Fretboard sanding?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Admpres, Oct 22, 2011.


  1. Admpres

    Admpres

    Jul 23, 2011
    Duluth, Minnesota
    I've just bought a heavily used DB for dirt cheap, from the local school district, and the fingerboard is a bit grimy, has some shallow dings in it and has tape(?) on it marking the positions.

    Could I hit it with a medium grit (120) sandpaper and then go over it in a high grit (400) paper, and then refinish(?) it?

    I'm pretty new to DB, so sorry if this is totally obvious, or a repost!
     
  2. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I'd suggest getting all of the tape off there, then posting some pics. Beware of what happened to me with my daughter's 1/4 size violin: It was not only covered with tape but also some evil mound of mole-skin around the chinrest. The stuff I used for removing the tape goo worked great until I got to the fingerboard, then it started taking off the black paint on the non-ebony board. That was a sticky mess.
     
  3. Admpres

    Admpres

    Jul 23, 2011
    Duluth, Minnesota
    Yeah, I was going to try and get rid of all of the nasty nape goo before sanding.
    It's a full size Anerican Standard, and I'm pretty sure it's a full Ebony fingerboard.

    I take it there's no MAJOR difference between ebony and the rosewood on my basses?
     
  4. JtheJazzMan

    JtheJazzMan

    Apr 10, 2006
    Australia
    Sandpaper should really only be for finishing the surface once it has been flattened.

    If you have a large, flat, and sharp file, that works well for getting the surface flat along the length of the fingerboard. Just take it slowly to preserve the curvature of the board.

    The board should be comfortable and playable with just the filing, then the sandpaper can be used to finish the surface.
     
  5. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Where are the dings? If you're just getting started on DB, dressing a board yourself could be a lot of effort and risk if the problems don't affect playability too much.
     
  6. +1. That's a high-precision job you're taking on, not to be attempted lightly. A couple of strokes of sandpaper could make a critical difference.
     
  7. skychief

    skychief

    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    oh dear. Sandpaper will remove material from the instrument.

    If all you need is a proper solvent (no acetone or naptha!) to remove all the finger-funk & tape adhesive, i would go that route first.

    Sandpaper should be the final, last-ditch, nothing else works solution.
     
  8. PaulCannon

    PaulCannon

    Jan 24, 2002
    Frankfurt, Germany
    NS Design Endorsing Artist
    Fingerboard work is not a DIY job. Find a reputable luthier and have them take a look at the instrument. They may have an easy solution to removing the grime and tape (possibly citrus cleaner and ultrafine steel wool), but "dings" typically can't just be sanded out. If there's any need for planing and sanding, let an experienced professional do it for you.
     
  9. Admpres

    Admpres

    Jul 23, 2011
    Duluth, Minnesota
    Finding a good and trustworthy luthier in northern Minnesota is not going to be an easy task..
    But it's sounding like its going to be my only option.
    Hmm.
     
  10. bssist

    bssist

    Jun 23, 2007
    St. Louis, MO USA
    Yes, but did you know they had a family trio that played primarily at bris and barmitzvah ceremonies? Jose was a killer pianist and Carlos was wicked on the skins!:cool:
     
  11. You're what, two hours from Minneapolis? There is bound to be someone there, if not closer.
     
  12. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
  13. JtheJazzMan

    JtheJazzMan

    Apr 10, 2006
    Australia
    If your bass is very cheap then it may not make much sense to spend a lot of money on a luthier fixing up the instrument. It can just end up exceeding the worth of the instrument.

    The instrument can be a good learning experience. Try doing some reading on here about soundpost placement and contact with the top and back, which can affect how the top is flexing under string tension and as a result affecting the string height.

    If that is fine then examine these fingerboard dents. Are they under the strings? Are they causing notes to buzz excessively? Then you can look at flattening the board as per my first post.
     
  14. notabene

    notabene

    Sep 20, 2010
    SF Bay area
  15. Absolutely! I just did my fingerboard after I glued it back onto the neck ( don't ever let brass players touch your instrument! They too dumb and think they can move and upright by pulling on the board pulling it straight off the neck) If your board is ebony than you'll have no worries. What you need is 400, 800, 1200 grade sandpaper wet/dry and oil like olive oil spray, nothing fancy! Fold the sandpaper palm size spray the board generously and go at it up and down obviously with 400 first, have a towel ready and wipe it off to have a look again and again, the grime and tiny scratches will come out after few minutes, wipe and do the same with 800 for some time then finish up with 1200!!
    No stupid file or dry sand paper at all! If you string up and you find that the deeper marks effecting the strings and playing depending on the thickness of the board a luthier can re-do the neck for you, if the neck is too thin replacing the board is no big deal at all! There is a way to do cracks only with ebony but that is something I'd have to show you as it needs more than few sentences. Good luck!


     
  16. Cody Sisk

    Cody Sisk

    Jan 26, 2009
    Lilburn, GA
    Ronald Sachs Violins
    Please post pictures of the fingerboard if you can. We need to see one looking down the board from above the scroll and any other pictures you find relevant to your original question. Thanks.
     
  17. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    If you are methodical and have good attention to detail, doing the work on your own is not unreasonable. If you are uptight and impatient, listen to all of the naysayers and find a good luthier.

    Either way, get a copy of Chuck Traeger's book, Setup and Repair of the Double Bass for Optimum Sound. It will be the best $75 you'll ever spend on your bass and will walk you through this procedure.


    "...people who say it cannot be done should get out of the way of people who are doing it...."

    George Bernard Shaw
     
  18. Cody Sisk

    Cody Sisk

    Jan 26, 2009
    Lilburn, GA
    Ronald Sachs Violins
    Whatever James, I'm sure you get lots of lucrative bidness by charging a premium to fix the mistakes of the local amateurs, hobbyists and/or cheap-bastards. :spit::D
     
  19. bssist

    bssist

    Jun 23, 2007
    St. Louis, MO USA
    Wow! I'm glad you're not cynical. Do you look down on everyone from way up there on that ivory luthery throne, on only the fellow luthiers who betray the secret brotherhood by being supportive of cheap diy bastards?

    Thank ____________ (God, Allah, YHVH, Muhamed, Higher Being of your brand) that you never robbed the roadside assistance tech of his rent money by changing your own tire or you might not be entitled to look down from such a supremely higher place. :eyebrow: :rollno:
     
  20. why is there all this talk about sanding? am i wrong in thinking ultra fine grit steel wool is more appropriate for this task? if you need anything more for playability reasons, i wouldn't DIY this one - you can easily mess things up and end up needing a more thorough board dress than you already probably do.
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jun 14, 2021

Share This Page