Has this been done? Bass with different fretboard woods for sharps?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by kirkdickinson, Oct 8, 2016.

  1. Lowness

    Lowness Inactive

    Mar 13, 2015
    Healdsburg, CA
    Looks odd and is somewhat not useful - I go all up and down my fretboard and deciphering naturals / # / flats rarely comes into play.
    dalahorse likes this.
  2. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    Cool idea for a custom builder!
  3. As a keyboardist who is now learning the bass --- you wouldn't want to mess with the size/shape of the keys on a keyboard (that would F*** me up good) - but for me and any other keyboard player I know, you could paint all the keys any color you want and it would make no difference at all. We don't look at the color at all - it's all feel (just ask Stevie Wonder).

    Now that I'm learning bass, it's all about patterns and shapes and how to get from the current note to the next note - I would never be looking at the fretboard to find the note - if look at the fretboard it's only because I'm still learning to find the sweet spot right on/behind the fret and haven't quite got all the muscle memory yet. So it wouldn't be the least bit helpful to me to know if a fret is a natural or a sharp/flat - I only care about the interval from the note I just played to the notes I'm about to play.
    dalahorse likes this.
  4. navijaz

    navijaz Guest

    Sep 20, 2016
    Really cool idea! I would absolutely want to get that. I realize it is something different but there is the Sandberg patchwork bass, so it should be possible to do.
  5. Cool idea.
  6. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Apparently, I am more shallow and uptight than Mr. Entwistle.

    Does not matter to me. I am too shallow and uptight to play such an an instrument.
    Tanner5382 and dalahorse like this.
  7. eb0248

    eb0248 Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2011
    Wellington, FL
    Interesting concept. Post some pics if you go through with it, please.
  8. kirkdickinson

    kirkdickinson Supporting Member

    Anybody that really likes my idea is welcome to borrow it. If you don't that is ok too. I see a lot of stuff that is custom that wouldn't be to my liking, but that is what makes the world interesting.

    I will think on this some more and maybe post a whole concept bass.

    By the way, I drew this in Corel Draw with 1.75 nut 2.6 heel and frets from spaced to correctly to a thousandths. 34 scale 24 fret.
  9. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    I'm all against owning any sort of inlayed fretless, for myself anyway. But this idea sounds awesome and I'd definitely go for it (still plain wood with no inlays). I wouldn't use it for any sort of reference, I would just love the look. True it won't be accurate if you tune off standard but I only go by the side dots anyway. From an engineering standpoint it seems like it would be a royal pain to build, but considering a professional luthier says it can be done for $100 to $150 then I'd be all for it.
  10. dalahorse


    Apr 14, 2010
    I do think the idea is interesting and cool looking. Not for me but yeah... I also don't like Fender or Gibson. If everyone liked the same thing, the world would be a very boring place.
    Stevorebob likes this.
  11. nuhckes8


    Aug 20, 2014
    I love it, it kinda reminds me of keyboards colored like this:
    BlueAliceOasis likes this.
  12. [I posted this in the other thread where you mentioned this....]

    Start with coloured adhesive plastic film on a current fretless (or fretted) & see how you like it.

    DIY option.....
    Stain a raw maple board on a neck you like. Mark it off with tape (as above) and apply ebony stain to the areas you want darkened.
    Fretlines (cuts thru the surface layer) will probably help prevent stain seeping along the grain.
    kirkdickinson and spaz21387 like this.
  13. if it was done it would have to be lined. When you see a piano, the ivory keys do not blend in you see the lines between the keys. The white parts of the neck therefore would have to be lined which means the whole neck would have to be lined, to give the desired visual effect of piano keyboard equivalence.

    Some may feel free to see it as the equivalent as the piano keyboard necktie. I see it as acknowledgement that music is more than just patterns.

    Another possibility would be to have it less rectangular and more like either oval or splotches still in the appropriate place but less precise. For those that want but don't need the visual representation as an aesthetic rather than a tool.
    kirkdickinson likes this.
  14. kirkdickinson

    kirkdickinson Supporting Member

    I have a Michael Kelly Dragonfly fretless and that is inlayed out the wazoo. I had some wood/inlay shrinkage 6 months in and they did a warranty resurface on the fretboard. 3 years out and it is still really good. I thought of this more for the strikingly different look that it would have, not so much for reference at all. The reason I put the pattern by flats and sharps is because it kind of looks random, but it is perfectly in order. Kind of OCD.
  15. kirkdickinson

    kirkdickinson Supporting Member

    Yeah, I did post in two threads. I guess that is frowned upon, but I rewrote it a little and figured that this forum was probably where I should have posted it from the start.
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  16. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    IMO it would look better unlined. I see it as zones of sharpness/flatness and zones of naturality. Not like playing actual keys, just playing in the zones which have the different pitch character. Now I'm thinking of shifting everything 1/2 "fret" so in tune is in the center of each zone and not on the edge of it. After all it is a fretless.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2016
  17. I don't think I would see all these colors while looking down at the fret board. I usually just see the top edge of the neck/fretboard (where the lines and dots are) if/when I look down at my bass while playing.

    Kinda cool looking but not sure I'd find any use for it, or more importantly any extra money for it.
  18. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    Makes total sense to me. Great idea.
    Kubicki Fan and kirkdickinson like this.
  19. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    It would have to come with a warning tag stating that you can't play a G# harmonic minor scale on it :D
  20. tlc1976


    Aug 2, 2016
    Got me thinking, my 6 needs the fingerboard reattached and surfaced when I get myself a shop hopefully next summer. This might be a worthwhile thing to try. Plenty of time to think about it. The post on woods with comparable shrink/expansion factors is great info.

    I think the way to go would be to start at the nut end, make each piece a little long, then glue it and cut it at an absolute measurement from the nut end. Repeat. Otherwise I think if I cut all the blocks first, by the time I got to the other end, the tolerance stackup might be considerable.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2016
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jul 27, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.