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Fretless fingerboard, how about mahogany?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by TRU, Sep 9, 2003.


  1. TRU

    TRU

    Apr 12, 2002
    Northern Europe
    I'm starting to build my first bass :)

    It is going to be fretless. The initial plan was to use ebony for the fingerboard, but due to limited supply I'm thinking about other alternatives.

    What about (Khaya) mahogany? As long as it would be coated with epoxy there should be no problems with wear, right? I'm digging the looks of it, other choices are wenge and padouk. I assume mahogany would produce a bit warmer sound compared to ebony or wenge?

    Otherwise it will be singlecut with one piece through-body maple neck and walnut body wings. Here's a rough example to see how it should look like.
     
  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Mahogany is neither stiff nor wear resistant. Don't mess around too much with the fingerboard.
     
  3. DP Custom

    DP Custom DP Custom Basses

    Feb 7, 2001
    NC, USA
    IMO mahogany is way too soft to consider, even if you use epoxy.
    Padauk is a little bit better ... wenge would be OK if you can stand all the splinters in your hands from working with it :bawl:

    good luck

    Dave P.
     
  4. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    I don't think mahogany would work well. If ebony is out, how about some less obvious alternatives, like pao ferro (morado), purpleheart, bloodwood (satine), ziricote? Or macassar ebony if it's just the black stuff that's hard to find?

    David King uses some interesting choices:

    http://www.kingbass.com/woodphoto.html
     
  5. TRU

    TRU

    Apr 12, 2002
    Northern Europe
    Thanks guys for the advice. I'll try to get some ebony or purpleheart from local luthiers.

    Actually macassar ebony is available, but it is either cut to guitar fingerboard size or I would have to buy a whole log for $$$$$. Stewmac fingerboards look nice and cheap, but shipping costs...
     
  6. DP Custom

    DP Custom DP Custom Basses

    Feb 7, 2001
    NC, USA
    If you haven't yet, check if there are any hardwood lumber suppliers near you ... they are usually listed in the yellow pages of the phone book. You might even be lucky and have a Woodcraft store nearby..
    Besides purpleheart or ebony, others that can work are bubinga, bloodwood, cocobolo, kingwood, ziricote.

    good luck
    DAve P.
     
  7. TRU

    TRU

    Apr 12, 2002
    Northern Europe
    Ok, I got an ebony fingerboard blank from a luthier. Luthiers are nice folk :) It is almost half an inch thick, so I assume it will stiffen the neck quite a bit so I can avoid neck laminations. It will also raise the fingerboard surface so that it is in correct height relative to the bridge and pickups.

    Aren't MTD (bolt on) necks one piece too?
     
  8. TRU

    TRU

    Apr 12, 2002
    Northern Europe
    Here's a pic of the woods (- ebony). I hope not to mess up too badly.

    <img src="http://www.talkbass.com/forum/attachment.php?s=&postid=1136576" border="0" alt="">