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Thread: Does the Fretboard extension effect the tone significantly

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    Default Does the Fretboard extension effect the tone significantly

    My mandolin was an International Violin Kit. When I talked to Ken at IV before I bought the kit, he mentioned that they had sent off Siminoff's book to the Chinese factory as a pattern for building the final kit. The funny thing in retrospect, is that the attachment of the neck/fingerboard is not the one in the Siminoff book. There is NO separate fretboard extension, The neck extends over the top and is glued to it in an F4 fashion and NOT in an F5 Loyd Loar kind of way. This brings up an interesting question for me. There is an obvious difference in tone with the oval versus F hole configuration between the F4 and F5 but what difference in tone does the separate fingerboard extension make? I understand the the original spec from Loar was for an ebony extension but how does this effect the tone of the instrument especially considering that it seems to me that it would have been much cheaper/easier for Gibson to have manufactured the F5 with the same neck body connection over the top as the F4? Loar must have come up with that configuration for a reason?

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    Resonate globally Pete Jenner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does the Fretboard extension effect the tone significantly

    I assume when you say tone you mean timbre.
    None. IMO of course.
    The more I learn, the less I know.

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    Registered User Steve Sorensen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does the Fretboard extension effect the tone significantly

    On "parallel-braced", Loar-like F and A style instruments, the graduations and subsequent movement of the top and tonebars in the area approaching and underneath the fingerboard extender support block are critical for the final tone and responsiveness of the of the instrument.

    Try picking the A string on a well-made mandolin and then pressing your finger lightly against the top in several places in the upper bout around the extender area. You will hear the tone shift and certain frequencies become dampened or killed.

    Steve

  4. #4

    Default Re: Does the Fretboard extension effect the tone significantly

    I can understand that if pressure is placed on the top, it would change the acoustic dynamics but is there a difference between a fretboard extended over the top by an extension of the neck (F4) as opposed to a separate piece of hardwood (in loars case Ebony) the is added on (F5)?

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    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does the Fretboard extension effect the tone significantly

    There was a period in the early production of Flatiron (Festival model?) mandolins where the soundboard carve integrated with the fingerboard extension. I have found these to be much quieter than the models with the tradional/usual extension.
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

  6. #6

    Default Re: Does the Fretboard extension effect the tone significantly

    Stuart's characterization of the IV kit being like an F-4 is not accurate. An F-4 had the fretboard resting directly on a thickened area of the top. The IV kit has an extension, it is just part of the neck instead of a separate piece. Being part of the maple neck it is a hard wood.
    Bill Snyder

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    Default Re: Does the Fretboard extension effect the tone significantly

    Quote Originally Posted by jim simpson View Post
    There was a period in the early production of Flatiron (Festival model?) mandolins where the soundboard carve integrated with the fingerboard extension. I have found these to be much quieter than the models with the tradional/usual extension.
    I have a 96 Flatiron with the integrated top and a 96 flatiron with the usual. The integrated is a much better box. Everything is a variable. They all sound different no way to predict.
    Jean

    Pair of 96 Flatiron Fs

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    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does the Fretboard extension effect the tone significantly

    I don't know but if you remove it or mess with it this will effect resale price. I won't even consider a fingerboard that has been scooped out. How ridiculous. As Mr. Monroe said when he found out mandoin pickers were destroying the end of the fingerboards "Why that ain't no part of nothin' ". I bet Mr. Loar would say the same thing! Learn to hold your pick right!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Does the Fretboard extension effect the tone significantly

    Seems like I have heard of one well known builder from down under who carves the top plates in such a way as to provide an integral fingerboard extension support.

    Scott

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    Default Re: Does the Fretboard extension effect the tone significantly

    Wayne Benson says the florida adds zing to the E string. Me like me some zing.

  11. #11

    Default Does the Fretboard extension effect the tone significantly

    Warning, cutting off the fretboard extension will make the instrument:

    1) Unplayable
    2) Unsellable
    3) Unsightly


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    Default Re: Does the Fretboard extension effect the tone significantly

    2 and 3, little argument.

    1 not so clear.

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    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does the Fretboard extension effect the tone significantly

    Quote Originally Posted by f5loar View Post
    I don't know but if you remove it or mess with it this will effect resale price. I won't even consider a fingerboard that has been scooped out. How ridiculous. As Mr. Monroe said when he found out mandoin pickers were destroying the end of the fingerboards "Why that ain't no part of nothin' ". I bet Mr. Loar would say the same thing! Learn to hold your pick right!
    Bill preferred a "manly" action - so do I - which really (to me and on all of my mandolins) makes a difference in tone, mainly of the e-string. So, does a removed extension make a difference in tone? I wouldn't think so for a second, especially not in terms of better or worse. (Gray is all theory.) But it sure makes a difference in value - to me at least, I wouldn't buy it. That said, Stephen Gilchrist offered a (shorter) F4 style extension on his F5s. That would be my compromise.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Does the Fretboard extension effect the tone significantly

    I'd like to bring things back on topic if possible. I guess that I need to put it a bit differently. On one hand, you have a system that extend the neck over and glued to the top and the fingerboard sits on top of it. The vibrations of the instrument are continuous down the neck from the end of the fingerboard to the nut. The other system ends the neck at the edge of the top but had a separate hardwood "extender" screwed down and/or glued to the top that lays under and supports the fretboard as it extends past the neck joint. These two pieces I imagine transfer vibration quite differently from the extended neck over the top. To add to that, there is a piece of thin flat bone that separates the two pieces. Additionally, in Loar's case the F5's had maple necks and ebony fingerboard support extensions. It just seems logical that this difference might effect the sound considerably. I'm just trying to find out what that might be (although I am also enjoying the off topic conversations

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    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does the Fretboard extension effect the tone significantly

    If you compare Gibson early 50's F12 with board to the body, vs an early 50's F5 with Loar style board there is a huge difference in the sound. The F5 of coarse being superior in sound to that F12. Later on Gibson elevated the F12 while still keeping it short.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Does the Fretboard extension effect the tone significantly

    Quote Originally Posted by f5loar View Post
    I don't know but if you remove it or mess with it this will effect resale price. I won't even consider a fingerboard that has been scooped out. How ridiculous. As Mr. Monroe said when he found out mandoin pickers were destroying the end of the fingerboards "Why that ain't no part of nothin' ". I bet Mr. Loar would say the same thing! Learn to hold your pick right!
    If old Lloyd was that uptight and enamored about the F5, why was his personal instrument a ten string mandola that used several different non-standard tunings and a shortened fingerboard????????

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