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so many fretless questions.

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by harpguy74, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. harpguy74


    Oct 2, 2011
    quebec canada
    so a few weeks ago I put a mighty mite fretless neck on my 2001 mim 60s jazz bass because I wanted to try out fretless before actually buying a bass. after a few weeks I really like playing fretless. the things I don't like , the ebonal , the width and feel of the mm neck compared to my jazz neck, and I put on roundwound instead of my labella flats and I loved it at first but now I miss my flats. I am thinking more and more about yanking the frets out of my original neck.it is not like it is a expensive collectors bass but I would like to keep it the natural wood without the hard epoxy fingerboard. how long will a rosewood board last with flats without a coating, or for that matter with rounds before it would be grooved beyond playability. I play mostly just at home and only 3 to 4 hours a week. my days of wanting to be a rock star are 20 years behind me. if it would be a matter of taking a radius block to it every year or so it would not be to bad, I have most the tools from refertting my strat a few years ago witch turned out awesome. sorry for the rant.
  2. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    If you put nothing on as a finish the answer will vary a lot based on the rosewood - it comes in all kinds of densities. My personal experience is with ebony. At 3-4 hours/wk it lasts without resurfacing a very long time, at least with flats, not so much with rounds. I presume you plan to fill the fret slots with something hard. That seems necessary to maintain the neck/fingerboard's shape. Good luck!
  3. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Flats on a rosewood board will not cause a problem for a long long time at 3 to 4 hours a week. With round wounds the time will be a bit shorter - say 10 years before it's really unplayable. Even then a fingerboard dress will put in good shape for the next 10 or so.

    My fretless has an ebony board, and I've played it regularly for about 18 years now. There are some marks, but it's nowhere near needing a dressing. I expect with a reasonably good rosewood board I might be wanting a dressing now.
  4. I am in the beginning stages of my first fretless conversion. I am doing it on a Rogue 5 string I tried to sell on CL but could not get my $80 asking price:)

    There is a 10 part series of videos on Youtube I watched and I am following those steps. He talks about the rosewood fingerboard and round wounds. If you haven't watched them, check them out.


    I ordered some of the tools he used from Harbor Freight and am waiting for them to come in. I can't wait to get started.

    Good luck and have fun!
  5. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Some people just like the tone of rounds and then just have to put up with a periodic sanding. Personally that freaks me. So I have flats (GHS flats are my favorite) or Ground wounds (GHS or D'Addario) or nylon wrapped.. None of those string will chew a neck. I've got a couple basses with a rosewood fingerboard and they both still look like new regardless of playing (you get a bit of shiney under the strings). But I've got an Alembic that supposedly came with pressure-wounds and has an ebony neck. It IMMEDIATELY started developing chews under the strings! clearly they were really round wounds! I freaked, natch. It's had ground wounds on it ever since.

    I do have one SX bass with ebony and true pressure-wounds (GHS). They chew a bit but very slowly. And they are brighter than grounds too. But to my ears they seem to have a kind of funny tone, so I haven't decided about them yet. But my main axe is a G&L L2500 lined fretless ebony board that has d'addario gournd wounds (they used to call them half-rounds) on it and it simply KILLS. The main advantage of ebony is a brighter clearer tone. My rosewood fretless basses are warmer sounding and more mellow. Personally I'm not a fan of the harsher epoxy Jaco tone. I like the tones of bare wood.