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Anyone prefer fretless maple fingerboards?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by spc, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. spc


    Apr 10, 2004
    South of Boston
    I have a few fretless basses, my oldest is a warmoth parts jazz (P+J pickups) with an ash body, maple neck, fretless maple board. The board was lightly coated by a local luthier. I also have a parts jazz with a mighty mite body (maple), warmoth maple neck, ebony board. I also have a USA JO that I had converted at the Pedulla shop (buzz coating).
    I think I like the maple the best, it's certainly the brightest and woodiest. Anybody prefer maple fretless and why?
    I want to have something built, or do another parts bass and I'm trying to decide on the fingerboard. My jazz with the maple body is just a bit too harsh, is that something maple bodies are known for? Thanks!
  2. spc


    Apr 10, 2004
    South of Boston
  3. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Christian McBride plays (I believe) a fretless jazz bass with a maple fingerboard. I think I tried one somewhere. It seems to me that there is "mwah" in them, but the mwah is quicker and higher up in the frequency range. Might have just been the setup on the bass I was playing. Other than that, dunno.
  4. I can't get used to the looks of maple fretless. I suppose it is a much brighter sound. I think there is a Brice/SX 5-string fretless jazz that is ash/maple as you describe.

    Having said that, I would much rather have a bass that was brighter naturally than active electronics. Easier to make a bright bass dark than a dark bass bright.

    I did see Christine McBride in a photo playing one. I have heard some insane electric bass stuff from him but cannot ascertain which electric he was playing. But it was a lot of fretless, percussive slapping.
  5. kobass

    kobass Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Outside Boston
    Not to hijack the thread, but... Christian McBride plays a Pensa-Suhr custom fretless Jazz w/maple board. I saw some footage of him playing it. WGBH (Boston's PBS station) filmed the '03 Newport Jazz Festival. Christian was tearing it up as part of the Pat Metheny trio. He was playing through an Ampeg. Incredible mwah!
  6. Hman


    Jan 8, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
  7. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    He is indeed a very, very, very bad man.
  8. jvbjr


    Jan 8, 2005
    Before I chickened out I almost bought a Roscoe 6 string fretless w/ maple baord from Bunny Bass.
  9. I fancy A Fender Custom Shop based on an American Deluxe 5 Jazz.

    That is, maple board without face side markers, Aged Cherry colour, and black nylon strings: might be persuaded to give Roto 88s a go as their 77s sound so good on my fretted version of above.

  10. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    love maple board fretlesses... mine is stabilized from Galleryhardwoods.com so it's got a tone all it's own.

    I'd love a rootbeer 70s P with a fretless maple neck if the right one pops up when the funds are at the ready
  11. James, I imagine you've been asked this before, but how does the stabilized maple compare to ebony, or rosewood?
  12. spc


    Apr 10, 2004
    South of Boston
    Thanks all for the input, keep it coming if you like...
    Basses with maple boards (IME) seem very loud acoustically, which is one of the reasons I wind up playing them so often when I'm just practicing unplugged... Not sure what this is...
  13. SharkB8


    May 29, 2002
    Paging Wolfehollow....

    Wolfe's got a Marchlewski 4 banger fretless w/a stabilizied Birdseye Maple f/b.....

    Looks very nice.
  14. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    I have a fretless Lakland Skyline with a rosewood board and a fretless Brice 5-string J-bass with a maple board.

    I like both, frankly.
  15. My new Lightwave has a maple fingerboard. I've only been messing with it for a couple of hours, but it does seem bright. I know when I was tuning it unplugged, I was pleasantly surprised at the volume.
  16. spc


    Apr 10, 2004
    South of Boston
    Is the board on the Lakland coated with anything? What is your take on the sound of that board as opposed to the maple one?
  17. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    I think that Wilbyman nails it. I attended a 1-hour clinic with Christian McBride at Bass Day 2003 and yes, he was playing that maple board Pensa-Suhr. Honestly I don't recall it sounding any different that any other quality Jazz-like fretless. I also have most of his CDs and the same thing. I think that Ebony and Maple are very similar in density.
  18. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    I have a rosewood fretless and a maple fretless. Hands down prefer the maple neck. I'm not big into mwah. I find it a one trick pony for limited range of music. The maple neck gives me no mwah. I use it for all styles of music.

    For visual effect, any unlined fretless looks great. There's purity to that great expanse of clean neck that I find great to look at.
  19. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    it's not too much like either, but closer to ebony. It's got a killer 'silky' feel to it. I prefer it to anything else I've tried as a fretless board.
  20. MrWalker


    Apr 3, 2002
    Personally, I prefer ebony for fretless. I just don't like the feel of the maple fingerboards I've tried, nor the sound. Sonic and visual preference, I presume.

    I like maple fingerboards on fretted basses, though. :)