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Choosing Veneer for Fretless Lines

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by otnemeM, Jan 14, 2004.


  1. otnemeM

    otnemeM

    Oct 29, 2002
    Ovar, Portugal
    Hy there!

    I'm on the last stage of decisions for my new Custom 6 String Fretless.

    The only thing left? You got it, which wood-type veneer to fill the fretless lines?

    The fingerboard will be in Ebony and I don't want Maple lines in there because they'll just contrast too much.
    The luthier suggested Amazaque (aka Ovangkol, etc). I like the idea of those brown stripes on black ebony, but will that be a good idea or do you know of anything that makes it a bad idea?

    If Amazaque would be a bad idea, which wood type would you suggest? (nothing too fancy ;) )

    You can also suggest other alternatives even if Amazaque *is* a good idea (just for the record :D )

    Thx in advance,

    André
     
  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Ovangkol sounds fine to me if what you are after is less contrast than maple.
     
  3. otnemeM

    otnemeM

    Oct 29, 2002
    Ovar, Portugal
    thanks! :)

    so there's no incompatibility or susceptibily to wear faster, or anything like that, right?
     
  4. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    No forseeable problems.
     
  5. You wanna tweak that choice and make it better for you on stage?

    Go for the Ovangkol or whatever darker wood that would look good but do this along with it:

    Have your builder insert a very small wedge of light colored wood into the fret slot on the viewing side of the neck. This little wedge should NOT fill the entire slot, only about 2/3's of the depth. Then fill the rest of the slot with your veneer choice. What you'll wind up with is a series of light colored marks to look at while playing that aren't seen from the front. In low light conditions, this will be a great help.

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Does anyone know where I could get veneer that would fit Warmoth fret slots?
     
  7. otnemeM

    otnemeM

    Oct 29, 2002
    Ovar, Portugal
    Thx FBB Custom for the confirmation, and thx Hambone for the nice tip - I'll check for availability!

    FBB, I checked your website and wow... nice machines!
    I'm just sorry that I'm not on the U.S., cause then my only problem would be which luthier to choose! :rolleyes:

    Brooks, sorry but I can't help on that one :meh:


    I'll share my beauty when it's done! :D

    - André
     
  8. joeviau

    joeviau

    Jul 9, 2002
    Rhode Island
    Anybody using white plastic shims?
     
  9. bwbass

    bwbass

    May 6, 2002
    WA
    Brooks:

    FYI our standard fret slots are .022" - we use a wider veneer when making a lined fretless neck, so we cut those slots wider. I believe that dimension is .030".

    I've heard of people using styrene sheet plastic from a hobby shop for fret lines. Apparently it comes in different colors and thicknesses - I think this is what Moses uses to get different shades of grey in fret lines.
     
  10. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Rick Turner also uses styrene. Problem is, I'm in the Middle East, none of that stuff is available...gotta find it online some place, and order it.
     
  11. bound

    bound

    Dec 28, 2003
    Jersey, Baby!
    I've redone a couple necks to fretless, and i've always used plastic lines. I just raid the recycling bucket for a couple thicknesses in colors i like, then cut it into strips and see which fits best, then just ca it in and trim them down. the guy at my local music store uses the plastic letters from their billboard, you know the kind with the flashing arrow on top that are all over the place. i personally like clear plastyic the best.
     
  12. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Most veneer sold as veneer is just about the right thickness. Just try to confirm with your source that the stuff is right around .022" and you should be all right. I have a couple rolls of different veneers and I have used pearwood and beech for lines. I also have some maple that is just a bit too thick (but is great for other things).
     
  13. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    what FBB said. I just bought a slotted radiused board from lmi (fret slots are .022) and one of their veneers (which is .023) a light sanding and they should fit perfectly.
     
  14. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    You may like purpleheart. I had maple and purpleheart put on my fretless, and it looks very nice.
    [​IMG]
     
  15. otnemeM

    otnemeM

    Oct 29, 2002
    Ovar, Portugal
    Is the fretboard coated?

    (nice lookin' bass btw :D)
     
  16. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Thanks, and yes it has a polyurethane coating on the fretboard (much like a Pedulla Buzz). Here's a better pic of it:

    [​IMG]
     
  17. otnemeM

    otnemeM

    Oct 29, 2002
    Ovar, Portugal
    Nice, very nice.

    You're using Nickels/Nickel plateds or stells?

    How does it hold against wear?


    Every now and then I consider wether to coat or not mine :rolleyes:
    ...and still dunno! :oops:
     
  18. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    I use nickel rounds. The bass is new, so there wouldn't be wear anyways, but I don't forsee any wear for a very, very long time. The poly coating is very protective, and even when that wears down I can have it sanded and re-polyed (is that a word?) without the ebony underneath being affected.

    I've had a fretless with an unfinished ebony board and this highly finished one, and there's a definite sound difference. The unfinished ebony had a more woody, acoustic sort of sound, and the finished one has a much more singing, mwah-ful sound.
     
  19. otnemeM

    otnemeM

    Oct 29, 2002
    Ovar, Portugal
    Nice then...

    And if you had to compare the effect nickels have in wearing both fretboards (the coated and the "uncoated") would you say that there is a noticeable difference? a big one? not worth mentioning? :confused:

    I know that , even Ebony being such a hard wood , coating will make the surface even harder, thus brightning the tone, but that won't be an issue for me... I'm just wanting to compare protection on fretboards, and if it worths coating or not (that much) :)
     
  20. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Remember that I'm not a professional, but I'd say that as far as protection goes, coating can only help, IME. This is a quote by Michael Pedulla from the Pedulla website regarding polyester finish and using rounds on a fretless: "With normal wear ad tear, this finish will last 2 to 6 years, at which time it will simply need recoating. It is time to re-coat when the finish actually wears through to the fingerboard."

    Seems like a decent amount of time added on when you use the polyester. Ask your luthier if he has experience putting different coatings on-mine was put on at no additional cost.