Fretless Coating... Ultimatum!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by JetBlackJazz, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. Okay. There are thousands of forums and forums and forums galore about defretting and coating fretless fingerboards. Almost every thread shows different things. There are few constants in the opinion/fact/etc. But essentially, my question is what is THE most reliable and durable (with a descent price: $0-$70) coating for a fretless fingerboard fingerboard? My hopes are that this may hopefully be the last fingerboard coating thread ever, because of course, they take space and are annoying and bore us... :scowl: But let this be the ultimatum of all fretless coat forum.
  2. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    How about this? Don't coat it. I've had over 35 fretless basses. None coated. No problems.
  3. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Don't know about price, because that varies depending on whether you DIY, hire a pro, etc. But the hardest, most durable fretless fingerboard coating I know is good ol' epoxy. There are others from which you can select. But as far as I know, you'll find none harder or more durable... :meh:

  4. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    On all the fretless basses I build I use a CA (super glue) coating. Its very durable and since its applied in several thin coats and dries almost immediately you have less chance of problems (drips and bubbles) compared to epoxy. I find a difference in sound and playability but the biggest advantage to a coated fingerboard is that when it come times for a repair you are resurfacing the coating opposed to removing wood from the fingerboard. Not a big problem if you use flatwounds but if you use rounds like me its ideal.
  5. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate

    Aug 14, 2009
    The predominate response you'll find on Talkbass is epoxy. That said, leave it uncoated.

    Synderz has the right idea.
  6. I have a new neck that I am also debating whether to coat: it is goncalo so it is pretty soft, and the roundwounds are already marking it nicely. Do you use rounds?
  7. Really? Share your experiences... Rounds? Rosewood?
  8. Any KIND of epoxy that is most effective? Polymer, polyurethane, polly wanna cracker?
  9. ????
  10. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    That's what I use!
  11. Pickup truck bed coating?
    Garage floor Epoxy coating?
    Liquid glass?
  12. staccatogrowl

    staccatogrowl Savoring a spinning, shimmery aquasphere Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2006
    :ninja: Ultimatum :ninja:, as in a threat-based demand, devoid of negotiation? Ok, here goes:

    "You must use epoxied diamond dust as the coating for your fretless fingerboard, or the mods from TB will shred your bass like a foreign-manufacturer-rant post." :D
  13. Matthijs

    Matthijs Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2006
    This, and learn not to use a "fretted" vibrato (pushing the strings sideways) no need for that on a fretless.

    My main and only electric bass for the last 10 years, a fretless yamaha bb1200 with ebony fingerboard, has been strung with roundwound ghs boomers and has only needed a mild sanding of the fingerboard once, shortly after I've bought it. I do apply a yearly coat of tungoil or linseed oil.

    If you want a coating I think epoxy is the most popular and time tested method and superglue seems like a pretty good alternative. I think in the end any hard transparent coating will do. I've once used a polyurethane paint for sailing boats with good results. It is more about how comfortable you are in applying the stuff. I seriously doubt there will be relevant differences in playability or sound.
  14. JLS

    JLS Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
  15. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    If you really want a comprehensive discission about fingerboard coatings I would suggest a search in the Luthiers Corner. We've discussed this subject pretty extensively and you can find some very good walkthroughs of the different application techniques as well.
  16. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    I've used mirror coat on five or so epoxy jobs. It works well but takes a while to dry. Since you need to use layers (unless you use the build-a-dam method) it takes a couple weeks to finish. The result is nice and it is an inexpensive mod.

    I've left my current fretless bare wood (rosewood). I am getting a little marking from rounds but nothing that is affecting playability. If I do get excessive wear, I'll epoxy then. Till then I am bare wood.
  17. OnederTone

    OnederTone Aguilar Everywhere Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2002
    Thornton, CO
    There are 2 kinds of funny people in the world. People that say funny things, and people that say things funny.

    You, sir, are the latter.

    It made me giggle.
  18. Thanks for all the suggestions. My 3 choices are Mirrorcoat, uncoated, and superglue. How would I really go about coating with superglue?
  19. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Carefully mask around edges.
    Use meduim viscosity glue.
    Spread fairly even coat on board with paper towel (wear rubber gloves).
    Work fairly quickly and don't worry too much about it being perfectly smooth.
    Allow to cure (use accellerator if desired).
    Light sand to level it out.
    Repeat until you've done 8-10 coats.
    After levelling, sand progressively lighter grits to reach desired gloss.
    Enjoy your coated fingerboard.

    ...but I still vote for uncoated. :)
  20. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Thats a pretty good rundown on the process. Taping the board off well is very important as CA dries very quickly and is incredibly hard to remove from a finished instrument. Another thing to keep in mind is to go for thin coats. As quickly as CA dries you barely have time to get even coverage on the board. Medium viscosity glue will help but I prefer a more liqiud glue for the spreadability and faster drying time. Trying to apply heavier coats will lead to high spots that will take longer to sand out. Use paper towels to apply it as cotton cloth will react to the CA and burn your skin. Here is a link to one of my build threads that give a decent rundown with pics. Scroll a little down the page and you can find it.