A quandry: What to do about my fretless

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by flatcat, Jun 20, 2004.

  1. Hi - I hope you all can offer some advice.

    I have a mid-80's Fender Jazz Special fretless 4-string. It's a Precision body with a Jazz neck, maple neck with an unfinished rosewood fingerboard. It was my main bass for a long time. I use roundwounds on it, so the rosewood gets chewed up.

    I've had the neck planed once already several years back, and it needs another planing - but I'm not sure there's really enough fingerboard to do it. Plus, it's expensive if you want it done right (in the $300 range).

    So I'm not sure what to do.

    I think my options are:

    * buy a new fingerboard (perhaps ebony or a composite) and have someone replace the old one. I understand this is also fairly expensive. I'm not the world's most experienced woodworker, so I'm not sure about doing this work myself.

    * buy a new neck (I eyed ones at Warmoth, wenge/ebony, I think) and have someone replace it. After reading in this forum all about the precision required to do it, and the need for a drill press, and how you shouldn't use wood screws but those other thingamajigs :) - I figured I also should have someone do this too.

    * buy a new bass and be done with it. I mean, I like the bass. I've played on some good records with it, I've done some memorable gigs with it; but it's also pretty beat up, and I don't think it's worth much particularly, and hey - I'm always up for a new bass. :D

    I should add - no offense is intended regarding the cost of doing this work. I understand it's a craft, and if done right. repairs can last for a long, long time - my last planing, for example. I have nothing but respect for anyone that knows how to do this stuff, and I don't begrudge anybody a dime they earn doing it. That said - it's kind-of an opportunity cost question, really.

    Are there other options that will fix the problem that I've overlooked? Or options that won't cost me $500?

    Thanks for any thoughts.
  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    You could coat the board in mylar. Rounds will never chew it up again!
  3. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    It sounds like you know your options. You just have to choose. If you are happy and comfortable with the bass and the feel of the back of the neck I would suggest getting an Ebony board for it. Possibly others will have different ideas........Tom