Saturday, December 22, 2012

WHAT IS A SCALLOPED NECK (a guide for dummies)

Hello and welcome to this week's article! Today we're going to talk about scalloped fretboard!
What is a scalloped fretboard? It's a guitar fretboard where the wood is filed down between the frets, making it look like the shell of a scallop:

Why would someone do this to his guitar?
To "increase the height" of the frets, thus avoiding the player to reach for the fretboard while playing, basically making the player just to push his fingers on the string without touching the wood: if the guitarist would try to touch the scooped out fretboard, he would obtain a bent note, due to the increased distance.
This technique was featured sometimes on a medieval instrument, the lute, and it was introduced on the electric guitar by Deep Purple's guitartist Ritchie Blackmore, being a medieval music lover himself.

Playing a scalloped neck can be hard at first, especially for those players who likes pushing with their fingers until they are firmly planted on the fingerboard, but on the other hand it will enhance the clarity and articulation of each note, and that is the reason why many shredders prefer to use it: because it shows even more the effort they put into creating and perfecting their technique. 
A scalloped fingerboard also helps the player to learn how to play better by forcing him to push more lightly on the strings (to avoid unwanted bendings), and makes some technique as tapping, pull off and bending a little easier.

There are different types of scalloped fretboard: the Yngwie Malmsteen signature Stratocaster has the whole fingerboard scalloped, while the Ritchie Blackmore model starts flat and becomes increasingly scooped towards the higher frets.
There are also many guitars (manufactured by Esp, Ibanez and many more) that features a flat fingerboard that becomes scalloped only in the last highest frets.
If you don't want to dig the fingerboard of your guitar but want to try the "scalloped feeling", you can also just mount higher frets, such as the Dunlop 6000, which can get you very close to the same result.  

To choose wheter this kind of guitar neck suits your playing or not it's up to you, in the meanwhile never stop experimenting!

The staff of Guitar Nerding Blog wish all of you a Merry Christmas!

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