Music for a lifetime: Educating musicians to create a better world

The Fingerboard

Your fingerboard will need some attention from time to time. It will gradually build up a deposit of dirt that should be cleaned very carefully with a cloth moistened slightly with alcohol. Be very careful not to let any alcohol come in contact with the varnish of the instrument. In the summer, higher humidity can make the fingerboard swell and bend slightly towards the body of the instrument. You may need to place an arch protector between the fingerboard and body when you are not playing to help maintain the proper position of the fingerboard. Ask your luthier whether you need an arch protector and how to use one. Finally, over time, the fingerboard will wear where you place your fingers and will start to develop shallow recesses. These indentations will make it difficult for you to play in tune, because the string may be stopped at the edge of the indentation and not where you place your finger. Inspect your fingerboard from time to time, and when you notice that it is not perfectly smooth, take your instrument to a luthier and ask him to plane the fingerboard. This repair should last several years before you have to have it repeated.