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Tinted coating for maple fretless nect?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jmanyea, Aug 3, 2002.

  1. jmanyea


    Mar 20, 2002
    St. Louis
    I did a search and didn't see anything specifically
    about this. I got a fretless Essex P-bass with a lined maple fretboard. I think the lines look hokey and prefer unlined dark fingerboards. I am wondering if I could either stain the fretboard ebony or use a tinted coating of some sort. Any ideas/suggestions?
  2. A lot is going to depend of what the lines are made of. If they are a plastic (usually styrene) you are probably out of luck. If they are a wood, perhaps they can be stained. But they will likely not take the stain in the same way the rosewood does. I think that you'll always be able to discern the lines from the rest of the fingerboard.

    So, the issue turns to what to use for the stain. There are several ways to go here. You can use a stain made specifically for this purpose like Fiebings Professional Oil Dye. This stuff is BLACK!! It's used by lots of manufacturers to "ebonize" their fretboards. You can get it from Stewart MacDonald - www.stewmac.com You could also use leather dye but this is a bit thin and may take several applications to achieve the level of dark you want. You can also use black paste shoe polish. This is rubbed into the fingerboard and then polished to a rich shine. It's also great for "walking" bass lines too! :)
  3. Wow, I just reread your post and realized you are talking about a white maple fingerboard and not a rosewood. STOP EVERYTHING!!

    You are going to find it extremely difficult to change the color of your fingerboard - if it's possible at all. First, you will have to remove all traces of the finish. This must be done with a radiused sanding block or you will ruin the arch built in the surface. Then, since it's maple, you would have to dye it several times since maple is a really hard, dense wood. Stain doesn't take like the softer woods. It might take more than 3 or 4 applications to get deep, even coloring. If your neck is bound (I think they are) you've got to be careful not to get the dye on the binding - it'll stain it too. When that's finished, you'll have to recoat the surface with a suitable top finish like polyester, lacquer, epoxy, or polyurethane then resand and recoat until it's built up. All in all you will put in about $300 dollars of work on a bass that only cost $160 and still only have a $160 bass in the end.

    Why didn't you just get the rosewood board in the first place if you like that look?
  4. jmanyea


    Mar 20, 2002
    St. Louis
    Yea, I'll probably end up getting a phenolic fretless neck from Mightymite or TNT Custom guitars. They are pretty resonably priced ($130-150) and I could e-bay the old neck.
  5. Now THAT sounds like a plan! I bet, by the time you're through, you will only pay about $80 - $90 for the new neck.

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