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Fretless Fingerboard wood choices

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JOME77, Nov 3, 2004.

  1. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    I probably going to get a fretless neck made for my existing Gecko. My main concern is chosing the fingerboard type based on the available choices from Warmoth. They don't offer my favorite, Diamondwood. In my mind that leaves me with Ebony. Lately I've heard some negative feedback concerning ebony fingerboards (in the area of stability). Maybe due to a lack of good supply of ebony? Anybody out there tried wenge fingerboard for a fretless? If so how resistant to string wear is it? How does it sound (compared to ebony or diamondwood? Any other choice you can recommend?
  2. i'm a fan of using Cocobolo, personally
  3. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Gard once told me that Rob Elrick advised against wenge for a fretless board unless it's been epoxied, as it tends to be a very fiberous wood.
  4. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    That makes sense. It does seem to have a very open grain.

    I really like the appearance of the Cocobolo fingerboards I've seen. I'll have to ask it Warmoth has any. Does Cocobolo require any type of sealing or finishing?
  5. Jackbass


    Dec 19, 2003
    Paris (FRANCE)
    What do you think about Burl Maple:

  6. from Warmoth's website: We have used it in the past but due to the allergic reactions we choose not to work with this wood.
    the sawdust is some nasty stuff. i've used it quite a few times, and haven't had any adverse reactions.
  7. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    I guess that rules Cocobolo out! :( Any other good wood choices other than Ebony?
  8. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    I don't haver any personal experience with either one, but how about purpleheart or katalox?

  9. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    macassar ebony works fine and is very stable.

    did you ask warmoth if you could supply a board yourself. If yes then I'd recommend checking acrylicized woods from Larry at Galleryhardwoods. This stuff rocks big time for fretless. The board Jackbass posted up here is an acrylicized one.

  10. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    My custom fretless has stabalized/epoxy ebony fretboard and I love it-pitch black wood is great. The stabalized ebony is 100% stable. I have seen good things done with purpleheart and ovangol (or however you spell it).
  11. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    I don't believe that Warmoth will allow an individual to supply woods. What is the difference between conventional ebony and macassar ebony (sound, appearance and stability)?
  12. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    My fretless 6 has this stuff... I refuse to buy another bass without one of Larry's stabilized boards.
  13. Basso Gruvitas

    Basso Gruvitas Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth TX
    What about pau ferro? I bet Warmoth offers that. That would also have a great appearance with the walnut top.

    I would also inquire about bubinga - that could be cool.
  14. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Would pau Ferro be hard enough for a fretless board? I like the appearance of pau ferro but I always thought that it was similar in hardness to rosewood which you rarely see used for fretless finger boards.
    Bubinga might be a good one! :meh:
  15. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    If you get a good piece not much. Often it is more streaked but the sound and stability are very good. Rosewood works well on bass guitars too but not quite as bright sounding. Anything with a tight, closed grain will work but you may be experimenting with the sound.
  16. Stevious G

    Stevious G

    May 5, 2003
    Without going for stabilization, most standard board woods are out. They just can't hold up to the direct wear, and they aren't hard enough to clearly right oot.

    Ebony, in any breed, is a sound choice for 4 strings. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find good, stable boards big enough to do anything larger. It's still POSSIBLE, but it's going to be expensive.

    Now, the "secret" wood for euphoric fretless tone is Pink Ivory. Expensive, difficult to find, and PINK. But it is the Holy Grail of fretless tone woods.
  17. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    If you want lots of whah and a big sustain, I say go with ebony as it is a very hard and dense wood. If you are looking for a more mellow tone, Pau Ferro (did I spell that correctly???).
  18. jacochops


    Jul 2, 2000
    Suzhou, China
    Now, the "secret" wood for euphoric fretless tone is Pink Ivory. Expensive, difficult to find, and PINK. But it is the Holy Grail of fretless tone woods.[/QUOTE]

    +100!! Pink ivory is another whole world when we're talking fretless...
  19. Stevious G

    Stevious G

    May 5, 2003
    DON'T use Pao Ferro, or ANY other rosewood, ('cause yes, Pao is just a type of rosewood; Bolivian, I believe,) if you don't plan to epoxy it, either thru impregnation or surface application. It's too soft.
  20. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    I don't know what your budget is, but you could pick whatever looks nice and send it off to this guy for an epoxy job......... http://www.woodwiz.com/guitarlab/epoxy.html

    For that matter, you could have them convert your fretted neck to fretless.