Fretless with worn wenge fingerboard - repair or replace with ebony?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nemo, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. nemo


    Mar 19, 2004
    Hello, I can buy a nice 5 string fretless. I have it for one week trial period borrowed from seller. I like the bass and tone, but its wenge fingerboard (not stabilised wenge on maple neck) have on some places rather deep dents below string which make buzz. So I‘am deciding whether to repair wenge board (CA glue or epoxy the board) or to give it to luthier to replace whole board for ebony.
    I‘am more tending to the replacement route as repair could be problematic with unsure results and I know one good luthier who can give there first class ebony board.

    But before final decision let me ask you:
    1. Is it worth to keep wenge board with all repair troubles in mind?
    2. What tonal difference will change to ebony make?

    I go to the luthier tomorrow, so please give me your replies soon :)
    Thank you.
    (I know that ebony is considered to be the right wood for fretless, but some swear by wenge, so thats why I ask..)
  2. My fretless MTD has a wenge fingerboard - I love it. Very woody feel and sound. My advice would be to plane the fingerboard and try it before deciding whether to replace it.
  3. hujo


    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Yeah, i'd give it to someone who knows what their doing, and just have them plane it.. using epoxy or changing the fretboard (costly and will yield much more trouble) is really making it much more difficult than it has to be..
  4. nemo


    Mar 19, 2004
    Thanks for your replies. Tomorrow I have a trip to luthier's place (200km..) so I will discuss with him about planing the fingerboard.
    He will also have there some basses with ebony fb's so I can compare sound and feel.
  5. Ebony has a smoother feel to the surface (wenge has open pores).
    In terms of sound, I find it has better sustain, but you give up some warmth in the attack.
  6. Halftooth

    Halftooth Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Tri-Valley, NorCal
    I would think that the pores on the Wenge board would not make it a first choice for fingerboard wood on a fretless, but that's not to say that it wouldn't sound good. I think that Ebony would probobly be a better choice for the treble response.
  7. nemo


    Mar 19, 2004
    Just got my bass back from the luthier - he planed the wenge board, set up the neck, lowered action and now bass plays amazing! :hyper:
    Fingerboard is smooth like mirror. Now there are rounds on it and I dont want to hurt the board, so I ordered TI Jazz Flats and they say they will deliver it within a month !!
    Now talk about TI flats waiting suport group.. :help:
    New great bass on front of me - cant play it.. Oh my, must resist..
  8. Play it! :)

    It's good to compare how the different strings sound, and you can always get it replaned. You may discover that roundwounds are more your sound... and if you don't try them you won't know!
  9. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Yea, you can have the board replaned several times before it needs to be replaced. Even when it does need to be replaced, that is no big deal. Any reputable luthier can do it for a reasonable price.
  10. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
  11. nemo


    Mar 19, 2004
    Ok guys, you dont have to persuade me too hard to play it :D
    Hopefully no dents will develop until flats come here. I will treat her gently.
    Thanks for your replies, now excuse me, I have some business to do.. ;)