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maple fretboard wear...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jobu3, Aug 6, 2002.

  1. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    i've got an early 80's G&L. i love it to death, it plays like a dream! the only problem is that some of the laquered finish is coming off the maple fretboard. any ideas of what i can put on this to prevent it from rotting? i'm not so concerned about looks as i am with longevity/playability of this bass, something clear is preferred though... any and all suggestions are welcome! Thanks guys, as always, i appreciate it!!!!
  2. More of a setup or Luthiers question, but I'll leave it to the mods.

    Anyway, I'd take it to a pro for that. dressing a fretboard is not something I'd want to tackle by myself, when I'd have to deal with frets. If it was a fretless, I* would strip the board to the bare wood and recoat it. But since I don't know what is used to coat the fretboard on a maple, I'd ask one of our esteem pro's over in the Luthiers corner. But if it is a fretted neck, I would take it to someone who knows what they are doing.

    * Disclaimer: I am not a certified bass tech, nor am I a Luthier. I'm just some guy who does the work on his own basses with relatively decent results, but would not be surprised if I screwed one of them up sometime. I also try to research any projects before I jump in with both feet. TalkBass is a great research place.
  3. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Try some clear nail polish to patch any chipping or wear-through on the fretboard and edges that have exposed bare maple as soon as you notice it. That will prevent discolouring from dirt, sweat, grunge, etc. The nail polish is a clear lacquer and in my experience will dry to match the rest of the neck finish.
  4. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    cool, thanks guys! i'll have to steal some off my girlfriend...
  5. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Well unless you leave your bass out in the rain regularly, the fingerboard isn't going to rot.

    It is fairly common see 25-30 year-old P basses with maple boards that have nearly all the clearcoat rubbed off the board.

    It won't damage it, but, as mentioned, sweat and other impurities can discolor it. It it won't effect the playability or structure of the bass to leave the maple unfinished.

    You can fix chips with nail polish, as mentioned, or just leave it.

    When you need to refret it, you can have it refinished then. If it is a little discolored (or even a lot for that matter) the sanding they'll do before the refret/refinish will likely take it off. If not, it can be bleached back out easily enough.

  6. I refinished the fingerboard on my Lakland a few months back. The fingerboard had some discoloration from the strings - it looked like there were five faint black streaks running from about the 12th fret to the end of the neck. It had been that way since I got the bass.

    I like the way the fingerboard turned out - here are a couple of pics:


  7. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    thanks guys! i appreciate it! i will need to get it refretted in about a year, i might just get it refin'ed too...
  8. FNA4, I don't think your neck is going to rot. It's not like it's a egg or something... I have a 77 Fender fretless P-bass with a all maple neck/fingerboard. There are a couple of chips and spots in the in the poly finish that have left tiny area's of wood exposed. These spots get finger gunk in them, but show no signs of ROT! It's been this way for over 20 years now and it hasn't rotted on me yet. I keep wanting to repair it, but I haven't yet.... I think Stewart MacDonald. STEWMAC.COM sells some kind of stuff to repair your fingerboard with ... or just use some super glue...

    Allen G. My maple board basses get those string lines on them all the time. It's no big deal. I use a quality musical instrument oil polish/wood cleaner to remove them...If your into playing your bass insted of hanging it on the wall, there is no way your you can avoid play ware...:)
  9. Interesting, Fetch Da Bass - but my bass doesn't hang on the wall :)

    The Lakland had discoloration on the fingerboard when I got it - and nothing I tried would take it off. The bass is five years old and I don't think the fingerboard had been cleaned in the four years before I got it. Refinishing the fingerboard brought it back to like-new appearance.

    Also - this isn't the first maple fingerboard I've owned but it is the first one I've had that needed a fingerboard refinish.

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