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Which fretless: Warmoth or Spector?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tash, Nov 6, 2005.

  1. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    A while back I planned to build a fretless warmoth. I still want to, I've got the money budgeted, but since buying my Spector Euro 4 I'm getting pulled in the direction of another Spector. Simply put I love this bass. It sounds awesome, plays awesome and is incredibly comfortable. I would love to get a fretless version of my Euro 4, but there's a catch.

    Spectors can't be had with Ebony fingerboards. I can live with rosewood on my Spector, but the thought of a fretless without ebony or some other super hard wood scares me. I don't want to have to switch to flats and I'd rather have the super smooth feel of ebony under my fingers if I'm playing fretless.

    So...any suggestions? I looked into getting a USA Spector as well, but those don't have ebony either, they have Pauo Ferro. I'm not familliar with this wood, anyone know what it feels like. Also do any other spector owners things the USA basses are worth the price, which is almost double a Euro NT.

  2. Groundloop


    Jun 21, 2005
    In general, pau ferro is a little harder than rosewood, but not as hard as ebony. If you decide on the Spector you might want to try treating the fingerboard with polymerized tung oil to harden the surface of the wood (easily do-able by you, and easily reversed) or go all out and get the board coated in epoxy resin (best left to an expert and hard to reverse).

    Years ago there was an article in Bass Player about the pros and cons of various fingerboard woods/treatments and coatings, but it doesn't seem to be on their site anymore. Maybe a fellow TB'er has the back issue and can scan it for you.
  3. kovachian


    Nov 5, 2005
    Pau Ferro is actually a species of Rosewood. It's called Bolivian Rosewood. I wouldn't use that for fretless.
  4. Sorry to hijack your thread but is it safe to play with roundwounds on a fretless ebony fretboard? Will it leave marks?
  5. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I bewlieve ernie ball musicman basses use pau ferro on their fretlesses.
  6. Groundloop


    Jun 21, 2005
    Pau Ferro is not a member of the rosewood family.

    From Luthier's Mercantile: "Pau Ferro (Machaerium villosum or schleroxylon), also known as Morado, Santos Rosewood, or Bolivian Rosewood is not a true Rosewood"

    From Ken Smith: "Pau Ferro, Bolivian Rosewood, Iron Wood, Jacaranda Pardo, Caviuna, Santos Rosewood
    Note: Morado & Pau Ferro are trade names for the same wood. Iron Wood in Latin translates to 'Pau Ferro'. Morado is not a true Rosewood. Rosewoods are in the 'Dalbergia' Family."

    In my opinion, Rosewood, Pau Ferro and Ebony are all appropriate for a fretless bass fingerboard. Your choice would depend on the tone your looking for. In general, Ebony being brightest, rosewood warmest.

    Bassbmx. Yes, it's safe to use rounds on ebony, and yes it will leave marks. Flats leave marks on ebony (it just takes longer). Use the strings you want, on the wood you want. If your choice means you have to get your fretboard dressed every year, that's just part of the cost of ownership.
  7. cetera


    Apr 29, 2004
    Surrey, England
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses & Cort Basses
    There's nothing wrong with Pau Ferro for fretless. And if you are lovingthe Spector then continue the love affair! :bassist:

    If you really MUST have an ebony board you might want to try requesting Stuart Spector has a Euro fretless with ebony board built for you specially. It shouldn't cost much more and the Spector crew will do their damnedest to help you! :)
  8. Spector_Ray


    Aug 8, 2004

    Ditto! I never like hearing that a bass "can't" be had without, etc. The Spector crew does an amazing job of catering to the wishes of customers. Contact PJ Rubal at spectorbass.com. I'm sure he'll steer you in the right direction. Congrats on the Spector!
  9. I can speak for the quality of Warmoth. I just finished building a fretless J that I'm absolutely loving. I did mine for about $1300, but its got a lot of additional things to it (lined fretless, abalone inlays, 24-fret extended baord). I was looking last night at doing a '51 P in very traditional style, and the price was sitting right around $1100 for everything. I'd say they're worth it. It gives you a chance to be able to say "What are all the qualities I'd like an instrument to have, and what do I want it NOT to have?" Great bunch of guys too, they'll steer you in the right direction if you go their way.
  10. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    I say Warmoth. Besides having an ebony board, you can make a bass that actually looks good with Warmoth parts. I don't fancy Spector's look.
  11. earlc


    May 23, 2004
    Northern Virginia
    ...and the Moses CF neck fits in nicely. Built up a Koa body and a Moses Jazz neck with Bart internals and pups for less than $1100. Sounds and plays great, and you get say "yeah, I did that" :D
  12. ebladeboi123


    Jul 11, 2005
    Oberlin, Oh
    Warmoth for sure. I just finished up my JJ Dinky carve top. And wow! I did it all for around 1500-1600, but I went with Nordstrand electronics, Carved top body, Dye finish, AAA Birdseye maple neck, Ebony Fretboard (they seemd to make a BUNCHA these after I did it... bastards...), Stainless steal frets (totally worth the 25 bucks), ABM bridge, you get the point....

    But the tone is phenomial, it was bad at 1st, with a pair of Fat beams, but i threw a pair of Bootzillas on it (Had to buy them, they had Bootsy on them!), and the bass has been brought to life, slapping machine. Sorta contrasts what my basses were supposed to accomplish. The modulus was supposed to be my slap machine, but now I'm gettin that real chill r&bish type tone outta it (really dig it, real marvin gayeesque), and the Bootsy slap tone (gotta love it) from my jazz.

    Either way you'll be happy, but for me warmoth is the way to go (possibly with the moses neck, the warmoth neck is rather fat, took me a long time to get used to it, and it's really hard to switch from my Warmoth (big neck) to modulus (real thiin neck)).
  13. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Thanks for all the input. I'm checking the price of a custom Spector now. I'd spec'ed out a warmoth for around $1200 with all the parts. I will likely still end up going that route, simply because a custom Spector HAS to cost more than that, but we'll see.
  14. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Update: Ebony is a $250 (list) option for either Euro or USA neckthroughs. Time to get some quotes.