The ultimate fretless fingerboard gouging poll

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Andy Daventry, Nov 21, 2001.

  1. I put rounds on my rosewood fretless and have suffered no damage

    2 vote(s)
  2. I put rounds on my rosewood fretless and had to get the board reconditioned afetr a couple of years

    4 vote(s)
  3. I would NEVER put rounds on my rosewood fretless

    9 vote(s)
  4. Yeah, you can see the marks, but it plays OK.

    9 vote(s)
  1. I am about to take the plunge and put roundwounds on a rosewood fretless.

    Please be honest and give me courage!
  2. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    one word of advice-epoxy
  3. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Andy -

    I play with stainless steel rounds on both of my fretlesses. Admittedly, one has a phenowood (wood soaked in a hard resin) board, but the other has a pau ferro board. Pau ferro is a bit harder than rosewood, but not too much so. I had to re-level my fingerboard after about 4 years of HARD constant playing. I think you'll find that you should have similar results, especially if you use nickel rounds instead of stainless steel. To me, the tone is worth the aggrivation.
  4. Never again. When I got my fretless it had roundwounds already on it. so there were already marks. It played ok, so I didn't really mind, and then after I played for a while I bought some flats. I'm never going back, but only partly for the fingerboard. Mostly I just really like the sound of flats better.
  5. Thanks for the feedback everyone...
  6. Andy, the simplest solution is to use a half-round, ground-wound, or compression wound. All have the tops knocked off the windings and are a LOT easier on soft woods. I've been using D'Addario half rounds since they came out (1976) and have been very pleased with them. You'll get the tone, since the flexibility is the source.
  7. nanook


    Feb 9, 2000
    You are going to hate yourself if you do.
  8. When I had my MIM fretless jazz, which had a rosewood board, I used only flatwounds for two reasons:

    1) I didn't want to damage the fingerboard
    2) I like the sound of flats on a fretless (more upright-like)

    Now, I have an Ibanez with an ebonol board, and it came equipped with Elixir strings. This brought two new variables into the equation:

    1) The ebonol board seems to be a lot harder than any wood. I am of course guessing on this, but just touching it gives one this impression.
    2) Elixir strings have a coating on them, so this by itself I think would tend to reduce the wear on a wooden board.

    So, now you have another option: coated strings on a rosewood board.

    Even if roundwounds did absolutely no damage to a wooden board over time, I still prefer a darker tone on a fretless. I love the Elixirs, but I'm going to try Thomastik-Infeld Jazz flats next time I change strings. Too many people here have said too many good things about them.

    Happy Halloween. :)

  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Since flats don't even come close to the sound of rounds, I won't use them. I still haven't had to level a fretboard even after many years of playing.

    I let a friend check out my Elrick singlecut fretless 5 yesterday and the first thing he started doing was pushing the strings to bend them:eek:. That IMO IME is the main reason for fingerboard wear. The solution is to not do it. Beside, using a parallel to the strings motion gives you so much more range and control for that type of pitch variation.

    On electric bass I use a light touch, low action, higher amp volume setting and roundwounds. Works like a charm and if I want a duller, thuddier sound it's only a technique change away.
  10. NV43345


    Apr 1, 2003
    I have a mim Jazz also, and I put the RS66
    Rotosound steel 45-105 and it marks up the fretboard but it I dont care. I only paid
    $250.00 at a scratch & dent sale. I also put a
    set of Seymore Duncans in it. The Bass sounds
    awesome all my freinds always want to buy it off
    me. I do clean the fretboard with Boiled Linseed oil.
  11. It's gonna be OK. Just don't use guitar-style bends, but use slides and upright-style vibrato, it'll help preserve your board.

    I almost freaked out when one of my guitarist friends took my fretless and started doing all those huge bends! :eek: :mad: