• mbm88

    Scalloped Fretboard & Inlay Question

    I was wondering if I scalloped my last 4 frets if I would lose the inlays on a KH602. I hate the way the 24th fret inlay on the 602 looks anyways, so that would be an added bonus. I've looked around and can't find a definitive answer really, I guess depth of the routing would be the biggest factor. Can anyone shed some light on this for me? Just wanted to find this out before I pick a project guitar.

    • JSHRED

      I've scalloped lots of fingerboards. I have to say, I was extra nervous the first time I ever did a set neck. You don't get any redo's on those.

      Anyway, you have a bolt-on so no worries. I don't play LTD's so I don't know the 602, but I'm guessing it's all skulls other than #24, which probably says LTD. Or Hamster, or something in a long skinny block.

      My best guess is that you WILL lose that inlay if you scallop. I tend to be an all-or-nothing guy when it comes to scalloping. I usually do all 24 frets, or none at all. I've seen guys do just 12 frets, which would totally mess with me. It would be like driving with two wheels on dirt and two on tarmac.

      In my huge opinion, just doing the last 4 will yield little practical benefit, other than being a little like a poor man's Jem. I've talked to Vai about the whole last 4 frets thing, and from what I recall, it mostly has to do with the first Jems didn't have the AANJ (all access neck joint) so reach up into the last 4 frets was already crap, so the scallops were there to lend just a tiny bit of assistance in extreme bending. Which I get. I still have a scalloped Fernandes with a sustainer, and bending those sustained notes on scallops is neverending nirvana. The good kind of nirvana, not the grungy seattle kind.

      Anyway, that's my opinion on your inlay. Plan on losing it, and possibly having a sliver of a rectangular hole from where the faux MOP fell out. Your fingers won't touch the little hole, but it might not look super hot. Fair warning.

      Anyway, I'm here for scalloping tips if you need any. Good luck with whatever you decide.

    • mbm88

      Thanks man really appreciate the detailed response. I found an incredible luthier who deals mostly with violins but is willing to do this, as well as use some rosewood dust to fill any gaps left from the inlay popping out. Actually WANT to lose the last block one.
      Thanks again.

    • mihnea

      Agreed with all that JSHRED said BUT, in addition to that, you have to be extra careful because the 602 has a neck-through... I have scalloped myself 3 necks ages ago, including a maple fretboard one, and they all turned out nice despite me being scared shitless for the first one of them.... Good luck and mask as much as you can so you don't damage anything ;)

    • mbm88

      Thanks for the advice. Talked to a luthier and I'm going to have the last 7 done. I'm not going to sit here and act like some badass shredder, but I was really into it when I tried it and I can use all the help I can get when I'm in that area of the neck (help purely because I prefered the feel). I always play rythm when we jam but I've started getting into some small leads. Just love teh brootz riffs.

    • 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. :)

    • mbm88

      Thats awesome man, I'm nowhere near that level, I just enjoyed it to the point where I decided it just wasn't the novelty of something new so I figured why not.

    • Llexileon

      Further to JSHRED's comments I'd say that Scallops can be viewed as training wheels in many ways - You really have to play very precisely and apply just the right amount of pressure when playing bends/vibrato on scalloped fretboards, otherwise you're flailing around all over the place going way out of tune because there is so much less resistance now that the fretboard is out of the picture. This forces you to focus all your technique on the string itself and not rely on the wood around the string for stability or to provide friction. I think that's a sure way to improve technique which is instantly transferred back to typical non-scalloped instruments - all of a sudden you don't find yourself pushing down on the strings as much or pushing your fingers into the fretboard - its all smooth gliding motions and very efficient contact of the string/frets.

    • mbm88

      Again, thank you for the constructive feedback. I could use some training wheels for some of the stuff I've been trying to figure out.

    • jt76

      I got off topic from the original question, I have a scalloped ltd. I did not lose my inlays. So I am certain can you remove enough to achive a fully functional scallop without getting past the inlays. Also I don't see why you couldn't just go a bit deeper if you wanted them gone.