This is how an ebony fretless fretboard with roundwound looks like after 10 years

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by FaustoSyd77, Sep 22, 2021.

  1. Yes for sure!

  2. No way!!

  1. FaustoSyd77


    Sep 10, 2018
    I had this bass for about 10 years, and it became my main bass about 3 years ago.
    I don't gig professionally but play, jam and practice regularly. I consider myself definitely not on the "light touch" side of things when playing bass.

    It's an ebony fretboard, always had round wound strings on it (Daddario XL).

    I have tried to take some pictures with the lighting showing the scratches as much as possible, but in fact when examined closely (IRL) the scratches are not that bad, and can barely feel them with the finger tips.

    2021-09-21 12.41.35.jpg

    2021-09-21 12.41.53.jpg

    This bass sounds so good to me with rounds that I am definitely ok with these scratches.
    MMiller28, Ghastly, Gaolee and 50 others like this.
  2. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 Supporting Member

    Ever try DR Sunbeams? They're easier on fretless necks than most (all?) round wounds and sound really good. It could maybe do with a light sanding or steel wool? It does look pretty good for ten years of round wounds though, ebony is a hard wood. I have a TF fretless with it.
  3. CryingBass

    CryingBass Ours' is the only Reality of Consequence Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2016
    I think a lot of players should worry less about rounds on fretless.
    I also think they sound better for my needs. But YMMV.
    Thanks for the post op.
    JPaulGeddy, DJ Bebop, Luigir and 12 others like this.
  4. cmcbass

    cmcbass Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2018
    I don't mind a little wear on a bass as long as it doesn't effect playability. Looks like there's a crack up by the nut though. I would be more inclined to fix that.
  5. TheDirtyLowDown


    Mar 8, 2014
    Keep playing rounds on it! Make good music, and have fun. Don't fret about the fingerboard:)

    [ disclaimer: I play an ebony-board fretless, and if I didn't love my TI Jazz Flats so much I might consider their Jazz Rounds. ]
    Road Hat, ladybug and Pauly 4001 like this.
  6. FaustoSyd77


    Sep 10, 2018
    @cmcbass I agree. How would you fix that crack?
  7. Giffro

    Giffro Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2017
    South Australia
    After at least 20 years use my Aussie made Maton JB4 Pro ended up the same way with it's ebony board. I actually smoothed the indentations out a little using a grit type toothpaste rubbed on gently with a rag. I think the brand I used at the time was Pearldrops toothpaste. It definately helped to even the "dents" out quite a bit but of course the roundwounds still "bite" into the ebony after awhile but I love the sound of them so it's something I have learned to live with as it doesnt seem to greatly affect the overall sound of the bass. You can just see the scratching in the middle of the board on this pic...i have no other pics as my son has the bass at present.
    Maton JB4 Fretless Pro 2.jpg
  8. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    It's mojo.
  9. WillyW

    WillyW l’art pour l’art, fonction de baise

    Dec 10, 2019
    I almost gave up on fretless because I didn’t like the sound of flats. I read the many intewebz warnings and finally ignored them.

    I now only use roundwounds now and have no appreciable wear on any of my boards.

    maple, ebony, rosewood, purpleheart, goncalo alves, bubinga and a couple of mystery woods.
    DJ Bebop, MonetBass, equill and 3 others like this.
  10. its mwaah mwaah mojo!:bassist:
  11. cmcbass

    cmcbass Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2018
    I would wick in some CA glue or maybe thin set epoxy. The only issue I could see is if the crack is open to the truss rod channel it could cause some issues if glue seeps in and seizes the truss rod. It might just be a surface crack. I'm not a luthier, so this isn't professional advice. Taking it in to a luthier would be your best bet if you aren't comfortable doing it yourself.
    Rabidhamster and Chain_Lightning like this.
  12. ficelles


    Feb 28, 2010
    Devon, England
    I have a tiny crack up by the nut one one of my fretless basses, I took it to a very reputable luthier who said it's way easier to repair a break than fix a crack and did just what you've said - run some glue in there to stabilise it and see how it goes.

    The roundwound scars don't look that bad, probably would clean up even with melamine pads. I'm also not a luthier btw so amateur advice only!
    equill and cmcbass like this.
  13. SC Bassboy

    SC Bassboy Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Birmingham, AL
    Those light scratches are super easy to sand out and you can level the fingerboard pretty easily. I did some reading over in the luthiers corner here on TB and leveled mine in just over an hour.
    gebass6 and Giffro like this.
  14. Smurf-o-Deth

    Smurf-o-Deth Nothing to fret over. Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2007
    The state of denial.
    This is why I have GHS pressurewounds on my fretless.
  15. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Central Ohio
    The problem with the rutting is that it causes intonation issues. It is necessary to either maintain the planarity by leveling or put a hard coat on it. Pick your poison.

    BTW, polyurethane, like the Minwax stuff for floors, retains about 80% of the woody tone. Wears great, can be buffed to a matte if desired to retain the unfinished wood look. DIY is manageable, or just go to someone like Pat Wilkins for a pro job. Not as bright as epoxy or some of the other hard coatings. FWIW
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2021
  16. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    I've had rounds on both of my fretless basses since I got them pretty much. The costum Fender style had them, including some stainless ones since I got it ca. 1998. When I got the fretless Lakland in 2009, I tried a couple of flats on the other, to have that difference voice. There's nowhere near that much wear on either board.

    But each time I restring, I buff the board with a 3M grey hardware sponge. It's a mild abrasive like 0000 steel wool without leaving bits of steel filing scratch the finish, stick to pickups, or drift into the pots.

    My experience is that most of the severe wear people are afraid of from using rounds on a fretless are caused by technique- too much pressure with both hands, sideways vibrato, and bending. I've also seen too much concern over essentially cosmetic wear causing people to aggressively buff fingerboard with sandpaper and reradius them in an effort to make it look pristine.

    It's a musical instrument, ergo its primary function isto create sounds. Therefore choose strings that give you the sound you need, and deal with the routine maintenance that entails.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2021
    MonetBass, ONYX, VoodooJazz and 3 others like this.
  17. CenTexThumper

    CenTexThumper Old Timer Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2008
    The Republic Of Texas
    D'addario half rounds. Best of both worlds. Worth a try.
    west al and Whale like this.
  18. thmsjordan


    Jan 10, 2010
    Eschew Obfuscation
    Resurfacing/replacing a fingerboard is an infrequent, but normal thing in the violin, viola,cello, & upright bass world. I suppose it should be no surprise that it would be needed with electric basses as well from time to time.
  19. Tubehed


    Oct 27, 2011
    Westminister, CA
    Tape wounds on a fretless are nice, too.
  20. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Play what you like. You can get that repaired easily if it bothers you.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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