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Roundwounds that won't destroy a fretless ebony board

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Lonnybass, Aug 11, 2005.

  1. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Hi fellas,

    I'm wondering what roundwound options are good for an unfinished ebony fretless fingerboard - clearly nickel is better than stainless steel, but I know that most (if not all) nickel strings are simply coated with nickel over steel. So, any advice for good strings that won't eat away at the board would be appreciated. I'm currently using TI jazz flats and love the warmth, but want to explore options with a little more natural mwahness.

    Looking forward to your ideas.

  2. EricTheEZ1


    Nov 23, 2004
    Clawson, MI
    I find that Mwah goes down when switching to Rounds. With an unfinished board, you're running the risk of getting a lot of dents and divots in the board no matter what strings you're using. Flats would obviously be better than Rounds.

    I highly suggest not using Rounds on an unfinished board. If you really want to, Ernie Ball Slinkys are the smoothest Roundwounds I can think of.

  3. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    I'm using Dean Markely Fretmasters on my fretless at the moment. Never mind the name! They're actually really good for fretless as they're roundwounds, but burnished over the fingerboard section only to smooth them down a bit; the section over the pickups is left unburnished for the full roundwound zing. Nice quality strings, quite bright but with a strong full tone. They do feel smoother on the burnished section than ordinary rounds. Only trouble is they're pricey here in the UK, but I think they're pretty reasonable over there where you are. Check the Dean Markley site.

    I also (because of the price!) have some Rotosound Solo Bass pressurewounds to try on my fretless (I use the Swing Bass rounds on most of my fretted basses and love them). I've heard good things about the Solo's but haven't put them on yet because the Fretmasters are lasting really well.
  4. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Gotta have rounds for mwah in my book! YMMV, etc...

    I actually used Swing Bass rounds on my old Yamaha fretless for 5 years with no obvious damage to the unfinished rosewood board. Again, this is a lot to do with playing style and YMMV, etc

    BTW, to hear my Jazz with the DM strings, go to the Bass Tone Glossary sticky at the top of the Pickups forum. Under the entry for "mwah" is a sound clip of that bass with these strings.
  5. RE:PEAT


    Jun 24, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm in the exact situation. I'm playing on Rotosound flats now and going to try TI jazz rounds this weekend. I'll let you know how they work out.
  6. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    Metal > Wood ...every metal string eats wood! Flats will chew up a fingerboard over time.

    mwah is in the fingers and set up.... flats can and do mwah with the right touch.

    vibrato across the fingerboard does MUCH more damage than rolling with the length of the string.

    I've used Stainless rounds on raw rosewood for a few years with just minor scoring.
  7. I wouldn't really worry about chewing up an ebony fingerboard. It's pretty tough. At worst you'll need to get it smoothed out, which needs doing eventually anyway. Not a big deal in my book.
  8. basseuphoria


    May 19, 2005
    FWIW during WWII gyroscopes used bearings made of ebony due to not being magnetic. if they can do that, something tells me an ebony board can take the harshest of SS rounds. :cool:
  9. RE:PEAT


    Jun 24, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    Just installed TI Jazz rounds on my fretless (ebony). The outer wrap is 100% nickle. I'm not seeing any signs of fretboard chew. BTW, these strings are amazing. Very supple, a huge contrast to the cable-taught flats I was using. I've got to get two more basses so I can have each strung differently ;)
  10. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    I have posted and got great feedback on the SIT silencers . A local shop here where they are made got me a set and i put them on .........nice! Flat feel and a smoother roundwound sound without the noise. One guy who posted said he likes them on his fretless and the shop said the same.