to have 24 frets ( a classical player) and it was a deal breaker.
    I was able to sell the mandolin elsewhere but this messed with my mind for some time. I finally decided I was going to make 20 fret boards and you should look elsewhere if that didn't work for you.

  9. #8
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingerboard Extensions

    There's no money above the fifth fret.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingerboard Extensions

    While I like the look of the traditional "Florida" extension, it sure gets in the way. Have you heard some of those Skaggs recordings? Enough pick click to drive you nuts. Both of mine have abbreviated extensions. Now, if I ever order a copy of the Griffith A5 it'll have the full thing!

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  13. #10

    Default Re: Fingerboard Extensions

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    There's no money above the fifth fret.
    That's for guitar. It's the seventh fret for mandolin.

    Not a fan of the DBT as Glassweb calls those scalloped extensions.
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  15. #11

    Smile Re: Fingerboard Extensions

    In reply to Jim Hilburn's comment, yes Classical players are probably the only ones who require the 24 frets. That must have been a real sickener after making the mandolin.

    One thing that did surprise me was that when Sam Bush cut off his fingerboard extension and did it straight across I never liked the shape of that. I would have thought Gibson would have offerred to shape it Florida style but shorter and then when they did the Sam Bush model it would look a bit more like a normal F5, albeit shorter. I have always loved the block pearl look of Sam Bush's mandolin but for an instrument with curls and scrolls I think the 'straight across' cut off extension looks wrong but steady on all you Sam fans, I love everything else about him. He's a good singer as well. Love his song 'Last Letter Home'.

  16. #12
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingerboard Extensions

    Yes I hear pick click from time to time, heck happens to me sometimes but it doesn't drive me too much MAD? I just love the complete package of a traditional 1920's style F-5-the contours and lines, its an instrument in total perfection in looks to me anyway? Just don't like the chopped off board on an F-5. I see Elderly has an older Gil F-5-and yes its chopped! I like the older Gils with the S holes but I wouldn't want it unless for a steal of a price-well even with a Gibson for a deal then I would put a new board on them, as they've already been modified/changed! I don't mind the end scooped! That's nice as well, you still have the lines and if you go with nothing in it, or an inlay or the inlayed flush frets for that optical illusion? I like that!

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  18. #13
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingerboard Extensions

    Ironically, often I hear as much click from a scooped extension as with a non-scooped extension. For example, one of my mandolins has a very nicely scooped extension and I know I'll click on it's upward curve whenever I play high on the strings for tone.

    I can see having a full non-scooped extension if a person routinely frets those notes. But then they aren't going to be picking over the extension. If the action is high enough that a person can routinely pick over a full extension without clicking, the action is probably too high to routinely fret those notes.

    In my mind, the only 100% solution to clicking on the extension is no-extension. But, then people may also click when they hit the top or hit the pickguard or hit whatever else there is to hit.

    Edit: Btw, just to be clear, the full Loar-style extension has 29 frets, doesn't it???
    Last edited by dhergert; Jul-27-2019 at 9:25am.
    -- Don

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  19. #14

    Default Re: Fingerboard Extensions

    I have had the dreaded appendix chopped off two of my F-style mandos.

    There's no joy for me with any more than 19 frets. If I am going to spend a lot of time playing a particular mandolin the Fla. gets ceded from the Union.

    A 29 fret board is an affectation imho. And in my case a real deterrent.
    Last edited by V70416; Jul-27-2019 at 11:02am.

  20. #15
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    Default Re: Fingerboard Extensions

    Some people like to buy cars that have that red line up there high on the tach. Some rev up there sitting in the driveway but will never do that driving because they know they're going to crash. Less dangerous on the mandolin, but for most people, it's not an option. But they still want to see the dial go that high.

  21. #16
    Registered User T.D.Nydn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingerboard Extensions

    Seems to be an epidemic of pick clickers out there....

  22. #17
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fingerboard Extensions

    I'm starting to feel like William, I don't think I'll have my Gibson's "Florida" removed, lol! I had a Gibson F5-G years ago and it had been scooped prior to my owning it. I did a build a while back where I scalloped the extension but I cut slots and put thin ivory binding in the slots giving it the looks of frets without clicking. I'm going to listen to the current mandolin and see if the clicking is a thing for me or not. I honestly haven't noticed it yet.
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