We continue our journey through the parts of the violin and focus on the fingerboard.  The fingerboard is the portion of the neck directly underneath the strings against which the strings are pressed to create different pitches.  In early instruments, the fingerboard was often made of maple or maple with a veneer of another wood.  Those instruments also utilized unwound gut strings which were far less abrasive when pressed against the fingerboard.  In modern instruments utilizing metal-wound strings, the fingerboard is almost always made of ebony.  The hardness and density of ebony allows it to stand up to the friction of the metal windings.  Even so, the strings will eventually wear grooves in the surface of the fingerboard, requiring it to be planed smooth again by a luthier.  The underside of the fingerboard is commonly scooped out to reduce the overall weight of the fingerboard.  In high-performance instruments, the fingerboard is “tuned” during the scooping process to resonate at a frequency that is sympathetic with the rest of the instrument.  Alternate materials are being explored to reduce the dependence on ebony.  High-quality ebony is increasingly difficult to source and is correspondingly expensive.