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Jan 26, 2023 - 11:16:26 AM
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178 posts since 2/1/2008

A couple of years ago I added a second American made fiddle to my small quiver. It is a Frank Daniels fiddle made in Meridian Idaho. Lots of info about him and his Dad, neither of whom is still making instruments. Their instruments are favored by contest fiddlers who descend on Weiser, ID each year. My other fiddle, also made by American and Westerner Carl Oliver is by far my all time favorite, They are both accomplished builders who have entered and won often at the VMAAI at, AZ each year. For some reason the neck on my Daniels fiddle has felt off to me until just recently when I measured the depth of the neck ( under the fingerboard to back of neck). The Daniels fiddle seems to be 3 to 4/32nds less than the Oliver. In the past when playing the Oliver alongside other instruments there didn't seem to be much difference in feel. There are a variety of reasons, mostly medical, that I didn't think to get around to measuring this neck depth until now.

Could someone experienced in carving neck s speak to whether there is a standard for this depth dimension I am inquiring about?

Much appreciated.


Jan 26, 2023 - 4:57:53 PM
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1415 posts since 3/1/2020

Measure from the underside of the neck (the surface the left hand touches) to the top of the fingerboard with a caliper. You need the fingerboard as well in the measurement because a properly shaped neck can feel big if the fingerboard is too thick.

Many luthiers make the neck 18.5 mm at the nut and 20.5 at the heel. A standard fingerboard thickness is 5.5-6 mm, so if the existing fingerboard differs, that needs to be considered. If it's too thick, thinning it will make a difference; if you just leave the board as is and take wood out of the neck, it'll end up too thin when someone eventually puts a proper fingerboard on or thins it out. There’s more to it than the thickness, though. The taper of the neck should be without bumps and should not be cut out too much in the middle so it’s concave if you lay a straightedge on it—a colleague of mine refers to this problem as “canoe neck.”

The profile of the neck needs to be carefully shaped as well to fit the hand well. If the curve is left too full, the sides will feel bulky. When shaping the neck, the heel should be cut to the proper radius and to an appropriate distance from the top edge.

Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 01/26/2023 17:01:41

Jan 27, 2023 - 10:15:02 AM



178 posts since 2/1/2008

Thanks for the info. The other measurement I just took is width at the bridge side of the nut I am about 3/32 narrower. The other measurements seem close to what you listed. I also moved the bridge closer toward the bridge using the mathematical measurement calculation I found here. The harmonics were spot on but bridge is likely ready for a new one . current one seems a bit bellied and feetare just a hair high on on the E string side. Probably needs a good, fresh set up and sound post adjust.


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