Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

fret board finishing ideas?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by JacksonsMen, Dec 15, 2005.


  1. just stepped outside to have a smoke, and got to thinking about different things, basically how i wasnt too fond of fretless basses due to not haveing a point of reference on the neck. and then i realized that if it were lined i would have my reference points, but i really dont like that look.

    so i had an idea... is there a way to fill the grain on a neck prior to finishing that would prevent it from accepting a kind of stain or finish, and if there is a way to pre-fill the grain with something, is there a way to precisely control where that filler goes via masking?

    i was thinking of taking a relatively lighter dark wood board, and masking off the fret area (or where the actaul fret wire would normally be) so that when the stain is applied, it would not appear, or appear lighter in the given area? thus a point of reference without the run of the mill look of white on dark wood


    anyone have a clue what im thinking?
     
  2. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    I don't see why you couldn't do your method-- stain all but the fret areas-- or also the reverse-- stain the fret areas only. How sharp a line you would get wound be dependent on the nature of the wood, and on the tape used to mask and the stain.

    I'm thinking that a bit of "fuzzy" absorbtion, blurring the lines, could look cool, while still giving you your visual reference.

    Also, if you're looking for a medium-dark board with darker lines, you could also do this with the conventional inlay method if you wanted to. Just choose the right woods.
     
  3. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    I think I understand what you are saying, but
    1.) The grain on fbs is longitudinal. You'll have the paint spreading along the grain, resulting in darker patches.
    2.) Instead of a thin line, now you'll have big, dark patches

    how's about putting similar colour wood in? I've seen a few pictures of basses that had dark brown lines on ebony and it was hardly visible from a few feet, but from the side, from close up, you could see them well.
     
  4. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Actually, that was sort of what I was suggesting. But it all would depend on just how much the stain spreads along the grain. Could be a lot or a little, depending on the wood. There's no substitute for test pieces. But the effect I was thinking of was to be looking like it had been scorched or branded, with a solid line, and some fade decaying to each side. Just a visual reference, centered on the proper position.
     
  5. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Yeah, but when I began writing that, you hadn't posted yours yet :p
     
  6. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    The internet strikes again.
     
  7. i like that fuzzy line idea, if i could be sure to put the same preassure on each line on every pass, the variation would probably be negligable from fret to fret, hmmmmmm, i might just have to do that.
     
  8. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Or, depending on the wood, you might be able to do a perfect masking tape seal all around, but the stain might sink down into the wood, and then be transported longitudinally up and down the neck a short distance by normal wood moisture transport.
     
  9. thats what i thought we were talking about, do a very sharp mask off, and then have the stain bleed through the grain, it could end up looking somewhat vintage, like the line was smeared from use or something.
     
  10. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
  11. hmmmm...an interesting thought...no matter how much it bleeds, it could never be fuzzier than my intonation :D
     
  12. hahaha, im really gonna have to look into doing this

    any recomendations on wood?
     
  13. purpleheart
     
  14. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    *visualizes it*
    :eyebrow:
    Yeah, tastes are a personal thing, I see :p
    What kind of colour are you looking for? And what tonal qualities?
     
  15. tonally something with a mellow sound, but not muddy, and for colors i was thinking a lighter wood, ive been looing at a few different thins but nothing really has stood out yet


    is it possible to bleach a dark wood?
     
  16. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Mellow sound?
    Well, well... that's a tough one. For a fretless, you need a very hard and wear-resistant wood, and most of these have more highs because of their density.
    Rosewood might be mellower, but it is both darker and wears a bit.