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fingerboard coating

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by joereda, Jan 11, 2005.


  1. joereda

    joereda Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2003
    Atlanta
    Forgive me, please. This is just curiosity...not a desire to do it...well, never say never. Has anybody coated a fingerboard as some fretlless electric players to?
     
  2. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Yeah... The factories that churn out Cremonas, Palatinos, Meranos etc., coat thousands of 'em. :meh:
     
  3. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Believe me, Brent, I know where you're coming from, but in fairness to joeyreda I'm not sure he's thinking of that paint-like stuff used in ebonizing ("to ebonize" = to paint with thick black paint-like stuff.) Slab-makers like to use epoxies to seal and finish fretless fingerboards.

    I believe the answer is still no, with the usual allowances made for freaky exceptions. The feel of nicely-finished -- but bare -- ebony is the standard in the DB world.
     
  4. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    I hear ya, Damon - just a little light-hearted jab at bass-shaped objects.

    Aside from going bare, joeyreda, some folks apply a little oil to their DB boards -- sometimes lemon oil, or a drying oil like tung or watco danish oil.
     
  5. joereda

    joereda Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2003
    Atlanta
    What sparked my interest was the difference I've noticed between Rosewood and Ebony boards. To my ears an ebony board provides a clearer sound, particularly the slap of strings against the board (seems higher pitched). I'm sure the thickness of the board affects this too. Anyhow, I'm surprised some chopslinger hasn't epoxied their fingerboard and wowed everyone with their mwah chops. And Brent, I haven't inquired about the Shen again because my upright is having a major repair at Eduard Svetlovsky's shop. Thanks guys.

    Joe
     
  6. mpm

    mpm

    May 10, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I did it once to a cremona bso. I used fiberglass resin, tinted black. The biggest problem was getting the resin to 'stick' where the camber was highest, i.e., the nut and down at the other end. After I saw what crap wood they used for the fingerboard, I figured it couldn't hurt!
     
  7. I plan on coating the fingerboard of the Semi hollow EUB I'm building (w/watco tung oil). In my defense, I have a 60+ yr old solid top German 3/4 bass, & the two will not share the same room.
     
  8. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    DB guys notice the difference between rosewood and ebony as well, possibly the slappers moreso than anyone. The rosewood tends to lend a warmer sound and woodier slap click, while the ebony is brighter and, depending on strings, can contribute to a pretty harsh-sounding click.
     
  9. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    BG guys coat their fretlesses because "Jaco did it." Jaco slathered his board with boat epoxy because round-wound BG strings are like friggin' files on a fingerboard.

    Double basses use flat-wound strings that don't grind the board in the same way. Same was as before 1976 fretless Fender players used flat-wound strings and didn't need fingerboard coatings. Check out Gary King on Grover Washington's Mr. Magic LP or -- dare I say it -- whoever's on Frampton Comes Alive to hear that sound. (Good God, I never thought I'd be citing FCA around here. I'm probably the only kid in the country that didn't own that album.)

    On DB "mwah" comes from having a skilled luthier do a great job planing your board.
     
  10. I don't have any Frampton albums, & I was alive then (b. 11/25/63).
     
  11. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I once ruined a board because I misunderstood "how Jaco did it". This was a cheap-butt Squier Jazz we're talking about, 25 years ago almost. I thought Jaco used epoxy to fill the fret kerfs only, not to coat the whole board. So, after ripping the frets out of this bass, I filled the kerfs with epoxy, let the 'pox set and then started sanding. And sanding. And sanding. And... well, you get the point. I sanded that board down to Kleenex thickness, I'm sure, and it was about as straight as Wavey Gravy, too.

    That old Downbeat article introducing Jaco to the world -- wherein he told the epoxy story -- changed my life in lotsa ways.

    I've done a couple more conversions since and I've used wood veneers to fill the kerfs. Me like much better.
     
  12. Mudfuzz

    Mudfuzz

    Apr 3, 2004
    WA...
    Actually [not counting your over-zealous sanding], if you had used thickener in the epoxy it would have worked out fine.
     
  13. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I was way too green for it to have worked out fine! I'm glad I didn't let that stop me, though.
     
  14. Mudfuzz

    Mudfuzz

    Apr 3, 2004
    WA...
    So am I. To me Frankies and hotrods are a healthy part to guitar/bassguitar culture.

    Actually, what I did for my fist [and only] de-fret was I just pulled the old board and glued on a new ebony one. The only problem is the neck I did it on is not the best piece of wood in the world and is a bit bendy, but then it was free with the tuners so......