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Fingerboard replacement...possible???

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by eastcoasteddie, Mar 25, 2009.


  1. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie

    Mar 24, 2006
    NoVA
    I know nothing about building a guitar from scratch, nor do I know what is possible or impossible to do with an already-built guitar...

    Now that that is out of the way, here's my question.

    I have a relatively inexpensive 5-string Jazz. I defretted the ebanol fingerboard because I was GAS'ing for a fretless. I figured that this would be a perfect candidate for that. If I screw it up, then "oh, well"...it isn't the end of the world.

    Well, I didn't screw it up at all. It came out pretty good for a guy that doesn't know what he's doing. Thing is that the plastic ebanol fingerboard really doesn't sound that great as a fretless. It doesn't have that deep, woody tone that a fretless should. It sounds brittle and trebly.

    Is it possible to remove the ebanol and install a rosewood or Pau ferro fingerboard in place of it?
    More importantly, how much does something like that cost?
    I wouldn't want to spend more on a fingerboard than what the bass is worth...

    I would buy another neck for it, simple as that, but the neck on this bass is unbelievably wide...wider than a standard Fender Jazz neck. It is precisely 3.05" wide at the bottom of the heel. I believe a standard 5-string Jazz neck is about 2.825" wide at the bottom of the heel.

    So how can I obtain my traditional deep, woody tone? can I have the fingerboard replaced...or just buy another bass...?
    If something can be done, can anyone here do it? or should I go jump in a lake?
     
  2. Jimmy Bones

    Jimmy Bones

    Feb 24, 2009
    Baxley, GA
    I am fond of Crystal Lake near Gainesville, in Florida. :p

    As far as I am aware, fingerboard replacement is possible, but usually more of a pain than its worth.

    I suggest lurking Craigslist until you see a fretless for cheap to fiddle around with, and in the meantime get your J refretted so it sounds normal again. It is my experience that taking an inexpensive bass and modding stock parts usually doesn't ive the end result you're looking for.

    BUT - That's just me and my twopence. Take it for what you will. :)
     
  3. Hi.

    AFAIK nearly all the fretless fingerboards are plastic=epoxied. With the exeption of ebenholz, bockholz and other superhard wooden varities.

    If You don't like the feel of ebanol and still want the bass to be fretless, I'd shave some off the fingerboard and glue a 1 or 2mm veneer of Your choice to make a new fretting surface. Unless You can score some "real" fingerboard material, you'll most probably have to epoxy it anyway.

    Regards
    Sam
     
  4. LedBelli Bass

    LedBelli Bass Fine, Handmade Custom Bass Guitars

    Dec 25, 2008
    Pasco, WA
    +1 on the re-fret and look for another!
     
  5. stflbn

    stflbn

    May 10, 2007
    Nashville
    or you could sell this bass with the ebanol. Seems there's fretless people out there looking for a crisper fretless sound.
     

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