Can a scalloped neck help for mostly rythm/chords players? (Arthritis)

p6x

Member
Messages
362
I am mostly playing rhythmic, barre chords are painful as I need to press hard to make sure my strings are properly fretted. My left hand fingers have slimmed around the joints as I am getting old(er).

I have installed smaller gauge strings to alleviate the problem, but I am wondering if a scalloped neck could even make it easier? now a scalloped neck makes sense when you play a lot of arpeggios, but for chords?

Vigier has a scalloped neck which is said to have a "soft" scalloping, accentuated underneath the high strings;

thoughts?
 

dewey decibel

Member
Messages
10,492
Consider, you need to press the string down a certain amount to get a note to ring out clearly, yes? Scalloping doesn't really change that amount of pressure needed. Now, it can help teach you to press lighter because if you press the string down to the fretboard on a scalloped neck you'll bend the note sharp, but a scalloped neck doesn't actually make it easier to fret a note in of it's self (I know some talk about reduced friction but again, if you're not jamming the string down to the fretboard there shouldn't be any friction anyway).

You might want to look at different neck specs, namely nut width and fretboard radius, as well as overall shape/thickness of the neck. In general people like a rounder radius for barre chords, and a neck shape with less shoulder.
 

FwLineberry

Senior Member
Messages
380
I've found that players who fret with a death grip are pressing into the fingerboard wood more than they're actually pressing the string to the fret.

Scalloping gets the wood out of the way. It's just finger, string and fret. There's no other magical benefit to playing a scalloped fingerboard. What it does is force you to fret notes with only the amount of pressure necessary to get a clean note and not play out of tune.

Soft scalloping?

Once the finger is no longer in contact with the fingerboard, it makes zero difference how much wood is taken away.

You can buy a scalloped Warmoth neck and put it on one of your guitars for around $300 US.

.
 

Qstick333

Member
Messages
907
I have arthritis and some left hand issues. I switched to a smaller neck shape with minimal shoulder and use my thumb on the 6th string for barre chords. No more having to lay that index finger across the neck.
 

Gclef

Member
Messages
2,695
I dont know, I am on the fence about this one.

Scalloping in and of itself does nothing for speed.

Taller frets allow me to play faster and longer due to forcing me to lighten up my touch. I would assume scalloping would do the same.

I dont get wrist pain nearly as much nowadays either.
 
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p6x

Member
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362
Consider, you need to press the string down a certain amount to get a note to ring out clearly, yes? Scalloping doesn't really change that amount of pressure needed. Now, it can help teach you to press lighter because if you press the string down to the fretboard on a scalloped neck you'll bend the note sharp, but a scalloped neck doesn't actually make it easier to fret a note in of it's self (I know some talk about reduced friction but again, if you're not jamming the string down to the fretboard there shouldn't be any friction anyway).

You might want to look at different neck specs, namely nut width and fretboard radius, as well as overall shape/thickness of the neck. In general people like a rounder radius for barre chords, and a neck shape with less shoulder.
Thank you for the advice.

I realized that we never measure the force required to press on the strings to make sure the string is properly locked at the fret.
For barre chords, the index is used to fret all the strings, unless you can play with your thumb over the fret board.
Over the years, you get some memory and you actually instinctively understand how much force is required to properly fret the required strings.
With heavier gauge strings, you need to apply more pressure. Which of course can be alleviated by tuning down.

What you describe is exactly what I am after. Having a scalloped neck can help me to adjust how much pressure is required to properly fret.

I did not find much relief using higher radii necks. But again, I have not tried for long period of times.
 

p6x

Member
Messages
362
I've found that players who fret with a death grip are pressing into the fingerboard wood more than they're actually pressing the string to the fret.

Scalloping gets the wood out of the way. It's just finger, string and fret. There's no other magical benefit to playing a scalloped fingerboard. What it does is force you to fret notes with only the amount of pressure necessary to get a clean note and not play out of tune.

Soft scalloping?

Once the finger is no longer in contact with the fingerboard, it makes zero difference how much wood is taken away.

You can buy a scalloped Warmoth neck and put it on one of your guitars for around $300 US.

.
Soft scalloping is how they call it. I have never tried a scalloped neck. I am aware that Malmsteen guitars are scalloped as per the master, but Malmsteen is seldom making chords.

I am concerned with playing playing sharp, so I thought that if the "soft" scalloping leaves more wood underneath the fingers, I may remain on pitch, and at the same time alleviate the pain in my hand.
 

p6x

Member
Messages
362
I have arthritis and some left hand issues. I switched to a smaller neck shape with minimal shoulder and use my thumb on the 6th string for barre chords. No more having to lay that index finger across the neck.
How long did it take you to change from index barre to thumb over? I have attempted to do it, but it does not come naturally to me.

I have small hands and short fingers to start with. But I also have to think hard to change from just finger memory to use my thumb.

I have also noticed that smaller necks do not necessarily help me to feel less pain as strange as it may seem.
 

dewey decibel

Member
Messages
10,492
Thank you for the advice.

