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Mylar coating on fretless board -- RESULTS!!!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by junglebike, Apr 18, 2003.

  1. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    I posted a question about something I could use to protect my Tune's rosewood fretboard during my ham-fisted attempts at slapping. This led to an interesting suggestion by basiclybass, who has used an adhesive mylar film applied to his fretboard.

    Previous discussion

    I couldn't find the self-adhesive mylar anywhere, so I ordered some standard .002" mylar sheet ($1.64 for material, $6.75 for shipping :)

    On the suggestinon of TAP plastics, I used 3M Super 77 spray adhesive. Instead of risking my gigging bass, I experimented on a de-fretted Steinberger Spirit that I bought for around $100 from HeavyDuty.

    I used masking tape and plastic bags to protect everything but the Steinie's rosewood board. I pre-cut a strip of Mylar about twice as wide as the fretboard. I sprayed a small amount of adhesive on the board, and some on the mylar. Let it dry for about 30 seconds, and applied the mylar, starting at the nut and then to the end of the neck.

    Flattened it out with a credit card -- it went on very easily. I was worried that I hadn't used enough adhesive -- the clear mylar combined with the adhesive gives a sort of mottled appearance over the rosewood -- appearance might be different if more adhesive was used.

    I let it dry for about an hour, and strung it up. I've been playing it for the last two hours or so.

    Results: sounds great! Plays great! It's a very low-friction material -- I can do fretted-style bends on the board easily, without feeling like I'm scarring it. The material seems pretty much indestructible -- unless the adhesive gives, I can't see it ever breaking down.

    The sound, as mentioned in the last post, certainly has more snap and zing. It's not as woody a tone as before. With some eq, the slap tone is quite cool -- not like a fretted, but more so than before. I'm not a great slapper (yet) so take this with a grain of salt!

    I'm very happy! I'll play the steinberger for a while to make sure I like the thing, and then probably do it to my Tune bass.

    Hope this was useful! Let me know if you've got any questions!
  2. Excuse my ignorance, but,, What is Mylar?? do you have a picture or link where I can see or read about that material?:confused:
  3. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    I believe mylar is the stuff that fancy (silver, opaque, "Happy Birthday" type) balloons are made of.
  4. Cool.. Thanks..

    Well.. it's nice to know that it actually worked fine.. Btw... Post some pics, jungle bike!
  5. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    Okay, I'll take some tomorrow. Baloons are made out of metalized mylar. The stuff I used was clear. Looks kind of like a Pedulla fretboard -- like a plastic coating, but much tougher.

    Photos tomorrow...
  6. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    I couldn't help myself, and I went ahead and mylar-ed my nicer Tune bass.

    Overnight, the adhesive seems to have hardened, which improved the tone of the Steinberger I did yesterday. Talk about Mwah... Wow! It's really a fun bass now, where before I didn't really know what to do with it. I love guitar-style string bends on it, of all things...

    Here's the steinberger
  7. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    And a closeup of the middle of the neck
  8. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    And the base of my Tune. It's really tough to photograph the mylar, as it's clear and very reflective, like glass.

    From five feet, it just looks like a shiny fretboard, with a slightly duller tone than the original rosewood.

    My Tune really kicks butt now, as a fretless. I can't wait to see if it gets even better tomorrow like my Steinberger did.

    Sustain has been improved in both basses.
  9. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    That is AWESOME!! I'll have to tell my buddy with a warwick fretless about it. He uses roundwounds, and it is marring up the fingerboard.
  10. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I am certainly happy you're having fun with the Steinie! How do you like that sustain - ridiculous, huh?

    The Mylar was a good idea - keep us posted on how it holds up! Is the adhesive removable?
  11. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    I'm loving the Steinie, HD! I actually just yanked the neck pickup and the tone/volume circuit, and am running direct from the bridge to my amp. It needs some eq-ing, :D but sounds great!

    Sustain increased dramatically at the upper registers with the removal of the neck pup. I think this'd make a great platform for a midi bass, since the sustain is so good, and I don't have any qualms about drilling holes in it!

