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Fretless, unfinished rosewood, and roundwound?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 6stringvince, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. Is wear an issue to worry about? The Tony Franklin I believe is such...
  2. strost


    Oct 2, 2008
    Blacksburg, VA
    The Tony Franklin has ebony.

    And yes, you will get wear on rosewood with rounds pretty quickly. I have flats and I have wear marks.
  3. Will ebony last much longer?
  4. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Yes, much longer. It will still require planification from time to time.
    You'll be dead long before getting through the board anyway.
  5. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Oui oui.
  6. Glad it's not me! I'm pretty heavy handed, was experiencing significant wear on the LTD I bought couple weeks ago, and was told that it might be technique (which could be partially the case). I put D'Addario black nylon tapewounds on em'. They sound and look great on fretless, feel good on the fingers, and (hopefully) will wear out that rosewood fretboard much slower. Flats would probably work just as well. Suppose that's why so many fretless boards are ebony.
  7. I had my rosewood fretless (Jaco Jazz) epoxy coated - it will outlast me by a good way and you never have to worry about it.

    I love it.
  8. What did you use for epoxy?
  9. I've posted this on quite a few threads. I think it's important, particularly for newer players who value their equipment.

    Gouges to neck from round wound strings. This is a Steinberger L2 with phenolic neck, but I have seen this happen to wood as well. Particularly rosewood, which is not as dense as hard maple or ebony.

    I have played fretless exclusively since 1972. Regardless of "opinions" here and elsewhere - if you use rounds, this will happen.

    Varnish helps by the way.


  10. I had a Fender Jazz Special (think Duff McKagen) but in a fretless..I played that bass for 10 years (3-4 times a week)with roundwounds before it needed work...when I got the work done I had the fingerboard epoxied and it changed the sound..not for the better(IMO)...ended up selling the bass a short time later..
  11. k31bassman


    Feb 4, 2010
    Another inexpensive option is a few light coats of tru-oil over the bare wood. Then buff it with some 0000 steel wool. Enhances the look of the wood , too IMO. About $8 for a small bottle of tru-oil and less than that for a pack of steel wool.
  12. LouBass

    LouBass Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2008
    Ann Arbor Michigan
    There's a couple of other threads on this if you search, this being one of the more recent ones: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1031780

    I've run roundwounds almost exclusively since 1989 on both ebony and rosewood. I agree with k31. 0000 is the way to go. When you change your strings, which the more frequently you do the better, buff the board smooth and oil it. It's funny about having to have it leveled (planed) at some point as my main bass for a decade has a rosewood board and I've never had to have it leveled, but when I switched to a bass with ebony I went about 5 years before having to level it. Not saying anything about either woods, just my personal experience. And leveling plus setup from a really decent luthier here in Rochester cost me only $60 so it's not like it's an outrageous cost to have a fingerboard leveled.
  13. These are excellent points, but it's a phenolic fingerboard. It's a Steinberger L2. And I agree that 0000 wool is a good thing, I can't seal it or treat it like I could with a wood board, in fact they recommend cleaning it with WD-40!

    I just put flats on it and will let it go for a while and see how it handles. I like that it's worn a little from play. It should be. But if the wear gets in the way of sound, it should be made square.

    Thanks - you guys rock. I got into a bit of trouble by reposting these pics on a bunch of threads, but I wanted to share the experience, you know? I have seen a lot of posts stating that round wound string wear on fretless fingerboards is fantasy, and just wanted to post a bit of news.

    Appreciate the responses. Always more than willing to learn.
  14. lowfreqgeek

    lowfreqgeek Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    Endorsing Artist: Regenerate Guitar Works, Honey Badger Pickups, Westone Audio
    Fingerboard wear from rounds isn't fantasy, but it is a complete non-issue.

    I can't understand why anyone would choose to put fingerboard wear over achieving the sound they want. Who cares if you have to dress or even replace the board at some point? If the sound of rounds on fretless is what you want, then do it and learn to play with good technique so you can at least prolong the life of the board. No reason to compromise - wear is just part of the experience.

    I don't play fretless exclusively, but the majority of my playing is fretless. I also play double bass; it's just expected that you'll dress the board every so often and flat-out replace it when it can't be dressed any more.
  15. LouBass

    LouBass Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2008
    Ann Arbor Michigan
    Well said!
  16. I think the reason I'm more het up about it on this axe than say my road trashed Westone or an old MIM Fender is that it's an odd material on a rare bass. They only made maybe 15 of these in the first run and although it's probably fine, I don't want to attempt to refinish it and open up another can of worms - one I maybe can't close again.

    A wood board is a snap to redress - have done it a couple times over the years - actually I tend to hang the old bass on my wall and just go get another one - but to the point, there aren't very many people who can repair a phenolic neck.

    So in terms of the aesthetic issue, yeah nonissue. In terms of playability - maybe. I'm a 51 year-old retired disabled vet living on a golf course in "WTFville". I think it'll probably do just fine. I'm not exactly touring with Rory Gallagher. lol

    But I wanted to post this because I have read several threads and comments here and elsewhere and thought it good food for thought.
  17. I'll add this because you made me think (Thanks, by the way): The modes that have been worn into the thing are classic "blues" patterns. I don't play blues, so in those terms, "playability" does become cogent. It may have been playable for the last guy, but not for me. And I suppose the other side to that coin is that if the neck ISN'T worn in the areas I typically play, it becomes a non-issue as well.