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Ovader Profile
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Purple fan

Registered: 12-2004
Posts: 288
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Scalloped fretboard opinions


Does anyone have a scalloped fretboard on their guitar(s) and or at least played one in the past? I cannot find such a fretboard in my area to try and determine whether I should have my rosewood fretboard scalloped. The reason I am considering such a custom job is because I read the scalloped fretboard provides the following:

1. Faster playing
2. Smoother note bending
3. Less stress on fingering hand
4. Cleaner, clearer notes
5. More responsive hand-tapping
6. Easier sweep arpeggios
7. Better trills and hammer chords
8. Quicker pull-offs
9. Opens new sounds and techniques, semi-tones, bending whole chords minor thirds, etc.


Do any or all of these nine points offer these benefits from your experience? The only negative aspect I can think of a scalloped fretboard is applying too much pressure on the strings when playing chords because they will go sharp and out of tune.
17/12/2006, 18:36 Link to this post Send Email to Ovader   Send PM to Ovader
 
BlackerThanNight Profile
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Purple fan

Registered: 11-2003
Posts: 1600
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Re: Scalloped fretboard opinions


quote:

Ovader wrote:

Does anyone have a scalloped fretboard on their guitar(s) and or at least played one in the past? I cannot find such a fretboard in my area to try and determine whether I should have my rosewood fretboard scalloped. The reason I am considering such a custom job is because I read the scalloped fretboard provides the following:

1. Faster playing
2. Smoother note bending
3. Less stress on fingering hand
4. Cleaner, clearer notes
5. More responsive hand-tapping
6. Easier sweep arpeggios
7. Better trills and hammer chords
8. Quicker pull-offs
9. Opens new sounds and techniques, semi-tones, bending whole chords minor thirds, etc.


Do any or all of these nine points offer these benefits from your experience? The only negative aspect I can think of a scalloped fretboard is applying too much pressure on the strings when playing chords because they will go sharp and out of tune.



If you are a heavy handed player DON'T bother with scallops. On the other hand if you are a light touch player they make everything better.

It's worth noting that the scallops on the various "Blackmore Signature" guitars bear only a passing resemblence to those on his own guitars, tho they are nice to play. On his own guitars the scallops are much deeper than on the production models. This is becuase for many people the deeper scallops( for some it's any scallops !! ) are un-playable because they have a heavy touch. The same is true of the Malmsteen Signatures, they are not the same as the real thing, as again it has deeper scallops. The scallop is also graduated across the neck, deeper on the hi-E side where as on the Malmsteen it is the same profile from top-bottom E. The Blackmore scallop is easier to play than the Malmsteen, in the first instance.

If you want to get closer to the real thing, you want to find a neck with a 40mm nut width, with a large headstock and shave the back of it to make it thinner, then deep scallop to suit your taste, then it will be getting there. The '68 re-issues have a 40mm nut but only in Maple, not in a rosewood fretboard. The Blackmore bolt-neck Signature guitars have this profile, the set necks have a thicker neck profile.

It might pay you to try one before you go that way, as I know many people who have tried scallops and just can't live with them at all, equally I know others who will play nothing else, because they give a different feel. Again if you are a heavy handed player, DON'T go for scallops.

Hope it helps.

17/12/2006, 20:22 Link to this post Send Email to BlackerThanNight   Send PM to BlackerThanNight
 
Ritchies Strat Profile
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Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 4267
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Re: Scalloped fretboard opinions


quote:

BlackerThanNight wrote:

quote:

Ovader wrote:

Does anyone have a scalloped fretboard on their guitar(s) and or at least played one in the past? I cannot find such a fretboard in my area to try and determine whether I should have my rosewood fretboard scalloped. The reason I am considering such a custom job is because I read the scalloped fretboard provides the following:

1. Faster playing
2. Smoother note bending
3. Less stress on fingering hand
4. Cleaner, clearer notes
5. More responsive hand-tapping
6. Easier sweep arpeggios
7. Better trills and hammer chords
8. Quicker pull-offs
9. Opens new sounds and techniques, semi-tones, bending whole chords minor thirds, etc.


Do any or all of these nine points offer these benefits from your experience? The only negative aspect I can think of a scalloped fretboard is applying too much pressure on the strings when playing chords because they will go sharp and out of tune.



If you are a heavy handed player DON'T bother with scallops. On the other hand if you are a light touch player they make everything better.

It's worth noting that the scallops on the various "Blackmore Signature" guitars bear only a passing resemblence to those on his own guitars, tho they are nice to play. On his own guitars the scallops are much deeper than on the production models. This is becuase for many people the deeper scallops( for some it's any scallops !! ) are un-playable because they have a heavy touch. The same is true of the Malmsteen Signatures, they are not the same as the real thing, as again it has deeper scallops. The scallop is also graduated across the neck, deeper on the hi-E side where as on the Malmsteen it is the same profile from top-bottom E. The Blackmore scallop is easier to play than the Malmsteen, in the first instance.

