Fretless Fingerboard Wear?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Definitely, May 5, 2012.

  1. Definitely

    Definitely Inactive

    I was thinking of building a fretless bass, (never owned one before) when it dawned on me: if strings wear down metal frets over time, what does it do to a fretless fingerboard? It has been bothering me ever since, logically one noob would think that the fingerboards get worn down very quickly and are hard to repair. Can someone please shine some light on how fast the boards wear, how severely, and how complicated the repair process is? Thanks all, this has been running through my head for a week...
  2. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    This has been covered a lot, but just to recap:

    Depending upon your type of strings and your technique, fingerboards can last a really, really long time. Round wound strings are fine, but play with a light touch and don't use a side-to-side vibrato that drags the sring across the board.

    Harder woods like ebony are better than softer woods like maple. Rosewood is plenty hard enough and will last for years.

    If wear starts to occur it can simply be sanded out. Like frets, nothing is forever and a badly worn board might need to be replaced, but that would take many years.
  3. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    You gotta have rediculous cheap qaulity frets for sigificant wear in even a decade imo. Id pick ebony board for best resistence to wear. While still looking great and giving little extra snap to sound.
  4. Definitely

    Definitely Inactive

    How does purpleheart compare to ebony? Like in terms of hardness and resistance.
  5. pnchad


    Nov 3, 2005
    wont tear up the FB unless you have crappy fretless technique

    you generally don't bend strings & you definiately dont do vibrato the same as on a fretted 'guitar'

    you play with violin/cello technique - watch JP play on the Tube

    you roll you fingertip to change pitch not bend strings most of the time

    regardless it takes years to wear down a good ebony or RW or PF or maple FB

    I use nylon tapewould LaBellas - no issues and almost as alive as Rotosounds
  6. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Purpleheart is harder than rosewood and softer than ebony. It would make a perfectly fine fingerboard (and look sharp while doing it!).

    Seriously, play with a light touch and don't give it any more thought. Any type of string will be fine.
  7. pjmuck


    Feb 8, 2006
    New Joisey
    You can also go the extra route and epoxy your neck.

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