I want a superhard fingerboard coating!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by steamboat, Oct 29, 2001.

  1. My fretless Stingray 5 with bare rosewood board has a very nice, warm sound, but I've decided that what I'm after is something brighter.. with more bite to it.

    I almost think that getting a fretless Moses neck would be the best way to go.. but I really like the profile and feeling of the current neck and a Moses would cost me a bit more than I'm looking to spend ($525 with an added $150 if I wanted diamondwood.... eeek!). Therefore I'm really only considering getting a coating on the current fingerboard.

    What are some pros and cons of different coatings? I'm looking for brightness and the ability to be able to use nickel roundwounds is a must.

    Anyone know of someone in Wisconsin that will do this sort of work? I'll probably have my dad do it because he's big into woodworking and finishing (he seemed to really enjoy doing the routing for a bridge jazz pickup on my other bass), but I still wouldn't mind getting some price quotes.

  2. Well, you just shot yerself in the foot with the requirement of using nickel roundwounds. There isn't a coating on the face of the planet that will hold up the way you want without, at least, some degradation over time. I know that John Turner has a hard coating on his custom Conklin's that seems to hold up under roundwounds pretty well but, as I recall, it is a Cyanoacrylate coating that should only be done by professionals. Perhaps he can tell you more.

    That said, there might be other routes to go for a super hard fingerboard and the fact that your dad can help you is perfect for what I have in mind. How about a Dymondwood, phenolic, or ebony veneer applied to your rosewood fingerboard? You can get these materials fairly easily and if you get them thin enough can literally "wrap" them across the existing fingerboard. Even a very thin layer of these materials will provide plenty of thickness for years of wear. In fact, I don't think any of the materials except for the ebony would show signs of wear at all. Here are some websites that will help you with the decisions:

    www.mimf.com - Musical Instrument Makers Forum
    www.lmi.com - Luthiers Mercantile Incorporated
    www.stewmac.com - Stewart MacDonald guitar supply

    Good Luck!
  3. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    I've been looking at some european solutions to that problem lately.
    LeFay, Andreas, Vigier... They all apply a thin metal sheet to the fingerboard. Steel, alu and a brass alloy, respectively.
    A steel board will stand nickel rounds, thats for sure.:D
  4. Isn't that a conundrum - fretless with all of the fret click and clack of a fretted! :D
  5. Hmm.. thanks guys!

    I honestly hadn't really thought of anything like that.. I'm open to doing something a bit left of center so the thought of applying a layer of metal or composite is intriguing.

    I'll keep those more exotic suggestions in mind, but I guess I should have said that I want something that will stand up to nickel rounds for a reasonable period of time. What that period of time is depends on what the different coatings will allow.