fingerboard support piece

September 24, 2008 at 09:06 PM · Looking for those small blocks that you can put under the fingerboard of the violin to protect the fingerboard from lowering when the violin is not being played. Anyone know where to get one?

Replies (23)

September 24, 2008 at 10:06 PM · Whaaaaa?

I've never heard of these(s).....

September 24, 2008 at 10:31 PM · I've never heard of them either and there's probably a reason for that. I'd imagine they would somewhat change sound projection and tone etc

September 24, 2008 at 11:12 PM · They are not used very much any more. You can make your own custom wedge. Stack several very thin pieces of cardboard cut to about 3/4" by 3". Wrap them in wax paper. Tape the ends. Slide under the fingerboard until the wedge stops. Make sure you don't push the wedge in tightly. I would talk to a luthier first. It's probably not needed and could even cause problems if you get the wedge in to tightly.

September 25, 2008 at 01:49 AM · Paul, I am referring to a small block you put under the fingerboard to prevent the fingerboard from touching the top of the violin. Sometimes the fingerboard can be too low or the violin has a high arch belly, then you put the piece in as a protective measure. You do take it off when you play.

September 25, 2008 at 01:53 AM · Thank you Gary! Nobody sells them anymore?

September 25, 2008 at 03:03 AM · They were never sold as a ready-made item, since each must be made to fit a specific violin. Not only is there not a standard size, but it usually needs to be thicker on one side than the other. Milk carton makes a good material--thick and waxed.

September 25, 2008 at 03:41 AM · A piece of folded cardboard works nicely.

Lightly placed under the fingerboard & top plate.

Lots of players do this,when the instrument is NOT in use.

Of course this cardboard is removed when playing the instrument !!!

They say "it does prevent sagging of the fingerboard".

September 25, 2008 at 03:58 AM · "They were never sold as a ready-made item, since each must be made to fit a specific violin. Not only is there not a standard size."

Actually, Michael, there was a company in Germany that made them commercially. Rather a neat design, really.

They came in three heights (to fit various situations). The top side was a molded plastic, flat on the board side (with a directional arrow to avoid mishaps), curved and slightly wedged shaped on the body side. The body side was fit with about 1/8" of pliable memory foam with a nonstick (very thin and very durable) "liner", or membrane, where it contacted the top. Took about two days of use for the foam to remember the top shape.

I still have a few around... and use one to support the free end of fingerboards when I'm planing them. When your in town next, stop by and I'll dig one out to show you.

Same company made a series of clamps (pretty decent), a metal top frame for bassbar fitting (that was a bit too heavy for my tastes), and the only commercial polish that I ever tried and actually liked (contained micro-crystallin wax).

September 25, 2008 at 10:27 AM · You might check with a luthier to see if there's an advantage to using one on your violin. If you make one yourself, it also might be a good idea to show it to a luthier to confirm that it's made in a way which won't harm the instrument.

September 25, 2008 at 11:58 AM · fingerboard support,,,interesting concept.

the fact that you can fit something in and take it out, frequently, suggests that the neck already "gives" somewhat? and will this routine possibly make the neck joint more mobile? do modern day luthiers recommend such practice?

once you take out the support, doesn't the string tension IMMEDIATELY reset/return the neck angle thus the board height to where it is or meant to be?

September 25, 2008 at 01:15 PM · My violin professor, Homer Garretson, made something like this for his quite-old violin. He generally had it when I had my lessons, think not for performances, don't know about his trio rehearsals. I understood it as an uncommon practice. He sent or took his violin to Wurlitzer's for check-ups, as I recall, so he had advice from that legendary shop. Sue

September 25, 2008 at 01:54 PM · Al, I think the idea is to retard long-term "creep" or distortion of the violin. This would counteract some of the forces and movement over a long period of time from string tension.

Use of these seems to have been more common in the days before humidity control. High humidity, heat, and humidity cycling will allow instruments to distort severely.

September 25, 2008 at 02:02 PM · thanks david for your explanation of the concept of distortion prevention. it is still "interesting" since the force will be directed somewhere on the upper plate, instead somewhere of "outside" of the violin...

i guess humans and violins with aging both develop kyphosis. :)

September 25, 2008 at 07:08 PM · The downward force from the fingerboard is directed to a part of the top which normally bulges upward, so it kinda sorta works out. :-)

September 25, 2008 at 11:11 PM · I`m sure we`ve been dating the same chicks...

September 26, 2008 at 01:17 AM · Maybe I am missing something here folks? How could a fingerboard ever even come close to touching the swell of a top sounplate? 20-21 mm (less the thickness of your fingerboard) is a fair measurement (unless the neck has broken free of the upper block). In my 38 years of building and repairing violins, I have never heard of a component such as this... commercially available, or custom made. Additionally, I have never seen a fingerboard warp downward. There is no place for something like this on an instrument that is actively being played for obvious reasons relating to diminished tone quality. GG

September 26, 2008 at 03:17 AM · Jefferey and David, Thank you so much for your information and advices. It has been very helpful.

Al, fitting a piece to underneath the fingerboard doesn't mean the fingerboard has already "give". It helps to release the tension strings put onto the fingerboard. It also comes handy when traveling.

September 26, 2008 at 03:35 AM · zach, curious to know,,,if you leave the wedge on while playing, does your violin sound different?

September 26, 2008 at 04:05 AM · Greetuings,

now we have th eultimate excuse for not praciticng enough:

`Sorry Mr Bron- my violin had a wedgie...`



September 26, 2008 at 04:15 AM · Al, yes, the sound is a little muffled if the piece is left on the violin while I am playing. That's why I take it off when I play the violin.

September 26, 2008 at 05:02 AM · Stephen Brivati wrote:

"I`m sure we`ve been dating the same chicks..."


"Upward bulge", perhaps. In an altered state of testosterone-mania, did I somehow fail to notice the "fingerboard"? :-)

September 26, 2008 at 06:25 AM · wouldn`t surprise me.

September 26, 2008 at 06:37 AM · "Thanks for the fingerboard, superman."

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