Glass-like Finishes On Fretless Fingerboards

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by osciphex, Nov 12, 2002.

  1. osciphex


    Jun 1, 2001
    A few comments about the glassy finishes availible on some fretless fingerboards-

    I can definately hear the difference between the glass finish and an unfinished board in recordings, but is that glassy, plastic finish truly the most important component to the uber-bright fretless sound found on basses like the MVPedulla Buzz and many active Zons?

    On a related note, are there any basses that come with a glass like board finish that AREN'T so expensive like a Pedulla or a Zon? Like under a grand?

    What do you guys think?
  2. osciphex


    Jun 1, 2001
    Some of them do. I know most of Manring's Zons do. And I swear I saw someone on talkbass post a pic of a 5 string fretless that had one...
  3. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    The only fretless(other than the Pedulla) that I am aware of that comes stock with the Pedulla style poly coated fingerboard is the Fender Jazz Jaco signature model, by all accounts, an outstanding fretless.

    The glossy fingerboard that you see on some Zons(particularly the Hyperbass) is made of phenolic resin. It has a brighter tone than the phenowood board that you see on most other Zons.

    The polyester finish does have a brighter tone than wood or phenowood as well.
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    My Pedulla ThunderBolt 5 fretless came with a tung oil finish on a rosewood board.
  5. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    I saw and played a "relic" Jaco fretless for the first time the other day at a local GC that has one (they're asking $2795, ouch!).

    The finish on that board is about 1/8" thick, enough to even refract the fretline ends, but it played like butter. But although the finish was so thick, it wasn't really that hard (as epoxy) and was even showing some significant string wear.

    It was a great bass but the body 'relic'izing was very cheesy and fake looking, certainly not worth that much money.

    Has anyone else here ever played a relic Jaco, what did you think of it?

    Edit: Forgot to mention that the ebony board on my Wal is bare but it's highly polished and from the right angle it reflects like a mirror.
  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Our own Jeff Rader owns a relic Jaco, and likes it a lot. He did not buy it because it was a relic or a Jaco, but because it was a killer fretless. Or so he says.;)(JUST KIDDING, JEFF!:D)
  7. osciphex


    Jun 1, 2001
    It'd be interesting (were I a luthier.. which i most certainly am not) to just experiment with different fingerboard materials.. I remember seeing a fretless with a metal fingerboard once... that must've sounded weird.

    I want a fingerboard made out of... agate! Yes! It'll weigh like 50 pounds and be the hardest fingerboard ever! :p
  8. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    the first batch of Kingston fretlesses were phenolic shiny fingerboards- actually- i didnt think i would, but i lik e the newer ebony boards better- on the KIngstins, anyway...
  9. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    Ebonol is used on Ergodynes and Cort Curbows. It's pretty glossy.
  10. Stachio

    Stachio Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2002
    Does Joe Zon still offer the option of a phenolic fingerboard ? I had asked him about it when I was ordering mine and the conversation drifted somewhere else...damn my ADD.:D

    I had a chance to play a Jaco Relic...played nice and solid. A bit pricey though.
  11. RedV


    Mar 19, 2002
    Eustis, FL
    I've sat with a relic Jaco for a few hours.

    Nice bass, but I didn't like the board. Like someone above said, the coating seemed really thick compared to other jazzes I've played/owned. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing as the bass DID play like butter, but I just didn't care for it.

    And definitely not for the $2500 they wanted for it.

  12. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Go for quartz dude, then it would channel the arcane spiritual energies, too! Or something like that. ;)

    I played a metal-board Vigier once, it didn't sound much different if I recall (was about 6 years ago). All the real hard-stuff (metal, glass, phenolic, coated wood), probably have a pretty similar sound.
  13. Do you mean this Jaco bass: ? If so, it is cheaper there than $2000, with free shipping! :) The fact that most of the basses are hand crafted with the "glassy" finish would probably be the main reason that they're so expensive. I'm going to try to pick up a cheap fretless for Christmas between $200-300, and I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for a bass with some nice mwah (preferrable with fret markers). If I had the money I'd run out and buy a Pedulla Buzz bass right now, I drool everytime I think of one. But, I don't have the money.
  14. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Pedulla will poly coat any fingerboard for you for $300, + shipping. So, if you have a nice, inexpensive fretless, you can get the Buzz coating put on the fingerboard.