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Fretless nightmare

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by timobee4, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. timobee4

    timobee4 Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    Cairns, Australia
    My favourite bass I use every day is a 82 MIJ fretless jazz. Has been leveled many times and the rosewood fingerboard worn down a great deal. 7.25 radius neck I can see some of the the little dots on the side showing from front.
    In a few years when the neck need another look I'd be asking myself what to do!
    Get a new neck with ebony board? Replace existing with new ebony board, replace worn board with rosewood again but cover it with epoxy? Or put epoxy on worn but still great board extending its life by couple years. Or plain and simple, get a new neck?
  2. timobee4

    timobee4 Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    Cairns, Australia
    Can the moderator move this topic to repairs please.
  3. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    My vote? Get a spare neck from someone like Warmoth or USACG, so you'll have something to play while your neck gets refurbished. Get something other than a rosewood fingerboard on the spare neck, so you can see what another kind of surface plays like. This is also a chance to try a different radius.

    I'm partial to plain ebony on a fretless, but it's a personal call.
  4. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Get it epoxied now and avoid having to level it again. If that's not an option, a Warmoth neck with an ebony board will take more abuse.
  5. Mvilmany


    Mar 13, 2013
    Upstate NY
    Are you using flats or rounds?
  6. timobee4

    timobee4 Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    Cairns, Australia
    View attachment 378609

    Getting epoxy on it is very tempting. It is a ripper bass to play as is, and if I can get an extra couple of years out of it before I have to think about luthier stuff I'm happy.
  7. timobee4

    timobee4 Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    Cairns, Australia
    I use round wound but now I have some almost flat wound weird to touch strings. Also use elixir and sunbeams.
  8. Mvilmany


    Mar 13, 2013
    Upstate NY
    I've found Roundwounds to tear up rosewood fretless boards. If you prefer the sound of rounds, then I will agree with the others suggesting epoxy on the board.

    I love rosewood boards. Brazilian rosewood is my fave, but I would only put flats on a non-epoxied rosewood fretless board. Ebony holds up a lot better with rounds.
  9. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Yes. Rounds even tear up ebony eventually. It's the "cost" of the round wound sound. On the other hand my fretless Jazz bass with rosewood fingerboard, flats and alder body has a mellow tone I've fallen in love with even though I'm not a "mellow tone" sort of guy.

    All my other fretless basses have ebony fingerboards which I REALLY love the sound of. I've done a few conversions myself which is really not all that bad if one is reasonably handy around wood (or you can have someone do it for you). Check on the internet and there are videos of using a steam iron to remove the fingerboard/fretboard from the neck. Takes some time, patience and prying but it's not that bad to take off. Then you buy a replacement ebony fingerboard which you purchase from a luthiers supply which is not all that expensive plus they will put the radius you choose on it. (Actually they have vast varieties of kinds of wood to choose from but ebony is really superior for fretless IMHO)

    Glue it on. Trim it up and there you go. A bit of finishing with a radius block and add the side dots and the bass is too cool.

    If you can do it yourself it's not a huge expense. If you have to pay to have it done, it's probably a toss-up between doing that and a new Warmouth neck. Mostly probably about how much you love your current neck.
  10. kohntarkosz

    kohntarkosz Banned

    Oct 29, 2013
    Edinburgh - Scotland
    If you use epoxy, you can tint it. This way the tops of the dots can be obscured. The problem with this method is that you have an unlined fretless at the end of it....
  11. Dredmahawkus


    Nov 4, 2012
    Try a bloodwood fretboard. its just as smooth as ebony but a bit warmer. its my favorite fretless wood!
  12. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
  13. grendle


    Mar 4, 2011
    Central FL
    If you like the tone , let em eat. Fender necks are a dime a dozen unless their old. Grab a few spares and rock on. It's the price you pay to play.
  14. Rich McCoy

    Rich McCoy

    Apr 8, 2013
    It may be cheaper to just get a new neck.
  15. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    SInce you like the bass, I'd replace the board with ebony.
  16. '82 MIJ Bass.... what's the serial number? JV, SQ? If its semi collectible, or you just really love it, then its def worth a new FB. But decide on exact type of wood and radius before then.

    IIRC - can you get FB 'divots' repaired with glue and sawdust? Temporary fix to prolong life between dressings.