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Fretless + Roundwounds

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Rogue181, Jun 7, 2007.

  1. Rogue181


    Jan 13, 2007
    I'm not looking for a bass right now, but I was wondering, would I have to jump through hoops to get a fretless bass that can be played with roundwound strings? I hear the strings will eat into the fingerbord unless it's super hard or specialy coated.

    I hear Fender's Jaco tribute is nice. Geddy Lee likes, but dosn't he have some kinda contract with Fender...
  2. Double Agent

    Double Agent Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2006
    Lakeland, FL
    I hear mixed things as well. I guess if its rosewood, rounds are really bad, but if its ebony or ebanol you might be ok with rounds. Or just epoxy the fretboard like Jaco, then you don't have to worry about the fingerboard. I just know I don't care for flats, but I love fretless. Trying D'addario 1/2rounds later this weekend. Might update if this thread is still around
  3. MobileHolmes

    MobileHolmes I used to be BassoP

    Nov 4, 2006
    I've done rounds on 2 ebony boards with no problems, not even scuffing. I'd be a little more hesitant with rosewood, I suppose, but you can always have a neck planed if it gets gouges.
  4. Crabby


    Dec 22, 2004
    I used either Blue Steels or Rotosound Swingbass rounds on my fretless for 10 years and only had very minimal skuffing of the pau ferro fingerboard.

    I decident the tone was so good with stainless rounds, that I didn't care if the fingerboard needs to be resurfaced at some point. really though, you would have to play the ever loving crap out fo the bass for years and years before needing to worry about it.

    I say go for it. The tone of stainless steel round wound strings growling away on a fretless is too good to worry about a little fretboard wear!
  5. Zebra


    Jun 26, 2005
    The talk about rounds damaging the fingerboard is way overhyped. Even a softer wood like rosewood can handle it pretty well, especially if you use a good vibrato technique. If you get any marks, they should be purely cosmetic. They won't become a playability issue until maybe a year later-- if you really wear it down. Even then it easy to have to board planed to fix it.
  6. the low one

    the low one

    Feb 21, 2002
    Yes rounds will put grooves in your fingerboard but as already said it it will be a long time before it becomes a problem. I played a lot of fretless a few years ago on a rosewood board with no problems. I now have a MIM fretless Jazz and sue flats, but that's just because I prefer the sound.
  7. Fretless + Roundwounds = perfect :)

    I use stainless rounds on my fretless
  8. proghead


    Oct 20, 2006
    I've had 2 fretless basses with maple (!) fingerboard for over ten years and I have 2 now with rosewood fingerboard.
    Unless you play 5 shows per week you don't have to worry about the fingerboard. Always used roudwounds.

    If you play 5 shows per week you probably earn enought to buy a new bass every 2 years...

    By the way: I had to refret fretted basses more often...

  9. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    Didn't Jaco use rounds on his Jazz Bass?

  10. I don't use rounds on my fretless for one reason...

    the nylon tapes sound AWESOME!

    I'm not a "mwah" fan...I like my notes to blossom like an upright...

    my board is purpleheart, BTW....rounds on it didn't cause any real issue...but since putting on the tapes, I've sanded the board and coated it with polyurethane...
  11. masprague


    May 6, 2007
    not to hi jack a thread..

    But I have a warwick Corvette fretless. Will roundwounds eat through the Wenge fretboard? OR can it hold up like the others???

  12. spiritbass


    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
  13. The real answer depends on how much you will play that bass and how hard you play. I have 2 basses with flats (ebony and brazilian rosewood). I play these basses a lot and the wear is minimal. I have a fretless with rounds and an ebony board. Before I got my Rob Allen basses, I played this bass exclusively. I noticed grooves after a few months. If I continued to play this bass exclusively, I would think the board would need to be leveled in about 2 years worth of playing. I don't play hard or grind the string into the fingerboard, but I played it very often.

    So...yes, it can be done, but there can be risks. Harder woods like cocobolo, pao fero, wenge, and ebony are good choices for unfinished boards. You can coat dang near any board with an epoxy or polyester finish, but it tends to change the tone. Some luthiers use a thin layer of superglue, which isn't quite as strong as the thick coating, but also doesn't change the tone too much. If you REALLY want the roundwound tone without epoxy, you could always order a custom bass with either an acrylized fingerboard or phenolic fingerboard. Those 'boards are pretty darn strong. They make ebony look like putty.
  14. datsgora

    datsgora Guest

    May 23, 2007
    N. Ca. Martinez
    I use rotosound rounds on my ebony fretless, always have.....its got very small marks from the ribs of the string....but after 15 years...it is still very minimal.....and hey, Jaco used rounds on his fretless...that's part of what made his sound so phenominal....so if it's good enough for him....it's good enough for, well......you get it.:cool:
  15. kegger25249


    May 24, 2007
    You could also try D'addario Half Rounds. In my opinion they are the best of both worlds. They have the smoothness/feel of flats and the brightness/snap of rounds.
  16. ped

    ped User Commercial User

    Aug 30, 2006
    York, England
    My fretless has a metal fingerboard, no problems!
  17. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    These are good strings for fretless.
    So are.
    Ken Smith Compressors
  18. BargeOn

    BargeOn Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2004
    I would not use rounds on a rosewood board, but as others have pointed out there are no laws and rounds do give a fretless a stronger voice.

    If you want rounds on a rosewood board (or any fretless for that matter) and want to be cautious of wear and tear, another brand to try would be S.I.T. "Silencers"

    They have all the lively punch of rounds but are easier on the board and cut some of the finger noise as well. And they won't set you back as much as TIs
  19. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    Don't worry about fretboard wear. It's overhyped. If you play your fretless enough to wear out the fretboard in any kind of near- or mid-term timeframe, you will be so good that you will get so many gigs that you can just buy an upgrade and feel good about it.

    (Incidentally as I write this, my iPod shuffled in a Gary Willis tune - awesome growly midrangy fretless tone, roundwound strings all the way).
  20. Meggersnewbass


    Jun 7, 2007
    I hate fretless basses and regular guitars.....they just look so funny
  21. Primary

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