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Has anyone ever used epoxy coating on an upright fingerboard?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by smoot5581, Oct 4, 2009.


  1. smoot5581

    smoot5581

    Apr 29, 2008
    I was curious if anyone had ever covered there ebony fingerboard with epoxy or had heard of anyone doing that. I think its a bad idea but I wanted to know if anyone had heard of that.
     
  2. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    On electric basses, the epoxy is added in the hope of protecting the fingerboard from round-wound strings. Also, many BG's have maple and rosewood boards. Most DB strings that I am aware of are flat-wound.

    Even on BG, the use of epoxy is a matter of debate. One of my fretless BG's held up for a couple decades with bare rosewood and flat-wound strings.
     
  3. BrennP90

    BrennP90

    Jun 26, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I've heard from many people that epoxy won't stick very well to ebony.
     
  4. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Is this the Jaco thing? I see that pop up a lot in slab discussions. I can't imagine why I'd want epoxy between my fingers and that beautifully dressed ebony.
     
  5. mpm

    mpm

    May 10, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I did a Cremona fingerboard with fiberglass resin, tinted black once. Had to dress the board first, it was phenomonally crappy wood, btw...then a couple of coats, dress again, couple of more coats, dress, etc. turned out nice, looks like ebony (sort of).
     
  6. moles

    moles

    Jan 24, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    Yeah - it's the Jaco thing...
    I'm not sure if it's simply meant to protect the fingerboard - J probably did it because he tore big chunks out of his board when he defretted with an old butterknife.
    I think mostly electric players do it now in an attempt to get a brighter fretless bass tone. I tried it on an old Mexican Fender J neck. I'm not sold. It sounds very 'quack'-ey until it's cured for a few months, then it still doesn't sound like wood. It also seems to wear nearly as quickly as the wood. So at the end of the day what's the point, other than being a ham-handed way of filling the fret slots -?

    Back to DB - covering an ebony fingerboard with epoxy would be disaster, IMH(umble)O. Besides losing some (if not all) of the resonance from the wood, epoxy doesn't cure up any harder than ebony anyway, so you'd gain no brightness.
     
  7. Gary Lynch

    Gary Lynch

    Nov 18, 2008
    Sonoita AZ
    Fretless slab players like round wounds which eat fingerboards. It makes that growl sound they like. You end up with a different tone altogether as far as I am concerned. I use flats on my ABG and like the wood contact not a coated contact sound.. Super glue coating is another way to go for the slab guys.

    Since DB's use flats, I see no reason for it on the DB.
     
  8. Were you using two part Mirror Coat epoxy or something else? For what it's worth, wood filler or veneer should be used to fill the fret slots, not epoxy. Mirror Coat does not wear anything like rosewood, and if it's properly mixed, is way harder (and brighter) than ebony.

    But I still don't see the point of doing it to an upright fingerboard.
     
  9. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    +1

    I don't know anyone who has done this on an upright, but have suggested it for people with really crappy boards, especially ones with uneven grain which produces dead spots.

    I don't know Mirror Coat, but I did a P neck with West Systems boat epoxy in 1987. I did maybe six coats over a few days and each coat cured super hard within hours of application. I never played the bass regularly, but I still have it. I much prefer the sound to a plain maple P board, and 22 years of roundwounds has produced very little wear.

    I don't see a downside except that you won't be able to have the board re-dressed by a luthier.
     
  10. moles

    moles

    Jan 24, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    I don't know Mirror Coat...couldn't get hold of West Systems up here. I went with whatever was available at the hardware store. Admittedly not the best, but it was still two part epoxy...in the same ballpark as far as I can tell.
    Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a complete disaster - just didn't add anything to the sound IMO. And I can get plenty of growl out of good flats anyway. For me - there wasn't much of an upside. ;)
    AFAIK, Jaco still had to have his redone due to wear/peeling issues.
     
  11. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Hey moles, just for information purposes, Lee Valley has been dealing West Systems epoxy for a looooong time.
     
  12. Hookus

    Hookus

    Oct 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I used super glue on a defretted slab once, terribly messy, and well, meh.

    As far as epoxy is concerned, I don't see much of a use for it on an upright. There are uprights that have been around for well over a hundred years that don't have epoxy on them, and many of those were played much more and harder than many of us play. Plus, if a board on a DB needed help, there is plenty of thickness if it needed to be dressed up again, I would imagine.
     
  13. moles

    moles

    Jan 24, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    Interrresssting....:D

    They didn't come up when I was searching before, for whatever reason. Maybe I've got a new project on the horizon now...that fretless has been hiding under the bed for too long.
     

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