If you want to get closer to the real thing, you want to find a neck with a 40mm nut width, with a large headstock and shave the back of it to make it thinner, then deep scallop to suit your taste, then it will be getting there. The '68 re-issues have a 40mm nut but only in Maple, not in a rosewood fretboard. The Blackmore bolt-neck Signature guitars have this profile, the set necks have a thicker neck profile.

It might pay you to try one before you go that way, as I know many people who have tried scallops and just can't live with them at all, equally I know others who will play nothing else, because they give a different feel. Again if you are a heavy handed player, DON'T go for scallops.

Hope it helps.




 I'm not looking for another pissing match with you and can agree with a lot of what you have said about the scalloped fretboards. However, I think that if you are a heavy handed player, like I think Ritchie can be, then the scalloped fretboard is a good idea. It goes both ways. When you see Ritchie take a note and bend it a full step and a half or watch him vibrate with one finger as much as anyone using a tremolo bar, you have to realize that it's done with a heavy hand. Then again, when you hear some of the delicate. country like picking with such a clean and precise sound as on something like Anyones Daughter from CHOHW, you can also realize the delicate fingering that it must take to just hit the note at the fret without pressing down to the wood in the scallop. The scalloped fretboard, I think has it's advantages to both the heavy handed player and the light touch player. You can also hear the differences in a riff like Lazy, where it takes a lot of finger strength to bend that E on the B string one step up at the lower frets while still being delicate enough to blend the B,C to high F on the top two strings and make it sound clear like he does.
 I haven't played the Widdlevie guitar nor have I seen it so I won't comment on it. I also have not played Ritchies personal Strat so I won't be commenting on those differences either.
 Let's not turn this into a pissing match though.

---
"Every time she goes Vavoom,
I wiggle in my chair"- excerpt from the book 'Things a Grown Man Should Never Say'.
19/12/2006, 1:54 Link to this post Send Email to Ritchies Strat   Send PM to Ritchies Strat
 
BlackerThanNight Profile
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Purple fan

Registered: 11-2003
Posts: 1600
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Re: Scalloped fretboard opinions


I have no desire to turn any topic into a "pissing match" whatever that may be, but I have to completely disagree with you about Ritchie being heavy handed, absolutely nothing could be further from it.

Ritchie has the lighest touch ever, as he even explains in many interviews and is obvious when you see him playing live, it's why so much of his playing is so delicate and precise. You just don't play his style with a heavy hand. Ritchie is NOT a heavy handed player and bending notes, if it's done properly, does NOT require a heavy hand at all! You seem to be confusing finger strength with being heavy handed and they simply are two totally different things entirely. Finger strength has nothing to do with being heavy handed at all. So you understand what I mean with "heavy handed" I'm talking about the type of player who will grip the neck right around and typically will play full barre chords with a finger right across the neck and the thumb wrapped round like a vice as well!!

String tension plays a huge part in the way a guitar feels when you play it. I suspect you may not be entirely aware of the part this has to play in the overall playing experience. I'd surmise that Ritchie will have his own guitars set-up such that the string tensions suits his "feel" and that he will have them feel as slack as is possible within the scale length of the Strat. This will make bending, as you describe, virtually effortless overall. Even a quarter millimetre of difference +/- in string tension will register hugely with the feel and playability of an instrument, if you can't feel that difference then you're not a light touch player. This is why it's important to find a brand/gauge of strings that give you the best playing feel and the best tension to suit your taste and then stick with that brand/gauge all the time.

It's generally accepted that someone who is "heavy handed" would refer to their overall grip on the neck. Someone who is heavy handed would try to press the strings to the wood every time, regardless of the scallops or not. Basically someone who is heavy handed or has a tight grip will NOT find scallops satisfactory as they will constantly alter the pitch marginally and the guitar will always sound out of tune. Scallops are intended to give greater string control, they are not supposed to be there so you can press the string too the wood!! Heavy handed players find scallops a nightmare, because as they try to press the strings to the wood the string works like cheese wire and feels terrible.

A lot of heavy handed players I know just can't get on with Stratocasters at all, never mind with scallops. They tend to stick to Gibsons becuase they have a fatter club like neck that suits the style. Also these guys are usually 3 finger players as well

For your interest Lazy was almost certianly recorded originally using a Gibson 335 as were many of the tracks around that transition time.

 
19/12/2006, 12:37 Link to this post Send Email to BlackerThanNight   Send PM to BlackerThanNight
 
Ritchies Strat Profile
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Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 4267
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Re: Scalloped fretboard opinions


quote:

BlackerThanNight wrote:


For your interest Lazy was almost certianly recorded originally using a Gibson 335 as were many of the tracks around that transition time.

