I have an old parlor guitar that I have started rebuilding. The old fingerboard is pretty severely cupped so I decided to replacing it. The scale length on the guitar seems to be 24 inches, at least the 1-12 fret distance is dead on 12 inches. Someone tried to "fix" this guitar with a (very) over sized bridge so the nut to saddle distance was trashed. 

My question is concerned with a fingerboard I already have which has been slotted for a 24.9 inch scale length.  I could cut the tail end of the fret board to fit the guitar but I would have to move the bridge down almost an inch to get the scale right. This puts me on top of one of the braces plus it pushes me away from the center of the face too much. (This is a very small guitar.)  

I am thinking that if I cut it off at the first fret slot I have a fingerboard of an acceptable length for the guitar with a 1-12 fret distance of 11-23/32 inches for a scale length of 23-7/16 inches. This is about 1/2 inch shorter than the original but keeps me in the center of the face. ( and within the area that is already messed up on the guitar face. )

Am I thinking correctly or is there a "gotcha" that I am missing?  

Tags: Parlor, guitar, length, scale

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I don't think I would cut it off at the first fret if it were my guitar.I would rather cut it at the other end and try to have it enter the box at a different fret than the 12th or 14th .Or just make a new fret board with the right scale to work out to suite the bridge as it is now. BILL.''''''''''''''
Thanks for the replay, Bill.

Trimming the board on the tail will force me to move the bridge too far down the body OR make a new neck. The existing neck is only about 11-3/4 inches from the nut to the body. The 12th fret is actually over the dove tail. The bridge is off the guitar since the previous "repair" was a mess and I have to rebuild the top were the original bridge was removed. There is top wood loss and the pin holes are trashed so moving the bridge isn't a problem except that the size of the body doesn't give me a lot of room to move things around.

I can make a new fingerboard but I thought maybe this would be a way to use a fretboard that I've had for years.

What problems are you concerned about if I did cut this off at the first fret?
Perhaps a REALLY stupid suggestion, but if you cut off only 3/4 of the wood before the first fret, you could then re-fret that fret with a zero fret, and get your bridge exactly in place.
That's actually a pretty good idea Mark. If I decide to cut it off. It might mean that I need to shorten the tail end too but I don't care about that too much.

I don't think I can cut it long enough to place the bridge exactly where it was but I think it would get me within 1/4 inch or so.

Clever idea Mark, I keep it in my bag too.
How about a new board with the right scale? Randy Allen will slot a 24.0" scale for you:
OK, you guys will only have to hit me with a hint a couple of times before I get it. ( My wife will want to know how you did it so quickly. ) I will make a 24 inch scale fingerboard.

Thanks for the input.

If you take a regular scale martin fretboard (what is it, about 25.4"?) and chop one fret off, you get a 24" scale without paying for custom slotting. Done it many times. As far as I know, the US & Canadian 'inch' are the same?

A new board is probably going to give you a better result in the end. But, just in terms of the principles, there is no reason why you can"t cut off one or more fret intervals from the nut end of a fingerboard. The remaining fret slots downstream will still be at the right intervals for the new shorter scale length. You will change the fret number at the neck-body joint, or the joint might be between frets instead of at a familiar point like the 12th or 14th fret. Nothing wrong with that, it just looks a bit different. Rory's idea sounds good. Then place the bridge so the saddle is at (0 to 12th)X2 + compensation (you already knew that, but I thought I'd put it here for a beginner who reads this later).
Out of curiosity I checked the accuracy of the original fingerboard and found that the fret slots are not positioned very precisely. The 12th fret is dead on but the 18th is almost 1/2 inch to far from the nut. It turns out that ONLY the 12th fret is accurate IF it is a 24 inch scale. Everything else is off by a few tenths, most are long but some are short. I assumed a 24 inch scale from the 12th fret measurement but now I'm wondering about that. Tomorrow I need to take a closer look and see if I can pin down the original bridge placement better.

Thanks everyone for the Help.


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