I realized that we never measure the force required to press on the strings to make sure the string is properly locked at the fret.
For barre chords, the index is used to fret all the strings, unless you can play with your thumb over the fret board.
Over the years, you get some memory and you actually instinctively understand how much force is required to properly fret the required strings.
With heavier gauge strings, you need to apply more pressure. Which of course can be alleviated by tuning down.

What you describe is exactly what I am after. Having a scalloped neck can help me to adjust how much pressure is required to properly fret.

I did not find much relief using higher radii necks. But again, I have not tried for long period of times.

Well the more I play the more I find I don't have much use for those full on all 6 strings barre chords that most of us learn early on, but that's kind of a different subject. But you might want to look into some classical guitar technique, there's a lot of good stuff about fretting technique and using as little pressure needed as possible to fret a note.

Also, you'll generally want a rounder radius, which would be a lower number (like vintage Fender, which is around 7.25" vs Gibson which is usually closer to 12"). I have a newer MIM Strat here with a very flat radius that will absolutely kill my hand in just a couple minutes of playing barre chords....
 

p6x

Member
Messages
362
I dont know, I am on the fence about this one.

Scalloping in and of itself does nothing for speed.

Taller frets allow me to play faster and longer due to forcing me to lighten up my touch. I would assume scalloping would do the same.

I dont get wrist pain nearly as much nowadays either.
We agree that scalloping does not improve speed.

And we never know how much force is needed to properly fret the strings. We just go until the string is correctly laying on top of the fret, and the proper pitch is achieved.

Therefore, the amount of force we apply is completely arbitrary. It actually probably always the same. What if we could learn how to just use the amount required?

I may be wrong, but I think a scalloped neck may be just that. I was wondering if anybody had had that issue before.
 

Shiny_Beast

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
10,250
I played a scalloped neck for a few years, I certainly used a lighter ttouch, you sort of have to. That's a tough one but It might be worth a shot. Jumbo frets might be something cheaper to try.
 

Qstick333

Member
Messages
907
How long did it take you to change from index barre to thumb over? I have attempted to do it, but it does not come naturally to me.

I have small hands and short fingers to start with. But I also have to think hard to change from just finger memory to use my thumb.

I have also noticed that smaller necks do not necessarily help me to feel less pain as strange as it may seem.
Not too long. I took a couple songs that I know that involve barre chords and forced myself to go thumb over through the songs each time I touched a guitar. After a week or two it just became the way my brain thought about it moving forward. Your brain will come through, it just takes a bit.

For me it’s isn’t just neck size, it’s the profile. I don’t like a lot of depth change up the neck and minimal shoulder.
 

FwLineberry

Senior Member
Messages
380
Soft scalloping is how they call it. I have never tried a scalloped neck. I am aware that Malmsteen guitars are scalloped as per the master, but Malmsteen is seldom making chords.

I am concerned with playing playing sharp, so I thought that if the "soft" scalloping leaves more wood underneath the fingers, I may remain on pitch, and at the same time alleviate the pain in my hand.

If you press hard enough on a non-scalloped fretboard, you'll go sharp. On a scalloped board (soft or not), you'll never touch the wood. I think the soft scalloping is purely psychological. Walking a tightrope 4 feet off the ground takes just as much balance as walking one 40 feet off the ground, but most people would give a 4 foot rope a shot and soil their undies at the thought of a 40 foot drop.

I find for certain chords, the lack of wood allows me to get better finger positioning. I don't have fingernails or sides of knuckles hitting the fingerboard wood.

I play .010 through .046 on my electrics and have never had a problem playing in tune. You'd have to have a GI Joe kung fu grip to press the strings into the frets hard enough to go sharp. Most players who've tried to play my guitars end up pulling an pushing the strings sideways due to lack of friction rather than pressing too hard. You definitely need to have a good fretting hand technique on a scalloped neck.

.
 

p6x

Member
Messages
362
If you press hard enough on a non-scalloped fretboard, you'll go sharp. On a scalloped board (soft or not), you'll never touch the wood. I think the soft scalloping is purely psychological. Walking a tightrope 4 feet off the ground takes just as much balance as walking one 40 feet off the ground, but most people would give a 4 foot rope a shot and soil their undies at the thought of a 40 foot drop.

I find for certain chords, the lack of wood allows me to get better finger positioning. I don't have fingernails or sides of knuckles hitting the fingerboard wood.

I play .010 through .046 on my electrics and have never had a problem playing in tune. You'd have to have a GI Joe kung fu grip to press the strings into the frets hard enough to go sharp. Most players who've tried to play my guitars end up pulling an pushing the strings sideways due to lack of friction rather than pressing too hard. You definitely need to have a good fretting hand technique on a scalloped neck.

.
Thanks!

I get the paradox.

I sometimes think that I should just accept the ineluctable. My father had arthritis in his hands.

Now it is my turn to look for solutions, and maybe I should just accept my condition instead of turning to desperate measures.
 

hobbyplayer

Member
Messages
1,487
Try a shorter scale guitar.

The shorter the scale, the less tension you need to bring the strings up to pitch.

The less tension on the strings, the easier it is to fret them.
 




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