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Post new topic Fretboard question. Tapered or straight?
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Author Topic:  Fretboard question. Tapered or straight?
Gerald K. Robbins


From:
South Coast Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 8 Jun 2024 4:55 pm    
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Is there any advantage to having a tapered fretboard? String spacing smaller at the nut than the bridge.

Is there any advantage to a straight board ? String spacing at the nut the same as at the bridge.

It seems as if most of the name brand guitars have a taper,
And many of the self built steels are straight.

kentr
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Peter Jacobs


From:
Northern Virginia
Post  Posted 9 Jun 2024 5:05 pm    
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I prefer tapered with 11/32” spacing at the nut, but a lot of players prefer 3/8”. I find I can play faster and cleaner, and move the bar from string to string more accurately with the taper. But that’s just me and how I play. Whatever works for you is what’s right. Very Happy
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Peter
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www.splinterville.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@splinterville6278/videos
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Jeff Highland

 

From:
New South Wales, Australia
Post  Posted 9 Jun 2024 11:20 pm    
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I don't find it affects me greatly, I go from tapered on my vintage Valcos to parallel on my Duesenberg readily.
A wide nut reduces the bar angle for slants.
On my builds I go wide but not completely straight, mainly because I prefer the aesthetics.
_________________
Duesenberg Fairytale
1949 Supro Supreme
1950 National New Yorker
2008 Highland Baritone Weissenborn
2020 Highland New Yorker.
2020 Highland Mohan Veena
2021 Highland Weissencone
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Gerald K. Robbins


From:
South Coast Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 10 Jun 2024 7:36 am    
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My second lap steel in under construction.
Planning on 10 strings, mostly because i have 10 matching tuners and a fretboard blank that is wide enough.

Is good to hear that both straight and tapered work.
i'm still finding it difficult to go back and forth between the 3/8" at the bridge sized spacing I'm used to with banjo
and the somewhat wider spacing on the Weissenborn.

So it will be 3/8" at the bridge.
I do like the "look" of a slight taper to the neck, but have read over and again the the same sized spacing helps with slants.

11/32 spacing at the nut might be a good choice. Right now there is still time to decide.

Here is a pic of the inlays to be used.

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Peter Jacobs


From:
Northern Virginia
Post  Posted 10 Jun 2024 6:28 pm    
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Those inlays look great, Gerald! One more data point: my Supro’s nut is 11/32 for the lower 4 strings but 10/32 between strings 1 and 2 (quality control!) — I got a Tusq pre-cut dobro nut and now they are all even at 11/32.

I don’t slant often, so I don’t have a lot to add there. But hey, I’m also a banjo player!
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Peter
---------
www.splinterville.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@splinterville6278/videos
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Gerald K. Robbins


From:
South Coast Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 11 Jun 2024 4:32 pm    
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Thanks Peter for your reply,

I did choose 11/32 for the nut spacing so there will be a slight taper on the neck.

My Quality control will aim right there, but I am not a pro builder, and my eyesite is slipping.

Don't worry about not playing banjo, there are lots of folks who do NOT want to ever hear one.
I can not blame them, many banjo players have never learned to play "with" other people.
After 35 years I would classify myself in the solid beginner + range. However I have had some success playing with others.

The inlays are in. Most of the bloopers have been filled and sanded. The profile has been cut.

Today I went to the local building supply to find some kind of board for a cabinet.
To my great suprise, they had one odd board that was not like anything they have there.
VERY curly. It was sold to me as Camaru, but as we searched the net for pics the only match was Presentation Curly Pyinma.

I can't even pronounce that. It should make a very unique cabinet.
Plans include a set of "store bought" legs and sockets for a stand up console.
The Lawrence 705 is being shipped out today.

This second build will get more time and attention than the first.

Here is the fretboard / neck, and the neck resting on the cabinet top. Still needs binding and frets.





Last edited by Gerald K. Robbins on 14 Jun 2024 7:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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Peter Jacobs


From:
Northern Virginia
Post  Posted 14 Jun 2024 3:32 am    
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Very nice — that’s beautiful wood!
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Peter
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www.splinterville.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@splinterville6278/videos
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Gerald K. Robbins


From:
South Coast Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 14 Jun 2024 7:45 am    
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Thanks Peter,
The wood is beautiful. My wife sanded a small corner and wet it down. the curly really shows up.
And I was able to buy it quite by accident. The building supply stopped selling hardwoods many years ago.

Curly maple might have been better, but I had no access, and that would have cost more.

This is still a budget project, even if the total $ will be just under $500. The biggest cost will be the wood, the 705 pickup, and console legs.
I had the tuners, the ebony fretboard blank, the fretwire,the pearl blanks and humming birds, and binding. That cost will not be added in.

I did save lots of time and $ by using used, all inline, low end tuners and a simple straight line mount.
They will work fine, and there is no intent to sell this guitar. I am not a pro, just have an interest in building things.

Here are pics of progress.



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Bill Groner


From:
QUAKERTOWN, PA
Post  Posted 14 Jun 2024 8:04 am    
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You do some mighty fine looking work sir! Thanks for sharing (and hopefully continue sharing) till completion!
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Currently own, 6 Groner-tone lap steels, one 1953 Alamo Lap steel, Roland Cube, Fender Champion 40
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Gerald K. Robbins


From:
South Coast Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 14 Jun 2024 3:18 pm    
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Thank you Bill,

My main goal in sharing this build is this, If i can encougage some one who is considering building a lap steel to do so,
the time spent will be well spent.

There is joy in playing an instrument that is 'home built'.

It does not need to be 100 %, the best, cost the most, or compare to the fine instruments built by pro builders to be fun to build,
and fun to play.

If you can afford to buy one, that's great. There are plenty of great instruments for sale, new and used.

If you cannot afford to buy, or want to try your hand at building, why not?

There are also lots of parts available to complete your build if needed or wanted.

My time with building goes back to 1988. And every build has something that could have been done better.
So anything built today reflects trying to correct all those mistakes.

From my point of view, it was worth the trouble.

gkentr
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Bill Groner


From:
QUAKERTOWN, PA
Post  Posted 14 Jun 2024 3:34 pm    
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Totally agree. I built 13 over the years and still have 8. The one pictured in my Avatar I regret selling.
_________________
Currently own, 6 Groner-tone lap steels, one 1953 Alamo Lap steel, Roland Cube, Fender Champion 40
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Gerald K. Robbins


From:
South Coast Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 15 Jun 2024 6:21 pm    
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As I started out asking about "tapered or straight' for a fretboard, I might add that I wound up with a slightly tapered
fretboard, and 11/32 " string spacing for nut and bridge.

The nut spacing was to match the fretboard taper,
the same spacing at the bridge was needed to allow the strings to fit the 705 pickup after it arrived.

Here are shots of todays progress.

gkentr






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Jouni Karvonen


From:
Helsinki, Finland
Post  Posted 16 Jun 2024 1:57 am    
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Mine, with parallel


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Gerald K. Robbins


From:
South Coast Oregon, USA
Post  Posted 16 Jun 2024 2:00 pm    
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Those still look great Journi,

So I ended up with the strings striaght, spaced at 11/32 " nut and bridge, just the fretboard has a slight taper.

What tuning on the 12 srting ?

kentr
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Jouni Karvonen


From:
Helsinki, Finland
Post  Posted 16 Jun 2024 8:52 pm    
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