fretless fingerboards types?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by eno50, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. eno50


    Jan 31, 2009
    North of Memphis
    Hello everyone, I have a question for all you fretless players out there...
    I'am thinking about buying an extra neck for my Fender USA jazz , a fretless neck.
    What options do you guys recomend as far as fingerboard wood and finish or coatings?
    I plan on using roundwounds,and I see plain rosewood and ebony boards out there,but what about these hard coatings such as epoxy or superglue or others that I don't know about,are they worth the extra money to have these coating?
    I understand that these coating protect the boards but they must change the sound a bit..
    Now I'am not by any means a fretless player..yet but I would like to experiment,and looking at options.
    Thanks Eno
  2. JTE


    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    I like uncoated ebony. It lasts a long time, needs very little maintenance, and sounds good. I've owned uncoated rosewood and wore it out rather quickly. replace it after about four years of constant use with stainless rounds. The wear was exacerbated by me too frequently dressing it with a sanding block to.remove minor wear marks. Had I only when it really needed it, I suspect I could have gotten another three to give years out of it.

    The ebony board I used to replacevit is now about twenty years old and all I do is buff it with a hardware sponge that's the equivalent of 0000 steel wool whenever I change strings.

  3. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    If you're just starting out, I'd suggest that you start with a classic fretless board... uncoated Ebony.

    Sure, there's lots of variants out there... different woods, different coatings... and it's true that they all have the potential to "color" the tone somewhat. But, you need a foundation, a starting point so-to-speak to understand what the different tonal colors might be. And for a fretless player, starting with plain Ebony is a solid first choice.

    On another note, obviously flat wound strings will cause less wear on a fretless board than round wound strings. But fretting technique is the secret to getting the most from your fretboard. If you have a heavy fretting hand the wear will simply happen faster. If you have a light, sensitive touch, the fretboard will last the full of its potential.

    Good luck....
  4. Matthijs


    Jul 3, 2006
    Sound and sensible advice.
  5. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan. Supporting Member

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    +1 for an ebony fingerboard.

    Everything else has been said.
  6. Professor X

    Professor X Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2002
    On The Prairie
    Spalted Maple??? :D


    (just wanted to show this pic again)
  7. JTE


    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    I want to reiterate slowgypsy's advice regarding fingerboard wear. If you have good technique-you don't press down any harder than needed to get the note to sound, you don't bend strings across the fingerboard, you don't attack the strings any harder than needed to get the sound out- and you keep the strings clean, you'll have a LOT less wear on the fingerboard.

    Of course there will be visible marks on the board. But don't worry about them, just play the bass.

  8. klaus486


    Jun 27, 2009
    portland or
    sales geek Portland Music co.
    I would suggest you look into a carbon fiber neck. I can without hesitation recommend the products of Moses Graphite -

    I have a fretless neck of theirs on my J bass and LOVE it. It is my main bass.

    I've owned Modulus products in the past and had great luck with them also-

    I find the graphite/carbon fiber neck to be superior to any neck made of wood.
  9. eno50


    Jan 31, 2009
    North of Memphis
    Wow !!! That's a great looking bass.....