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Few questions about Rosewood fingerboard on a fretless bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by calabri, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. calabri


    Nov 12, 2010
    Hey-I don't know if this thread fits here or in the Luthier forum...

    I'm planning on buying a "Cort B4FL". It's a fretless bass with a rosewood fingerboard.
    the problem is that I love playing fretless basses with Roundwound strings and I hate Flatwounds

    now to the questions:
    1.Should I worry about fret wear because of the rosewood?
    I play everyday with roundwound strings and i really don't want my fretboard to "die" quickly.
    2.should I take the bass to a guitar tech to put some epoxy coating? I heard great things about it but i also heard it ruins the 'natural' feeling of the fretless and the tone :(
    3.should I use nickel strings or SS strings?

    any other things I should know before buying this bass?

    thanks for viewing:)
  2. eyeballkid

    eyeballkid Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2009
    playing roundwounds on a fretless board will kill it.. especially if you play alot. if you hate flatwounds, try tapewounds.. pretty killer if ya ask me.
  3. calabri


    Nov 12, 2010
    Thanks for the answer
    I already tried tapewounds\groundwounds
    but it just don't feel right to me...

    if roundwounds will kill the board after let's say 2-3 years(playing it almost everyday) than I don't mind... but if it will hurt the fretboard after 2-3 months then it will be bad for me.
  4. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    1 - It's fretless, so there's absolutely no fret wear :D Seriously, rounds on a fretless will NOT kill the board. What they will do is wear it out quicker than if you used flats. After playing several hours every day, every day, for a year or so you might take your instrument to a luthier and have the fretboard re-sanded... not a big deal. Plenty of folks use rounds on a fretless. If that's what you prefer go for it.
    2 - Epoxy on a board is, for me, all about tone, and somewhat about feel. In a nutshell... the harder the fretboard surface the brighter the tone. Maple might yield a slightly brighter tone than rosewood. These are not huge differences, but to a trained ear they'd be noticeable.
    3 - Nickel or SS strings.... sorry, you're on your own. There is not a hard and fast "better for fretless" choice here.... it's all about personal preference.
  5. calabri


    Nov 12, 2010
    thanks! I think i will buy this bass next week...hope it will all be fine :)
  6. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    a lighter touch is your friend, regardless.
  7. eyeballkid

    eyeballkid Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2009
    IME, it will "hurt the board" in 2-3 months, but take 2-3 years to "kill" it.
  8. Bassflute


    Jun 24, 2006
    Endorsing Artist: MTD basses and strings; Bergantino Amps & Cabs

    If you like roundwounds, use them. Most fretlesses come with them. If they 'killed' the fingerboards, the manufacturers would not send them out with roundwounds.

    Once a year, sand it down using ultra fine sandpaper on sanding flat block, steel wool it (ultra fine). You're good to go.

    Fretless player since 1978,
    Always uses roundwounds,
    Have YET to KILL a fingerboard...
  9. Fresh Eddie

    Fresh Eddie

    Nov 13, 2008
    Finishing your fingerboards will have a drastic effect on the tone, I have two fretless basses with finished fingerboards (a converted Fender Elite II, and a Pedulla) but even with flatwounds they never sound as warm as my $125 SX with an unfinished rosewood board.
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    1. The wear issue will hinge largely on how you play. There are ways to play a fretless that cause minimal wear at the worst. I've yet to have a fretless that got killed by roundwounds or anything approaching that result. That's the beauty of the web, for damn near any question you can get a yes, a no and a maybe.

    2. I wouldn't epoxy the board unless I was sure that was the sound I was after.

    3. I use Nickel rounds on all of my fretlesses.
  11. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer Supporting Member

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    I would agree. I have even used SS rounds on fretless basses and not worried about it. And as to the finished FB, it concur that it is a TOTALLY different sound.

    If you are absolutely consumed with paranoia, you can use something like Ken Smith compressors. They sound pretty much like rounds but are a little smoother. Anything else like groundwounds, or tapewounds or this or that wounds is going to sound like its own animal.
  12. girlonbass


    Apr 3, 2009
    Tony Franklin said that playing his fretless P-bass with a rosewood fingerboard and round-wound strings destroyed the instrument over years of pro playing. He had Fender make him a custom bass with with an ebony fingerboard.

    Ebony is the way to go if you are going fretless. It is much harder and will wear better. Lots of companies are going that way for fretless where the ebony is standard for non-fretted basses. My Godin A4 is ebony and has a wonderful sound. Other companies like Squire have cheap alternatives like ebanol. So there seems to be a trend away from rosewood for fretless.

  13. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer Supporting Member

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    I agree that ebony is the ideal FB wood for fretless. But, ebony is going to sound a bit different than rosewood, and further, true ebony that will withstand the abrasion as you suggest moves an instrument into a completely different price point than the rosewood being used on production instruments today.
  14. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Have you tried coated strings like Rotosound nexus, DR black beautiers, or DR neons?
  15. calabri


    Nov 12, 2010

    Not on a fretless... what are the advantages on stringing a fretless with them?

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