• JSHRED

    I got into some kind of discussion about the pros and cons of scallops. Maybe it was jemsite or sevenstring. For years, I was scalloping anything I could get my hands on that didn't have nice inlays. If it had dots or less, I was attacking it with files, rasps, dremel tools, sandpaper, all kinds of stuff. I actually got good at it.

    But here's the thing, I have come to the conclusion that there is a bell curve on the performance gain you get with scallops. I think at one time, scallops really helped take my lead playing to the next level, but one day I had a revelation. I had to do some work on some Primo Ibanez guitars with Wizard 1 necks, and once I got them set up for speed, I was playing way faster than ever before. And yes, I've played Ibby shredders forever, but I'd been shunning non-scalloped guitars so long that it was like starting all over again. And what's weird is that the speed I gained with scallops over the years got even crazier on non-scallops. And it made no sense to me until I really thought about it.
    I think the conclusion I came to was that when you reach a certain speed, your fingertips and tendons actually like to bounce off of the fingerboard. If you play any drums, think about how you do a roll on the snare with your sticks. It's an extreme case, but the physics are the same. My feeling was that with scallops, you remove that hard surface, and the strings hitting the fret wires and pressing down slightly into the scallop isn't quite enough "snap" to keep your fingers shredding through the arpeggios.

    Well, anyway, I think everyone should play scallops once, or even have a scalloped guitar in the collection. But personally, I've gone back to regular fingerboards for my collection. On the bright side, I get to enjoy killer inlays again, and I'm all about the inlays. :)


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