Dying ebony fretboard?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Angus, Nov 1, 2001.

  1. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Hey guys,

    I'm about to acquire an old Yamaha BB3000 in a trade with an old amp I have. It has an ebony fretboard, but the owner had the frets removed, and fretlines added. I love fretless, but I hate fretlines. Would there be anyway to dye the face of the fretboard so that the lines are no longer visible?

    Seems like a longshot because of the density of the wood (and the fact that the bass has inlays :(), but I thought I'd ask. For the price I'm getting it for, I'm considering just getting it re-fretted as a second alternative.

    Any input would be very helpful! Thanks! :cool:
  2. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    If the lines are wood and the inlays not wood, it's an easy endeavor.
    If the lines are wood and the inlays too, you'll have to mask the inlays.
    If the lines are not wood :mad: - forget it.
  3. Like surburban said, it's easy if the inlays are wood. Maybe a brown marksalot and some lemon oil. That still leaves you with the inlays.

    On my bb1200 I had the inlays removed (soldering iron to heat them and then pry out), then the holes were filled with a mixture of epoxy and ebony dust. From 2 feet it looks like a solid board. Seems well within the range of a do-it-yourself person (ie, not me :D ).

    If the fretlines are synthetic you might try what Hambone recomended in this thread. Use a veneer to cover the whole board.
  4. The best dye to use (again, if it's all wood) comes from Stewart MacDonald. It's the type of dye that Gibson used on a lot of their basses to create what they marketed as "ebonized" fretboards. Sounds expensive but they were just real black. I've dyed my rosewood to a near perfect deep black and it looks mahvelous!

  5. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    What StewMac sells and has sold in the past is actually a black leather dye (I have had a bottle for a few years), which you may be able to find locally as well. I've used it on two of my upright basses and my old Gibson ebony fretless. Works well
  6. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    I talked to my luthier about it, and he said that cost-wise, I could refret the bass with silver beryllium frets for the same price as removing the inlays, filling, and dying. I don't know what I trust myself to do the inlay removing/filling, and that's the problem.

    So, looks like I'll be getting it refretted. Silver beryllium frets do seem tempting, though...:)

    Thanks for the help, everyone!