Material to protect fretless fretboard

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Andy419, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. Andy419


    Aug 13, 2007
    I'm gonne be buying a Fender fretless J bass here soon and since I'm not gonna play with flats I may need something to protect the fretboard from roundwound damage. (The strings are gonna be DR nickel lo riders, so it wont be as bad as some rounds, but I want this bass to last). I've heard of epoxys and that stuff but will traditional fretboard conditioner work or wont it? Suggestions.
  2. Psychicpet

    Psychicpet Guest

    Mar 13, 2004
    Friend and Endorsee of Larry


    seriously, as long as you're not gripping the fingerboard like Thrilla Gorilla

    then just play the thing and don't give in to the hype of rounds DESTROYING your fingerboard, they won't!!
  3. bl2112


    Jul 11, 2008
    jaco used some boat epoxy anyone know the name. He put like 6 coats on his bass.
  4. bl2112


    Jul 11, 2008
    one more thing.............

    i have a squier fretless mod. And there is some string marks in some spots.
  5. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    Marks are not the same as grooves. Marks are not a problem.

    You can coat the FB, but it will change the tone of the bass. Maybe that's good. Maybe not. Depends on your ears. But, if you like it now, please realize that it will be different if you layer epoxy on the FB.
  6. sublime0bass


    Aug 2, 2007
    Boone, NC
    what kind of tonal differences? i have an acoustic Johnson 4-string i recently converted to fretless, and since it will be electrically amplfied i'd like to know the difference.
  7. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    All I've noticed when putting on an epoxy coating, is a brighter high end. On a gig you barely can notice it. but if you use stainless steel rounds and go for glass shattering highs you might notice it more.

    As far as wear goes, True Oil and any wiped on oil coating will wear. So will a harder varnish. In fact, so will epoxy. None of these materials are as hard as the metal of the strings. Maybe Kevlar wouldn't.

    But the wear problem is not really that big a problem. I pulled the frets from my 62 P bass soon after I bought it in 62. It was a rosewood board. All I did was fill the fret slots with plastic wood and give it a light sanding. That was my only bass for 4 years and my primary bass for another 6 or so years. I played 6 nights a week the first 5 years, then went on the road. I still played a lot per day then. After 10 years the fingerboard was worn enough to warrant filling the grooves and sanding the fingerboard level. This was with flatwound strings of course. Roundwounds will wear the wood faster. An ebony board will be harder.

    Anyhow, for me I wouldn't bother putting an epoxy coating on a fretless board except for looks. It's a messy job, takes some skill to get it right and if you bugger it up you really have some work to do. I did it on a MusicMan rosewood board. I did a pretty good job. I don't know if the job was worth it as I sold the bass a couple years later. By then there was some were some wear marks in the epoxy. So if you use epoxy and get a mirror finish with it, after a bit of playing it will show. So will oil finishes and varnish finishes. So will using super glue. None of these things are as hard as the strings. Maybe coat the fingerboard with tempered stainless steel if that's a big concern.
  8. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    if you're going the epoxy route, I can say from personal experience that

    - it's a LOT of work
    - requires some basic woodworking skills
    - level the epoxy to tolerance with a sanding block
    - plan on your bass being out of commission for several weeks
    - if you measure inaccurately you will have a sticky mess

    I use System3 Mirror Coat for all of my fingerboard finishes. I also utilize a StewMac radius sanding bar (the expensive extruded aluminum one) that matches the fingerboard radius. you will need high quality self-stick paper to go with the bar, and several wet sand papers (600 - 1800 grit) after that. to finish you'll need to buff it with buffing compound and polish

    all of the materials aren't cheap, and if you're not familiar with woodworking and epoxy work you're headed for a potential "extreme learning experience"

    if you simply have to do this, take it to a qualified shop unless you (or a friend) have the skills and experience to do it right the first time

    all the best,

  9. praisegig

    praisegig Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2008
    Stephenville, TX
  10. Envirotex Lite. Check out your local hobby stores.
  11. chrisp2u


    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Pedulla will convert (de-fret) and finish anything for a mere $450.
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    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.

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