Worth it to raise a fingerboard 2 mm?

January 30, 2005 at 10:06 PM · A former student of mine recently had her modern violin checked over and was told the fingerboard was a couple mm low. My old Sylvestre also has a slightly low fingerboard angle.

My question is this: How much difference in sound will there be if the fingerboards are raised, say 2 mm?

Also, how important is it to make the adjustment where the neck meets the body rather than just shimming the neck or cutting a new fingerboard with the angle built in?

Anyone had experience with this adjustment?

Replies (6)

January 30, 2005 at 11:00 PM · Shimming under the board has about half the effect of pulling back or resetting the neck.

As boards drop from optimum, GENERALLY, not inevitably, you get faster response, and a bit more nasal/tinny sound like old-timey players like. As the board goes up from optimum, you get worse response, a flatter, compact sound, and eventually a violin that's hard to play and not desirable in any respect.

Rather than bridge or board height, measure the angle of the D-string over the bridge. 158 to 159 degrees is a good range to be in. If you're far off that, do something, however if you're in that range, don't worry.

In my opinion, a lot of shops like a neckset that's too aggressive.

If the violin sounds good, why change anything? If, not, I'd then, and only then, start messing around with things.

January 31, 2005 at 11:26 PM · I get 160.

Thanks. The violin sounds good.

February 1, 2005 at 04:32 AM · Hi Michael, when the board drops does it mean the nut rises and the angle gets shallower (grows larger than optimal).

When the board rises, does it mean the neck bent back more? Then you lose finger action and things get flabby?

Seems neck bent back more, nut falls, board rises is worse. But a lot of people are always concerning about board falling, and want to pull back the neck. Why is that? (or maybe I'm not picturing it right in my mind).

February 1, 2005 at 12:48 PM · Clare, you have it exactly right.

The reason people are concerned about falling necks is that there is a superstition that more pressure (higher bridge) makes more volume, which is not true, unless the fingerboard is low, low, low, like classical players never see. Fiddlers often have extrememly low bridges that can benefit from pulling up the neck, but most classical players' violins are already at or above the optimum, and pulling the neck back more only makes things worse. Neckset is a thing where there's a small window of "right" and missing that, on either side, is bad.

February 12, 2014 at 07:47 AM · I have this issue right now being discussed recently. I measured the angle and it is >161 near to 162. Violin is not making full tone, a little tinny or constrained.

February 12, 2014 at 07:56 AM · The angle is not optimal but its unlikely that correcting that will solve your whole problem, maybe a small improvement but its more likely the quality of the violin itself that's to blame for the poor tone, modern German factory violins made recently have gone way down in quality, to the point where cheaper Chinese violins often sound quite a bit better.

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