Rounds on an non-epoxied fretless?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Falkner, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. Falkner


    Mar 5, 2008
    I recently bought an SX fretless to play around with, and although I like flats I'm wanting more zing and growl out of that bass. I don't want to go through the work of coating the fretboard with epoxy or paying someone to do it since it's a cheap bass and I only use it to fiddle around with on occasion (like an hour or so a week, just for fun). Would I be fine putting rounds on it in that case? How quickly would it eat the fingerboard? Would a coated string such as Elixers help any or is the coating too thin to make a difference?
  2. Marton


    Sep 20, 2005
    You could try d'addario half-rounds, sounds like a good compromise. If you really want to put some roundwounds, you should go with nickel strings, stainless steel is really hard on wood.
  3. NYCBass

    NYCBass If it feels good it must be a Jazz Bass Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2006
    Queens NY
    Use the rounds, it will be fine for a long time with that little bit of play time.
  4. Considering that Rondo sells replacement necks fairly often for around $40 to $50 dollars I would not be overly concerened about it. If you still do, them use smooth nickel plated rounds such as the 7250 sets made by Fender or SIT nickels. GHS Pressurewounds would be kind to your fretboard.

  5. KTFunkAlive


    Nov 28, 2007
    It'll take years of playing to wear out the board, put your rounds on and let er rip.
  6. Falkner


    Mar 5, 2008
    That long? Wow, now I don't feel bad about trying this. :bassist:

    Yeah, but when they get new replacement necks they'll have those new headstocks and I'd rather not have one of those.
  7. Yes, I understand that. Horrid thing looks just like a Johnson headstock. Hmmmmmm...


  8. +1 - been there, got the tee shirt and still using the same (untreated) fingerboard :bassist:
  9. Swift713


    Dec 4, 2006
    Florence, Ma
    IME what you get is those tiny little grooves that you can see up close but you can't really feel but they don't really progress past a certain point. Unless you're really heavy handed and play a lot of aggressive slap & pop etc. you'll probably never have a problem with rounds on an untreated board. I played a defretted bass with rounds for at least 15 years with no problems.
  10. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    The Fender 9120 tapewounds are much brighter than flatwounds and designed for fretless :). I believe they are actually light gauge roundwounds that have been overwound with the nylon tape. As a bonus they stay bright MUCH longer than roundwounds as the tape protects them from your finger grunge. I also have a fretted that sounds great with them - kinda like 2 week old XL's :).
  11. Eight_Stringer


    Feb 22, 2009
    Your leading the way for us first timers to fretless.... what you say is coming to pass. Play semi aggresive and the used fretless with rosewood F/B was grooved before i bought it. Worn some extra grooves into it already as i cannot put the darn thing down :bassist:

    Have 2 fretless now, both with rounds ( one has D'ddario..came new with the Ibby and older bass has maybe Elixir or similar ) as i am a Roto RS66 fan from 1975, rounds are all i play. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Regards John
  12. I use GHS Pressurewounds to get a growly, mwah sound, but I do have friends that use rounds on their fretless, and their secret is to never bend the strings, because that is the main cause of grooves in the fingerboards. People forget that on fretless, you bend the notes by sliding your fingers along the strings.
  13. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    I've played fretless since 1988. I've used rounds almost exclusively in that time, mostly stainless steel ones. Yeah, the did wear out the rosewood board the fretless originally had. But that was as much due to me dressing the board too often and too agressively. Anyway, it lasted at least six years (I don't recall when I had the rosewood replaced with an ebony board, it may have been as late as 1995). And since then, I've buffed the fingerboard once a year with 0000 steel wool only.

    Use what sounds good and don't worry about wear. It's a musical instrument so its function is predicated on sound. Therefore sound trumps wear.

  14. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I had a Yamaha fretless that I had epoxied to preserve the fingerboard and it changed the sound in a way I didn't like. It was so bad I decided fretless wasn't for me. Fast forward a few years and I was in a store checking out a speaker cabinet and the closes bass they had to my Spector was a Warwick LX5 fretless with roundwound strings (actually it was the only active bass they had). I hated the cab, bought the bass. I knew better than to try epoxy again (or at least I think I knew better, time will tell) so I tried several different kinds of flats, didn't like any of them as much as rounds. I ended up using DR black coated strings because they don't feel as harsh, have a nice tension for low action, and look good on an unlined fingerboard. True the fingerboard has a bunch of little lines from the wraps hitting, but I figure if it gets bad enough I can always have it planed, planed and resurfaced, or epoxied at a later date.

    If you take any of that to heart please bear in mind I am primarily a fretted player, I just enjoy fretless from time to time. Does the coated string protect the fingerboard? I doubt it, or if it does I'd imagine it to be minimal. How long it lasts depends on how much you play and how you play more than anything.
  15. Mulebagger


    Dec 12, 2007
    poppin in the corn belt
    Endorsing Artist: Zon Guitars, Tsunami Cables, DR Strings, GK
    I've got DR Black Beauties rounds on my Modulus Genesis with a chechen fretboard. I play the hell out of that thing and there is barely any wear. Use what gets your sound. You can always replace the board or neck or have it resurfaced if it gets that bad. You'd have to play it a lot more than you would think to have a negative effect.
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