Glass Fingerboard...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ii7-V7, Dec 15, 2005.

  1. ii7-V7


    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    ...for a fretless bass guitar. Good or bad idea?

  2. im gonna say bad, due to the stress put on a neck, it at the very leasy would chip or get hairlines........

    or it could just shatter as soon as you string it, its a toss up

    now using fiberglass or carbon fibre is another story
  3. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Granite is even a possibility. I can't seem to remember who did the granite thing ,but it was pretty cool.
  4. glass could work, if it were the right type of glass...but, why?

    why not just use the old epoxy on wood? it's plenty hard enough, and heaps easier to work with.

    if you want to try something innovative, that will definitely work...try formica...seriously
  5. Linas


    Jan 6, 2005
    I had this same idea, but think about when winter rolls around. There goes your glass fingerboard. Also any time you need to do a neck adjustment, crack.
  6. callmeMrThumbs

    callmeMrThumbs Guest

    Oct 6, 2005
    Omaha, NE
    I had an idea of a metal fingerboard...until I found out it had already been done...hehe.

  7. ii7-V7


    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    Well, it has been done before on fretless guitars. And the advantage was supposed to be that it absolutely does not wear. I would think that it would be absolutely flat! But i read that those guitars had dead spots.

  8. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    Not necessarily. Most people keep their instruments inside their houses, which are, by design, warmer than the winter outside. The barometric pressure inside a house is lower than it outside - that's a basic law of physics (for an enclosed environment; the planet is an enclosed environment). As long as there aren't any sudden changes in either temperature (from hot to cold, that is; hot to hotter isn't going to make much of a difference) or barometric pressure, the fingerboard shouldn't suffer much damage.

    But, if one were really paranoid about something like that, just get a Pyrex fingerboard - it can handle it. How one would go about acquiring such, I have no idea...

    As for neck adjustment, well, yes. If enough force is exerted onto a glass object, it will probably break. Unfortuantely, I can't think of a solution.
  9. Bowen


    Sep 15, 2005
    Portland OR
    I think a Corian fingerboard would be pretty easy to do. It comes in 1/4" thickness sheets and is very stable, unless you drop your bass in boiling water.
  10. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Glass: go to the car glass shop at home and get hardened glass, and you'll be fine. Perhaps you need to be a little bit cautious when stringing up, keeping the truss at a proper strain.
    You could opt for laminated windshield glass, too.
    Thickness should be at least 4mm.

    Corian: nice idea! Have to consider this :)

    Stone of any kind: this is a tricky material! IF you manage to get it right, it will be fabulous. Normally, it would turn out disastrous, because at the thicknesses in question, rock is brittle. Very brittle. And awful heavy, too.

    Metal: you need rather a thick sheet... Al or brass would probably have to be something like 3mm, while steel would go with 1.75mm. Why? A thin sheet will not make enough difference to justify the effort, and it will be hard to put it on in a way that avoids voids.
    And you should not have teh edges out of the board, you should bend it down. Otherwise, the risk for cut wounds is imminent...
  11. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    As Sub said.

    I would add, if you want to not worry about temperature changes bending the neck, you want a material that is similar to the wood in its coefficient of linear thermal expansion. For example, pyrex has a near-zero CLTE, so if the neck ever got signifcantly hotter than it was when it was glued, it would bow forwards. Conversely, Aluminum has a high CLTE, so I would not recommend it for a fretboard.

    Steel works well for trussrods because it is not too different from wood in this respect.

    No, I think glass is generally not so fragile that it will crack or craze just from changing strings or adjusting the truss rod. If you've ever handled a long, narrow, thin piece of glass, you'll know how flexible it is.

    When I think about using a glass fingerboard, I also wonder: how is it going to look, seeing the inside of the neck and the glue irregularities, with a transparent board? I think you'd want to "line' the backside with a veneer layer. You could get something attractive to show through the glass, and it would hide the mechanical guts of the neck. You'd want to use a transparent glue. If you wanted to, you could use a layer of paper, and draw your favorite cartoon on it. Or -- how's this for an idea -- draw fretlines on the paper or wood veneer! The ultimate inlay!
  12. How's about transparent Aluminum?

  13. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    heh. the fretless boards on the korean made conklin gt7 fretlesses are formica, or a material close to it.
  14. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Not just them. Formica is a phenolic. There are other phenolic fingerboards out there, too.
  15. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    If you're serious about a glass board, you're going to need to find
    - an appropriate glass product (try to find something with a similar CLTE to wood. Hint: look here: It took me a bit to find this!)
    - someone who can precision cut or grind glass to exact shapes and sizes
    - someone who can grind the edges to a comfortable shape
    - unless you find someone with extensive grinding and polishing abilities, you'll have to confine yourself to a flat, unradiused fingerboard.
  16. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU

    Lefay Remington Steel (or Steele?) fretless basses had steel fbs
  17. Tim__x


    Aug 13, 2002
    Alberta, Canada

    I think Linas was thinking about humidity changes more than temperature changes. In northern climates even indoor humidity plumets in the cold winter months, below 10% isn't out of the question.
  18. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
    You could spray paint the inside of the glass. It will shine on the outside, and you wont see any drips.
  19. i just dont see why, has anyone ever rubbed a nail on a piece of glass? it (a steel nail, not finger nail) the feeling is one of those nail on shalkboard unnevring feelings imagine that while your playing.....