    I'll let you know if the adhesive is removable if I ever try and remove it :D

    I'd imagine that with the proper chemical it'll come off.
  12. bassiclybass


    Mar 1, 2003
    junglebike, saw the pic of the steiny,looks good! yes the mylar is real durable.(see previous thread)looks like you did a good job.gives some cool tone eh?i see you did it to your tune also.Cool Dave:bassist:
  13. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    i had John Carruthers place a mylar sheet on my rosewood MIM Jazz.

    nice stuff!!!

  14. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    didn't you have some trouble when you took it off, f? Or was it just some color leaching or something, I can't remember...
  15. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    when i peeled off the mylar and was cleaning the board, i noticed an excessive amount of red bleed into the cloth.

    wasn't sure if the board was dyed or that was the nature of the rosewood.

    had nothing to do with the mylar/adhesive.

  16. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    ah, thanks!
    I might have to try this on the wacky fretless. It's got to be less trouble than varnishing it. Maybe I'll go w/ a funky maple or something light.
  17. junglebike


    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    If you really wanted something different, you could try and use the metalized mylar -- the stuff they make the "happy birthday" balloons out of! I didn't ask if it was available, as i'm not bold enough to try it. Sure would look... interesting, though. Might blind members of the audience when you get hit with a spot!

    Playing a Steinberger, you look like a freak anyway, so why not?
  18. thombo


    Aug 25, 2006
    Denver, CO
    I wanted to add a +1 to using mylar instead of epoxy.

    i have a lined fretless sr5 w/ a pau ferro board that i bought new in feb, 2001 and played it as my main bass until 2004. i had been using it w/ half-wound and round-wound strings. around 2003, i noticed some notes were getting a little extra "mwah," especially on the D and G strings. I couldn't find an 11" radius block, so i let it go. in 2005, it got to the point where i was avoiding certain notes on certain strings. shortly thereafter, i bought a fretted bass and bounced between the two until the fretless was beyond playability w/ out work; unfortunately, i never had the resources to have the work done.

    I had stumbled in this post a few months ago and finally gave in. I purchased some clear, acrylic adhesive backed, 2 mil mylar on the interweb, and it arrived on saturday. i took about two hours before rehearsal last night and applied the mylar.

    Disclaimer: i am a handy person, w/ a background in construction, and this is not the 1st bass modification.

    i removed my strings and nut, cleaned the board w/ lemon oil and let it dry. i cut the mylar slightly bigger than my board and put it on, trying to start at the 12th fret and move to the 22nd fret, using a credit card to get all of the air bubbles out. i then tried moving from the 12th fret to the nut, but some particles got stuck on the mylar and i had to start over.

    This time i paid more attention to detail. I gave my board a quick once over w/ 600 grit sand paper (which worked great), cleaned it up with some more lemon oil and let it sit dry for about an hour, giving it a polish every 20 minutes or so w/ a fresh, soft, good quality paper towels. I cut the mylar slightly bigger than my board and put it on. after a failed 1st attempt, i decided to start at the nut and work toward the bridge: it was far more successful for me. i peeled back the adhesive wrapper as i applied the mylar, going about 3 frets at a time. using the credit card, i would make complete contact on the A string area of the board and work out toward the B string, then go from the A to the G. i was surprised at how well the credit card worked for making contact/getting the air bubbles out.

    after i was satisfied w/ the mylar, i trimmed the edges with a new razor blade, carefully running it next to the board w/out cutting into it. Though it looked good, i could feel the mylar along the boards edge. i gave it a once-over with the credit card and let it sit for a few minutes, letting the acrylic backing take hold and dry. I then took the 600 grit sand paper and went around the edges at a 30 degree angle from the board's face. this worked like a charm.

    I reattached the nut, put on some new strings, and my baby is singing again! the bass is a little brighter now, w/ a bit more sustain and more "mwah," but not as bright as an epoxied board. i am quite happy with the end product and would recommend it, especially for those on a budget.
  19. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Nevermind the thread resurrection... can we get photos of your work, thombo?
  20. Can you also give a link to where you bought your materials?

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