 



It's been well documented that Lazy was originally recorded with the Gibson. I guess our opinion of a heavy handed player is quite different because when I see Ritchie grab that note during Tearin Out My Heart on Live Between The Eyes and vibrate it to the point that would make any whammy bar thrill seeker take notice, I tend to see a heavy hand pressing on wood. Maybe I haven't looked close enough. However, as I explained, I know that Ritchie also has a very delicate touch to be able to play as clean and precise as he does as evidenced on Anyones Daughter during CHOHW.


---
"Every time she goes Vavoom,
I wiggle in my chair"- excerpt from the book 'Things a Grown Man Should Never Say'.
19/12/2006, 15:14 Link to this post Send Email to Ritchies Strat   Send PM to Ritchies Strat
 
niji Profile
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Purple fan

Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 1133
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Re: Scalloped fretboard opinions


Well, scallopping a neck is a permanent change to your instrument, so I suggest that you either buy a cheap guitar to try it or do a very light scallop. You can always make it deeper later if you find out that you like it.


19/12/2006, 18:03 Link to this post Send Email to niji   Send PM to niji
 
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Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 4267
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Re: Scalloped fretboard opinions


quote:

niji wrote:

Well, scallopping a neck is a permanent change to your instrument, so I suggest that you either buy a cheap guitar to try it or do a very light scallop. You can always make it deeper later if you find out that you like it.




 Good advise. Even Fender, when they were making the American Custom shop model took two years to complete the first run of 25 because, even though they had a CNC programmed lathe to do it, ruined the intonation of the first few batches and it took quite a while to get it right. I ordered mine when it was first introduced at NAMM and it took two years to the month before they were finally able to release the first one to me.
 BTW, just to brag a bit, I do have the first one released as I was in touch with the cell leader of the manufacturing dept at Fender all during the production of it and was assured that mine was the first one to be released and he sent me many extras to compensate for my patience.
 OK BTN, bring it on and callous your fingertips with an overabundance of typing, I have it and you don't so don't try to make me feel bad for paying for it. I love it and that's all there is to it.



Last edited by Ritchies Strat, 20/12/2006, 2:05


---
"Every time she goes Vavoom,
I wiggle in my chair"- excerpt from the book 'Things a Grown Man Should Never Say'.
20/12/2006, 2:02 Link to this post Send Email to Ritchies Strat   Send PM to Ritchies Strat
 
Strabo1 Profile
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Purple fan

Registered: 04-2004
Posts: 24
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Re: Scalloped fretboard opinions


Whilst I feel I might be skipping into a war zone here, nonetheless I bear my own modest $0.02, and here they be:

much of what the original poster attributes to scalloped fretboards is largely true - I would be interested to see how much they help tapping techniques - presumably it is just easier to finger-tap on a wire and pull off without friction from the wood beneath? I don't really do much tapping, but having just tried I didn't notice touching the fretboard beneath the string over much.

I would submit that BTN is substantially correct, however, with the notion that a "light touch" is necessary for routine use of such a fretboard - if you are a Bruce Springsteen or Billy Bragg, you will routinely bend the strings sharp (Billy Bragg's guitar technician is apparently the only person who knows just how _flat_ to tune the open strings of Bragg's telecaster so that they are in tune when he grabs then neck and squeezes it half to death playing barre chords). The ability to avoid squeezing too hard by accident is how I understand what BTN suggests - is there any other interpretation? Things like mad bending and mad vibrato, as in the examples above, would not seem to me routine, and of course require more pressure, but then by the same token, rather the point of these exercises is to vary the pitch of the note. Ritchie has a very light touch, not least as he can play such light strings on a scalloped neck and stay in tune.

I love my scalloped neck strats, not least as I don't have terribly strong fingers (and thus, like it or not, a light touch!) and find it so much easier to control bends and vibrato now; it was more a necessity for me than any kind of homage!

Edited to add: I would also be interested to learn how the scalloping affects the intonation of a guitar, as I can't quite follow this.

Last edited by Strabo1, 21/12/2006, 15:59
21/12/2006, 15:57 Link to this post Send Email to Strabo1   Send PM to Strabo1
 
niji Profile
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Purple fan

Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 1133
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Re: Scalloped fretboard opinions


Well, scalloping and intonation are two completely unrelated things. (pretty much like blaming the guitar doesn't stay in tune because of the cheap tone pots)

I also doubt it took the Fender guys two years to fix the problem. they are not THAT incompetent...

Whatever they told you Brian it was probably business related stuff that held the production back.
21/12/2006, 16:05 Link to this post Send Email to niji   Send PM to niji
 
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Purple fan

Registered: 04-2004
Posts: 24
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Re: Scalloped fretboard opinions


This is where I was gently going with my innocent question - mind you, if they were trying to do it on a lathe, it is no wonder they took two years to work it out!

Probably, Ritchie kept asking for more money every year.

Eddie-Ted for Thai-ping.

Last edited by Strabo1, 21/12/2006, 16:40
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