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binding on fretless ebony fingerboad? and luthier?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by nothingman78, Apr 18, 2002.

  1. nothingman78


    Feb 27, 2002
    I have a one fretless bass neck. it is ebony fingerboad. and I want use roundwound string.
    do I need to coat some pollyurethern on the ebony
    fingerboad for protection? or is ebony fingerboad pretty strong enough to handle roundwound string?

    and does anybody know really good luthier in Los Angeles who has a lot of experience for fretless bass?
    I'm living in Los Angeles.
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    You can coat the fingerboard if you wish, but in addition to protecting the board, it is going to significantly brighten the sound of the bass. In some cases, so much that it is harsh.

    If you really like the sound you have now, don't coat it. It will change the tone of the bass.

    If the board it of good quality ebony, it should last through several years of regular play before needing to be be re-planed even using round wounds.

    Typically a fingerboard can be re-planed 2 or 3 times before in needs to be replaced. So, you are looking at getting a good 15-20 years or more out of the bass even if you want to use rounds.

    Nickel strings are a little softer than steel and might not be as hard on the board.

    Of course, your style of play is going to make as much difference as anything. If you tend to slap and pull the strings a lot and dig in really hard. As well as do a great deal of pulling and bending with the left hand, it may wear much quicker.

  3. It's not likely that you'll get anything to stick to the ebony because it is a very oily wood. Whatever goes on will eventually give up and begin flaking.

    Chas is right about wear - ebony is the hardest wood for fingerboards and wears well even while using roundwounds. There will be noticeable wear but it's usually minimal. If you want to eliminate it further and keep the roundwound sound, try a set of halfrounds, or compression wounds. Same tone as roundwounds without the roughness.
  4. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    They're totally correct with that they said, and I personally think you shouldn't coat it. Ebony sounds beautiful raw.

    Remember, though, that binding is the stuff that runs along the sides of the fingerboard (and/or body), like where the dots are. Binding doesn't protect from fingerboard wear unless you play really, really strangely! :)
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