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The Fingerboard
The violin fingerboard . . . pretty boring stuff, right?  The fingerboard is the black thing that runs from the scroll down toward the bridge.  You put your fingers down on it to make the notes.  That'sll all you need to know, right?
WRONG!
Fingerboards are NOT boring.  If it wasn't for the fingerboard you'd get to play four notes on your violin and that is that!  (Although it would make the instrument easier to play!)
A violin's fingerboard is traditionallly made of ebony.  Ebony is a hard, dark wood from the tropics.  It is usually black, although streaked ebony does exist.  For this reason even an ebony fingerboard may be stained so that it appears uniformly black.  The stain does not affect the performance of the fingerboard.
The fingerboard is glued to the neck of the violin.  It extends from a point just below the nut (a block of ebony right below the pegbox that holds the strings in place and keeps them from rubbing against the fingerboard), to a point about a third of the way down the body of the violin and slightly above it.
So, as you can see, the fingerboard does not actually touch the body of the violin, but passes above the belly of the instrument.
At one time fingerboards were not made of ebony, but were inlayedd with intricate patterns.  To the right you can see a fingerboard produced by Amati with a lovely inlaid pattern.  This is an example of they types of fingerboards used by the masters of violinmaking in previous centuries.
A GREAT discussion of this topic with wonderful pictures can be seen at the daniellarson.com web site.  A true scholar on the matter, you can see great pictures and view his current creations as well!  Click on the picture, or click here to visit his site.
The art of the inlaid fingerboard has not been lost.  To the left you can see an inlaid fingerboard available from luthiersupply.com.  These fingerboards are inlayed with various types of shell, and allow the violinist to play a truly personalized instrument.  Visit their web site to see some truly interesting fingerboards.  The violin produced is pretty, but all concert artists I know play with a plain, ebony fingerboard.
The luthiersupply.com web site shows inlays for both fingerboards and pegs.
This picture is taken from and links to the Barbarossa Guitars web site where they have a nice violin construction section. http://www.barbarossaguitars.com/violin/back.htm