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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The JEM's have the neck scalloped from 21-24, however the prestige JEM's do not. Has any one tried this on thier own?

If so, which size file did you use and how deep do you go? Will you please explain the process... taping of frets, file used, sand paper etc.., or did you use a dremil or router?

Do you have pictures of the finished process? That would be most excellent.

Thanks!
 

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I did it with a file on a JEM555 and a RG550. Tape off the frets, take a thin metal for additional protection while filing close to the frets and be very careful. Take your time. It took me about 10 - 15 min for one fret. First step is to file right in the middle and then work your way to the frets. After filing sand the fretboard in several steps. I took some lemon oil for the final finish on a rosewood.

Here are some pic of the process. The JEM555 got the 21 - 24 scallop in the first place and later I did a full scallop. The last pic shows the use of a metal plate for protection. It shows the widening of the scalloping on an old ebony JEM neck to get close to the frets.

21 - 24 fret were 0.8 mm deep and the other frets went gradually down to 0.3 mm the lower I got. But thats personal taste. Take a small file that fits between the last two frets.

Again, take your time, don't haste it and use your file with highest control. You don't want to damage your frets... :wink2:




 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow TJ, I thank you greatly for the explanation and the excellent pictures.

vyansal, thank you for the link and the warning to not delve too deep.

"Push me into shallow waters before I get too deep."

Thank you guys, I believe I have the confidence to take a perfectly good guitar and try to make it better now.
 

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I have done an RG270 and more recently a 2017 Jem jr. I can't add much more to what TJ777 said. I used a similar process:

Neck off. Taped up adjacent frets and scalloped one fret at a time. Used a round file to begin with. File centre line to desired depth equally across the radius of the fretboard (didn't measure, just by eye, doesn't need to be really deep - maybe halfway to the dot marker at max?). Then work out from centre to fret edge to achieve a nice even curve. Used fine sandpaper wrapped round the shaft of a long screwdriver to do some smoothing/even curvature at edge of fretboard, then finished with 2500 grit wet'n'dry using lemon oil as 'lube'.



Job done!

Having had success (i.e. not destroyed the Vine inlay..) with the Jem Jr, I'm tempted to scallop my Jem 70V now!
 

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None of this tells me why anyone would bother to scallop the top four frets of their guitar, it's the place on the neck where you are least likely to even touch the fretboard because the frets are so large and the gap so small.
So it's ornamental rather than functional, like the vine inlay?
 

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None of this tells me why anyone would bother to scallop the top four frets of their guitar
That's because purpose of this thread wasn't to discuss the merits for/against scalloping the fretboard. It was about how to do it..

I would agree with you, to some degree. Jumbo frets do make scalloping a little redundant. It's a different approach to achieving a similar result.

I have heard people say it makes it easier to "grab a string on the higher frets". I didn't really appreciate what that meant until I compared my JemFP2 (scalloped) with my 70V (not scalloped). It feels more like your fingers can get behind the string easier for bends etc. It's not a massive difference but it's there. Maybe it's just not feeling the fretboard?

I could live without it but it's a nice enough feature to have and easy to do. It's also an inherent part of the Jem design features, so I feel my 70V should probably have scalloped frets too.

The best thing I can suggest is that you try a scalloped guitar for yourself. You might like it. Not everybody does though. It requires a bit of a delicate touch to prevent pressing the string too sharp but apart from that it's 'business as usual'.
 

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That's because purpose of this thread wasn't to discuss the merits for/against scalloping the fretboard. It was about how to do it..

I would agree with you, to some degree. Jumbo frets do make scalloping a little redundant. It's a different approach to achieving a similar result.

I have heard people say it makes it easier to "grab a string on the higher frets". I didn't really appreciate what that meant until I compared my JemFP2 (scalloped) with my 70V (not scalloped). It feels more like your fingers can get behind the string easier for bends etc. It's not a massive difference but it's there. Maybe it's just not feeling the fretboard?

I could live without it but it's a nice enough feature to have and easy to do. It's also an inherent part of the Jem design features, so I feel my 70V should probably have scalloped frets too.

The best thing I can suggest is that you try a scalloped guitar for yourself. You might like it. Not everybody does though. It requires a bit of a delicate touch to prevent pressing the string too sharp but apart from that it's 'business as usual'.
I dig scalloping on 'vintage' style 21-22 fret necks like Ritchie and Yngwie used, but on modern jumbo 24-fret necks it's purely decorative.
SV has a very dry sense of humour so I reckon he just made Ibanez do it to help make the JEM stand out even more like the monkey grip and the tongue-in-cheek mystical freemasonry graphic guff.
 

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..on modern jumbo 24-fret necks it's purely decorative
Whether there is any real functional advantage is debatable but there is definitely a difference in feel on string bends. To use an exagerated descriptive, it's like gliding over the frets rather than dragging along the fretboard. I must say, I prefer it. Probably makes life easier for those with larger hands/fingers too. Anyway, each to their own..

I reckon he just made Ibanez do it to help make the JEM stand out even more
Yes, absolutely. There is no good reason for the Lions Claw cavity to be so ornate either - as demonstrated by the RG and pretty much every other Super Strat since. The Monkey Grip did at least exist on Steve's earlier custom guitars and has some functionality, if you want to throw your guitar around :devil:
 

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Unless you have played on scalloped frets, you don't know what you are talking about. It is not cosmetic. The frets are so small that it is difficult to play and or bend at the end of the neck. Much easier to do with the scallops. There is a reason a lot of the greats use them. Vai, Herman Li, Kiko, Malmsteen, Billy Sheehan, etc. Not sure about scalloping the whole neck. That seems unneccesary but I have never played a fully scalloped neck. The Lions Claw also has a purpose. It allows for greater pull up on the trem bar than the normal pocket on RGs.
 

