Savart Journal

science and technology of stringed musical instruments

Guitar Fretboard Camber and Action in the Context of String Bending

R.M. Mottola


A simplified mathematical model of guitar string bends and fretboard geometry was constructed for the purpose of examining the effect of fretboard camber radius on noting out (also called fretting out - buzzing or damping of the note by contact with the next higher fret) during deep string bends. The worst-case action increases required to eliminate noting out during bends of various depths (a major 3rd interval to over a 6th interval) were calculated for fretboards with two different camber radii at the nut (254mm, 406.4mm) using the model, and compared. Action increase differences between these camber radii varied from 0.301mm to 0.485mm depending on depth of bend. Significance of these values cannot be determined, because it is unknown whether this variability is tactilely perceptible by players. The data are presented and discussed in the context of their practical implications for guitar designers, repair people, and players.

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Article published Aug 30, 2014.
This article has been accessed 9461 times since publication.


The Savart Journal is published in collaboration with the Guild of American Luthiers.

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R.M. Mottola
Liutaio Mottola Stringed Instrument Design
United States

R.M. Mottola is editor of the Savart Journal. A former engineer and a luthier since 1994, R.M. Mottola is also the technology editor for American Lutherie, the quarterly journal of the Guild of American Luthiers, and has been an active researcher since 2001. He maintains the Liutaio Mottola Lutherie Information website and is a member of New England Luthiers.