My Pedulla MVP has Cracks on the Ebony Fretboard

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by p0k, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. p0k

    p0k I play the bass and design things.

    Feb 6, 2007
    Brockton, MA
    I noticed today that the fingerboard on my 1990 Pedulla MVP had a few small cracks in it. I understand this is fairly normal in ebony, but i don't like it and would like it to stop! Is there anything i can do? Here is a picture:

  2. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    The main problem with ebony, is that its a very hard stiff wood. Because of this it doesn't respond to humidity changes very well.

    The main thing you can do is to keep your bass in its case while not playing it so your bass can better acclimate to changes. One other thing you can do is oil your fretboard. I don't know if others recommend it, but I do it to all my guitars with linseed oil once every 6-7 months or so if I play the instrument a lot.
  3. p0k

    p0k I play the bass and design things.

    Feb 6, 2007
    Brockton, MA
    yeah, i always keep it out on a stand, so maybe i should leave it in (especially since it gets so dry in the winter). Are the cracks something that i should try to "fix?" or is it more of a the damage is done, just try to prevent more from happening kind of thing?
  4. 82Daion


    Nov 14, 2006
    You can get the cracks filled if they become serious enough, but they don't look too bad in that pic.

    Keeping the bass in its case will help some, but I'd recommend a small humidifier for the room/floor of your dwelling so that the bass isn't getting completely dessicated. A good fingerboard oiling would probably help, too.
  5. mrpackerguy

    mrpackerguy Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Madison, Wisconsin
    I've got a '79 Les Paul Custom guitar with the same things. Does not affect playability.
  6. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I always oil my hard, stiff wood. ;)

    Seriously, I've always put oil on all my fretboards, which have been made of ebony, rosewood, pau ferro. The only time I've ever had fretboards crack are when I fail to oil them...especially in the winter months.

    You don't necessarily have to keep it in it's case. I like to have my basses out on display, ready to pick up and play. But I also use a humidifier (ideally a whole house humidifier is best if you live in the northern states.
  7. p0k

    p0k I play the bass and design things.

    Feb 6, 2007
    Brockton, MA
    yeah, i think i may get a humidifier and keep all my instruments in that room now, and try to oil the board a bit more often. what do you guys use for oil? i read that a lot of people like "Fret Doctor" any other recommendations?
  8. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I just use lemon oil. I've used it for 30 years and never had an issue with it. Use it sparingly...very little goes a long way!
  9. Those cracks will probably disappear in spring.
  10. kobass

    kobass Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Outside Boston
  11. p0k

    p0k I play the bass and design things.

    Feb 6, 2007
    Brockton, MA
    thanks, so just so i'm sure, all i need to do is spray it on there, let it sit for a while and then wipe it off right? or is there more to it than that?
  12. kobass

    kobass Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Outside Boston
    Just spray it on and rub it in with a soft cloth. Let it "soak into the wood" for ten minutes or so, and then go over the board with a soft cloth one last time. A little goes a long way.


    Oct 10, 2008
    There are many "fretboard specific" oils out there that
    all do the same thing. In fact, the ones with petroleum
    disolates {paint thinner} in them will actually dry out
    the board. I could give you three that don't contain
    Petroleum Disolates,
    1. Wilberts Lemon Oil. {Pure thick lemon oil that can be found
    in any supermarket}.
    2.Hoppe's No#9 oil. {Typically used for firearms and rifle stocks, found in Walmart, Kmart, or any sporting shop.}
    3. Power Chord. {Can be found in music stores or ordered
    direct at }

    All three of these will give you a supreme finish that will
    last you for 6 months of heavy play, and a year of light play.

    Keep On A Choppin.........! :bassist:
    P.S. I left one thing out! Try to keep your bass in a room that has roughly
    the same temperature all year round.
    For me, it's my basement. It's the warmest room in the winter, and coolest
    in the summer, always ranging at about 72-74 degrees.
  14. PortraitOfJames

    PortraitOfJames Guest

    Jan 21, 2007
    Emmaus, PA, USA
    dude you're number one in the pedulla club, that's awesome. I'll be joining in like a week or 2! :hyper:

    i have no life

    anyway, i can't really help here, but i'm gonna keep my eye on this for info cause i'm sure this problem will arise for me too eventually.
  15. fivestringdan


    Dec 4, 2001
  16. I was told you should avoid products with wax in them, as they can build up in the wood over time and make it less resonant. Or something.
    A bottle of Formby's natural lemon oil furniture polish lasted me from college until my wife started using it to polish the furniture, which works out to about eight years.
  17. Gusdfunk


    Aug 10, 2017
    Bay Area
    Wow! Thanks for mentioning that. And falls in line with the advice to wait a day before unpacking a shipped guitar. Decades ago, a teacher recommended always keeping the bass in it's stand so you could always/easily pick it up and practice/write. Tsk, tsk.
  18. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    This has been many years. I currently use the music nomad F1 oil but same practice
  19. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    Oiling an ebony fingerboard is not going to keep it from cracking. The wood is so dense, the oil is barely penetrating below the surface anyway. The oil is more for aesthetics than actual maintenance. There are 200-300 year-old viol family instruments with perfectly healthy fingerboards that have never been oiled.

    The reason ebony cracks like that is because it doesn't expand and contract the same way the neck wood does. The ebony is glued to the neck with a very high strength glue. Hopefully hide glue, but more likely PVA. Unless the glue joint fails, the ebony is going to be pulled apart when the other wood expands more quickly than the ebony can.

    The phenomenon is not exclusive to ebony nor guitars. It happens in all forms of woodworking when you have disparate woods joined over a large surface.

    The best solution is to keep the humidity stable year around.