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Unless you have played on scalloped frets, you don't know what you are talking about. It is not cosmetic. The frets are so small that it is difficult to play and or bend at the end of the neck. Much easier to do with the scallops. There is a reason a lot of the greats use them
Well, I have played both. I can feel the difference but is it a massive difference in playability? Not really IMO. YMMV. It's easy to quote all the 'greats' that use them but there are just as many that don't. I'm sure I read somewhere that even Vai said it really didn't make that much difference. It doesn't matter either way. I'm a fan.

The Lions Claw also has a purpose. It allows for greater pull up on the trem bar than the normal pocket on RGs.
If you read what I said again, you will see that I said it doesn't have to be so ornate. A simpler RG style cavity, even if routed a bit deeper, would be equally as effective. It's just done this way to make Steve's guitar stand out a bit more from the crowd.

Anyway, this is all getting massively off topic. OP just wanted to know how to scallop frets. :wink2:
 

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Used fine sandpaper wrapped round the shaft of a long screwdriver to do some smoothing/even curvature at edge of fretboard
Great advice! I totally forgot that I did that too. Helps with sanding the filed wood.

Here is a pic of a RG550 with scallops. Maple is pretty hard and it took even more time to do the job. I went about 0.8 .. 0.9 mm deep which more than enough to get the scalloped feel and increase the sustain on this extended board.

Tom

 

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None of this tells me why anyone would bother to scallop the top four frets of their guitar, it's the place on the neck where you are least likely to even touch the fretboard because the frets are so large and the gap so small.
I've felt the same way through the years playing my JEM-FP. Can't tell any difference at all from playing on my RG and S models. I had my Strat half-scalloped (high strings only) all the way up the neck and the big difference I noticed with it was on any stretched notes where my finger would normally have dragged; in other words, the lower frets. The reason I had the luthier leave the fingerboard alone on the bass side was that the strings are so much fatter and not nearly as much multi-step bending going on.

Having always liked having the half-scallop on my Strat has made me wish my JEM and others had the same treatment and after reading this article I may be giving it a go, starting with my cheapest guitar first of course. Maybe I'll practice on my S-320 before I sell it!
 

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I've felt the same way through the years playing my JEM-FP. Can't tell any difference at all from playing on my RG and S models. I had my Strat half-scalloped (high strings only) all the way up the neck and the big difference I noticed with it was on any stretched notes where my finger would normally have dragged; in other words, the lower frets. The reason I had the luthier leave the fingerboard alone on the bass side was that the strings are so much fatter and not nearly as much multi-step bending going on.

Having always liked having the half-scallop on my Strat has made me wish my JEM and others had the same treatment and after reading this article I may be giving it a go, starting with my cheapest guitar first of course. Maybe I'll practice on my S-320 before I sell it!
This is what is known as a cogent argument folks, I'm persuaded that this guy knows what he's talking about and I agree with him.

I have a 21-fret 70's Fujigen Antoria Strat clone with vintage frets and a gloss lacquered maple board and it drags like hell, amazing for glissando but terrible for bending.
 

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I always found those notes seemed to ring a little clearer and sustain better with the scallops. Tapping seemed easier as well. Of course, YMMV.
I played an 80's Japanese Fender Yngwie Strat that was a "player" and thought "why aren't all fretboards scalloped?" Since TJ777 has things under control on the "how" front, I think this is an interesting topic on the "why" front because it does seem strange removing wood that the string never touches should result in a guitar that is easier to play. I would describe it as "being able to play lighter than ever before." Overall, less effort was required. There is a chance that particular guitar was just a really good guitar too. The only partially scalloped fretboard I've played was on a Suhr and the difference between the scalloped half (12 - 24) and the non-scalloped half was like "gliding on skies before crashing and stumbling around in the deep snow looking for 1 ski, both poles, and your dignity." My point is the difference is noticeable.
 

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One of the first projects I attempted was a scallop. Buy yourself a roll of making tape, a rat tail, and the finest file you can find. Apply a couple of layers of making tape over your frets then use a blade to cut off the excess tape over the fingerboard. Then start in the middle of the fret. The depth of the scallop should be in the middle of the fingerboard wood not the full depth of it, you don't want to hit the truss rod or the neck wood 😅. Once you get the middle of the fret to the middle of the fingerboard (or a little above if you don't want it too deep) start working on the curve with the rat tail to get the curve needed. Once that's done grab some lacquer and your preferred wood finish and clean it up. Good luck!
 

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I soon as I read this this thread I thought "Aaaahhh S#!t", as I really want to try this mod, and only 2 days ago I'd changed strings and done some more upgrades to a cheap Dean Baby Z that id bought for next to nothing, and ended up useing to practice new luthiering skills on before I attempt doing them on a quality instrument. So far i haven't screwed anything up, but testing out new skills on a cheap second hand guitar maybe something worth considering.

Now days the Z is the main guitar I play as I have a 2 year old daughter, so it sits in my lounge room and my daughter gets to have a play and dribble all over it, if it gets broken its no real loss. After all the work and upgrades she plays and sounds killer.
 
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