The guitar is a very adaptable instrument. Since its earliest days players have modified it to accommodate new techniques and technologies. One such modification – probably borrowed from Eastern instruments such as the veena – is the scalloped fingerboard.
On a neck with a scalloped fingerboard the wood between each of the frets has been “scooped out”. This series of shallow depressions increases the clearance between the player’s fingertips and the fingerboard, reducing friction and making bends and leads easier. Scalloped fingerboard players include John McLaughlin, Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Ritchie Blackmore, and Billy Sheehan.
The benefits of a scalloped neck include:
- Easier note bending
- Faster playing
- Less stress on the fretting hand
- More responsive hand-tapping
- Easier sweep arpeggios
- Quicker pull-offs and trills
Warmoth fingerboards can be fully scalloped, or partially scalloped from the twelfth fret up. The feel is very unique and takes some getting used to, but if string bends and quick runs are a part of your style you owe it to yourself to give a scalloped neck a try.