FRETS.COM Illustrated Glossary

Get it off your face. . .
Cantilevered Fingerboard
© Frank Ford, 9/6/98 Photos by FF

In order to allow vibration of the entire top, this instrument has a cantilevered fingerboard:

In fact, ALL violin family instruments are made this way.

This jazz guitar is made in much the same way, with an arched top and f-holes:

The cantilever design of the fingerboard is much more subtle than a violin's. In order to maximize top vibration, it's important to keep the fingerboard off the face:

Same goes for this f-hole style mandolin:

Instruments with a central round or oval sound hole are a different story:

There's no need to keep the fingerboard from touching the face of this guitar because the top area above the soundhole is not designed to vibrate. The soundhole itself acts to isolate the upper region of the top.

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