Fingerboard question

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by barroso, Aug 8, 2002.

  1. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    Assuming that the fingerboard wood is an important part of a bass not only for the feeling but for the final sound too, i have a question.

    do big inlays (i am thinking to Fender '70 block inlays) affect someway the tone?

    isn't it plastic (or similar) material instead of wood?

  2. elwood

    elwood there is no spoo

    Jul 25, 2001
    Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    I have mother of pearl inlays on a Yamaha that posed no tonal effect until I defretted it. They can create uneven buzz once fretless. Never seen inlays have any tonal effect on any fretted bass.

  3. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    I saw on one luthier's site that he thought they would affect sound, and he does not do block inlays, only dots. Don't remember who it is, though. And that's the only one I've seen.

    Makes you wonder about those heavy-duty PRS and Warrior inlays, though, doesn't it?
  4. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I'd wonder why on a fretted. I mean, the string path is from the metal fret on, right? And the vibrations/tones from the board would be rather minimally affected by inlays. They'd have to be a SIGNIFICANT amount of inlay (and really deep) befor I think it would compromise the sound of the wood.
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    "For correctly answering that quesiton, Brandon receives an all-expenses trip for two to the Dolly Parton Museum of Orthopedic Back Support!!!!"

    Of course, frets wear down over time and they begin to contact the wood if the instrument isn't refretted.

    Using Alembic as a reference, they say, "no", that inlays don't affect tone.

    "Guitar Magazine" has an article that says "yes" they do.

    What I don't know is if;

    - "Guitar Magazine" is referring only to guitars and Alembic is referring only to basses
    - If they are talking about an aurally perceptible difference or a difference that only is apparent on testing equipment in a lab

    Either way, I go with what I know, personally. I had an ebony board with MOP block inlays that were so big there was more shell than wood as far as surface area goes (but the wood was much thicker).
    Yet, it still displayed the tonal characteristics of ebony that distinguish it from rosewood and maple. I imagine that was because the MOP is actually "tone dead" - it doesn't resonate much at all. Obviously, the ebony was still coming through loud and clear.