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Nickel roundwounds on a Pau Ferro fretless fingerboard?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Bluebard, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. Bluebard


    Oct 21, 2014
    Hey bass dudes,

    I am thinking of switching the strings on my fretless Peavey Axcelerator from tapewounds to nickel roundwounds. The fingerboard is made of uncoated Pau Ferro, which I've heard is harder than rosewood but softer than ebony. I am concerned about chewing up the fingerboard. Do you think Pau Ferro is hard enough to handle roundwound strings? What about with slapping? Will slapping chew it up faster, or do you think it'll be fine? Will slapping even sound any good on a fingerboard that isn't epoxied? I'm thinking of using either DR Pure Blues or Dunlop Super Brights (which I really like).
    Thanks guys!
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2015
  2. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i'm not an expert, but i have yet to see a wood that will stand up to any metal that's constantly rubbing against it, and i'm not just talking about fingerboards.
    Bluebard and Mvilmany like this.
  3. Fernando Costa

    Fernando Costa

    Aug 4, 2013
    Don't worry about it. The fingerboard had been in good condition for many years even with rounds. Literal translation: Pau Ferro = Iron Wood.

    It's "much" harder than rosewood but only "a little" softer than ebony, whereas the hardness of each kind of these 3 woods can't be the same, due a natural "variety" of each wood, of course.
    Bluebard likes this.
  4. Levin


    Oct 30, 2012
    If your technique haven't chewed it up so far, it will probably be okay, and yes pao ferro is much harder than rosewood so it should be fine even with steel strings. Of course, playing +10 hours a day for ten years with a pretty aggressive technique and slides and vibratos side to side, no strings would help any fretless fretboard made of wood.
    Bluebard likes this.
  5. Bluebard


    Oct 21, 2014
    Iron wood? Wow, that's interesting, I never knew that. Thanks!
  6. Fernando Costa

    Fernando Costa

    Aug 4, 2013
    Yes, the most common translation of "wood" in portuguese is "madeira", but "pau" is a colloquial synonym for "madeira". Like "a stick (pau) made of wood".
    zelig.audio and Bluebard like this.
  7. I think people on here really really overstate how fragile fingerboards are. Pau Ferrero is an extremely hard wood. Even if you did wear it out, it would take years and years, no different from wearing your frets out and having to get them redone.
    Bluebard, Showdown and Levin like this.
  8. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Exactly. Play the strings that give you the sound you want and stop worrying so much. RW will make marks on the fretboard pretty quickly (so will flatwounds to a degree), but it will take a longtime to make any actual grooves that affect playability. And when it happens after years of playing you just need a luthier to sand it down.

    I have used RW on fretless for years without a problem. It isn't as bad as people think.
    Bluebard, Levin and Bassic Playing like this.
  9. Bluebard


    Oct 21, 2014
    Thanks guys! I'll try the roundwounds and won't worry too much :D

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