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How Quickly do Rounds Eat Up a Fretless Board?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by jasper383, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    I just received a beautiful fretless EBMM fretless Sterling. I love the sound of rounds on fretless but am afraid of chewing up the neck. How quickly does this happen?

    I would be putting Fender nickel/steel strings on, or maybe regular EBMM strings.
  2. raebasso


    Jul 26, 2007
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    If you use nickel wound rounds, it will take a very long time to grind it up. I've been playing on my fretless (rosewood fingerboard) for 15 years, and it just now could use a minor refinish, due to a well-used dead spot. Nickel is a lot softer metal and won't chew up the wood as fast. Also, what type of fingerboard? Harder woods like ebony can withstand the strings longer than rosewood. I would try GHS Boomers or DR nickel wound as well. Good luck!
  3. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    Depends on what your fret board is made of.

    If it is wood then epoxying it is always an option - and worth the effort if this is truly a concern over time.
  4. gjooro


    Mar 27, 2006
    I would put epoxy
  5. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    It's an Ernie Ball bass, so it's Pau Ferro. Looks like rosewood, but I think is a little harder.
  6. raebasso


    Jul 26, 2007
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Epoxy is good, especially if you like that "playing on glass" look/feel of Pedullas, which are fabulous basses. I personally like the feel of wood (I'm also a classically trained upright player), which is why I suggested the nickel wound strings.
  7. Pao Ferro is nice wood, but is only hard as hard as Ebony on the Janka scale. Brazilian Rosewood is also harder than Pau Ferro.

    Look into the nickel half-rounds, ground-wounds, etc. This might be an acceptable compromise between tone and wear. The note above for epoxy is worth considering. You can probably find a luthier who does this on a regular basis.

    [ edit ]

    GHS Pressurewound are reputed to be great strings for this purpose.
  8. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    This question comes up now and then. I think people spend too much time thinking about it.

    Roundwounds will cause more fingerboard wear than flatwounds.

    But, unless you are playing a bass with a pine fingerboard, you won't need anything beyond a little steel wool now and then to keep it in fine shape. By the time you wear that puppy out, you will have played so much, and be so good, you will have tons and tons of gigs and will be able to buy yourself a new one.

    Enjoy your bass, enjoy your roundwound strings, and don't worry about board wear.
  9. 7flat5


    Nov 28, 2003
    Upstate NY
    The one thing you really don't want to do is use a vibrato technique like you would on a fretted bass, bending the string and rubbing it back and forth across the board. Learn to use a classical-style vibrato, play light but firm, and it should take a long time to do any damage.

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