Fretless Fingerboard UNFINISHED

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by All Time Low, Oct 1, 2017.

  1. All Time Low

    All Time Low

    Feb 2, 2017
    While doing some clean-up on my 20 year old Ken Bebensee 6 String Fretless:
    I was buffing the fingerboard - and decided to go from 1500 grit to 3000 - then to 8000 grit
    and my ebony looked like glass - - - Beautiful - - - BUT: The sound had changed to a more snappy and bright attack - good sustain - but less of a "blossom" or swell in the mwah department -It's like you hear more strings and less wood? It was also more sticky (glossy) to my fingers - - - So I lightly buffed it back to 1500 grit Rubbed in some oil - and once again; THIS BABY GROWLS - - - The "finish" is still silky smooth (more of a satin feel) - - - But I wonder if maybe the string and the wood are "communicating" better than with the super glassy finish (like many phenolic fingerboards) - - -

    Any "Scientists" or Luthiers here that can explain this?

    Here's the beast:
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2017
    farshore and Loring like this.
  2. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    Similar to why roundwounds on a fretless give more growl than flats. Because of the raised part of the windings, your point of contact is not defined in one precise point, but multiple points that are close enough to give just a hint of vibration. With a less precise finish on the board, the point of contact is not as precise, and you get more vibrations from all the micro contact points at the board.

    Maybe think of a machine where the floor is off just a bit (like the imperfect finish on the fingerboard). When the machine runs and vibrates (like strings being played), instead of being perfectly and evenly supported, the legs chatter against the floor and it can be pretty audible (the fretless growl).

    I don't remember exactly what grit I used on mine, but it was no finer than 400.
    All Time Low likes this.
  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    That probably works better for how you play. I keep my action low so I get lots of growl/mwah when I want it but I also don't when I don't want it. I only use rounds.

    The glossy board sharpened the focus, the less glossy dialed that back.

    Your string height can be a factor in how difficult if is to get growl/ mwah.
    All Time Low likes this.
  4. All Time Low

    All Time Low

    Feb 2, 2017
    I am using DR High Beams exclusively and enjoying extreme growl and mwahhh even at very low action
  5. Pandastylebass

    Pandastylebass The Moon Machine

    May 6, 2013
    Brooklyn, NY
    here is my science guess. The principle of "Slip and stick" may be at work here. Not unlike when you try to make a sound on the lip of a glass when it is dry there is nothing making it vibrate until you lubricate your finger and then rub it on the lip of the glass is vibrates and makes a tone. I believe this is also how a bow with rosin operates as well. I find that that oiling the fingerboard on my fretless or simply just changing the strings always changes the tone.
    All Time Low likes this.
  6. All Time Low

    All Time Low

    Feb 2, 2017
    But when the fingerboard was glossy - I heard more of the strings/pickups/hardware - - - Now that it's satin: I can hear the wood - - - Does that make sense? Same new strings - But totally woody tone
    farshore likes this.
  7. Pandastylebass

    Pandastylebass The Moon Machine

    May 6, 2013
    Brooklyn, NY
    I'm pun intended
    All Time Low likes this.
  8. mikeh66


    Feb 4, 2013
    Here's my 21 year old Decue! KBMYDUECE.jpg
  9. 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.

    Sep 21, 2021

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