Fretless.Ebony or rosewood

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by The Great Rober, Jan 3, 2004.

  1. The Great Rober

    The Great Rober

    Dec 4, 2003
    Whats the best neck on a fretless.Ebony or rosewood or something else. By best, I guess I mean that "fretless" sound ( whatever that really is !!) and wear.
    Opinions please !
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I would say ebony or maple.
  3. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    you probably won't get many reccomendations for rosewood-
    ebony is better, or diamondwood , or katalox, or phenolic, or pink ivory, etc.. and yes, even sometimes maple.
  4. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    well, Fodera is offering "Kingwood", which i think is a harder variant of Rosewood.

    and i love it! on Dave beasley's fretless beez, it made the Ebony on another fretless sound harsh and clacky. smooth, warm, rich, everything i love in a bass sound.

    made me a believer.
  5. The Great Rober

    The Great Rober

    Dec 4, 2003
    In the UK most , if not all fretless basses tend to have rosewood fretboards. By this I mean the regular , commercially available ones. Ibenez, Yamaha, Fender Jazz (MIM).
    The sort of money I'm going to have for my fretless will dictate one of the above.Unless I can find a pre-owned one. And, being honest I will need the "fret-lines " on the neck. I guess that sort of rules out Ebony !
  6. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Ebony is usually too expensive, to get good quality ebony, when the result is not much more than you get from a good hard rosewood.

    I'm a big fan of composite boards and graphite, not only is it hard has hell, but it won't get busted up from wearing roundwounds.
  7. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    Ebony,with roundwounds
    Maple, or Rosewood with flats.
    A fingerboard coating will change sound.
    If you use coating like Padulla's finish,
    any wood sounds good.
  8. MrBonex


    Jan 2, 2004
    New Hampshire
    There is no question whatsoever that ebony is a much harder wood. Even lower quality ebony will be much harder than any rosewood.

    Why do you think Jaco epoxied his? Roundwounds just wear rosewood out too quickly -- especially if you play as hard as he did!

    If you know for sure that you only want to use flatwounds, then rosewood will work great. Very warm tone with a lovely sparkly treble.

    And there are other very hard woods other than ebony, such as kingwood, pao ferro (ironwood), etc. They also work great with roundwounds.

    I own one of those low-cost assemble-yourself Carvin bolt-on basses with a (presumably cheap) ebony neck with white lines and it works great, sounds great, and doesn't get grooves in the board (round wounds). And it's American Made! What a deal. Of course my paint job looks like hell -- but I'm gonna work on that.
  9. The Great Rober

    The Great Rober

    Dec 4, 2003
    If I buy new then I expect that my bass will have a rosewood board ( and flats).
    I have got my eye on a second hand late 70's P that has a jet black ebony fretless neck. I have yet to plug it in.The guy wants much more than I currently have in my budget, but he has also had the bass a long time without selling it !
    It has been hacked a bit ( a second PUP fitted in the "J" position )Not the best job in the world , combined with a cheap PUP selector switch and tone/volume knobs from a strat !
    He has priced it as a late 70's American P bass. I will offer it as a hacked 2nd hand fretless. We may meet somewhere ( if it sounds good) We may not. My reserve bass will most likely be a Yamaha BB404 fretless (rosewood). UK price is £229.
  10. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    I like Kingwood. My fretless had it and it was the best fretless if not one of the best overall bass sounds I've yet to hear. Incredible.
  11. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    Has anybody used Snakewood?
    Sounds great for fretless
  12. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    Ebony (I haven't tried the more exotic woods).
  13. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    i current;y have a fretless Wal with a rosewood board.

    The 4 string fretless that I am finishing has an ebony board.

    My EUB has a purplheart board.

    I like both rosewood and ebony - and you can get ebony blanks for not too much money -$40-$50.

    I also like the purpleheart- stuff is hard as nails.
  14. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    I vote ebony. I've had 2 Carvin fretless basses with ebony boards, and neither has seen more than cosmetic wear.
  15. Aaron J

    Aaron J

    Jul 16, 2003
    Cincinnati, OH
    I have always wanted to try a snakewood board fretless out. That wood is incredibly dense and expensive. I own a bow that is made of snakewood and it is very thin but has a good weight to it. I imagine that it would be a great wood for roundwound fretless players. But I have to say, phenolic fretless fingerboards get another vote from me. It has the feel of wood but is not eaten up by my DR Fatbeams.
  16. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA

    people obviously havent heard it, to realize how much smoother and nicer it sounds compared to ebony.
  17. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000

    I heard it because I owned that Fodera fretless Jared is referring to with the Kingwood board. And it was VERY nice. But I prefer ebony. As on my Hanewinckel Nimbus 6 fretless. ;)
  18. dveeus1


    Jan 7, 2001
    DFW, Texas
    Ebony all the way. My preference is Gaboon. But, the right slab of maccassar sure looks good.