Fretless Bass neck coating

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by fumblefinger, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. fumblefinger

    fumblefinger Senior Member

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    Anyone have a recommendation on an abrasion coating for a fretless bass fret board? I've heard CA and epoxy. Anything else someone has tried?

    Yes, I told him to quit using roundwounds...
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
  2. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    I've used epoxy with decent results. I love rounds on a fretless, don't be hatin'! :)
     
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  3. D Rhinehart

    D Rhinehart Senior Member

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    I wonder if a 50 50 mix of poly and mineral spirits would work built up in mutiple coats knocked down then buffed ? easy to do and in multiple thin coats you should be able to keep a good control of the radius :wave:
     
  4. fumblefinger

    fumblefinger Senior Member

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    Epoxy seems to be a consistent theme.
    I had one noted luthier tell me that the poly thing just wouldn't hold up very long. I've wondered about 2K? I don't know if it's really any harder than normal poly, but you wouldn't have to wait as long for it to harden.
    A friend/luthier insists CA works well. A little tricky to apply.

    It sounds like no matter what the material it's a royal PITA. Re-tape after each coat. Hope it doesn't sneak under the tape. Scrape the edge flat after each coat. Sand contour every two or three coats. Use at least half a dozen coats. After final sand, go through the compounds to buff it out.

    I'm pretty sure this customer doesn't have the cash for that much labor.
     
  5. Open_Book

    Open_Book Senior Member

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    Look into Jaco Pastorius' bass. IIRC he used a Marine Grade boat Varnish.

    Actually Pedulla were one company using something on their Fretless basses - you could email and ask what product it is - bottom of the page:

    http://www.pedulla.com/html/mvp_buzz.html
     
  6. LtDave32

    LtDave32 Sua Sponte Super Mod Premium Member

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    What I had read is that Paco used a marine epoxy, which is incredibly tough.

    But still, there was wear.

    The thing that worked well on a fretless bass that I did for a guy was to make the FB out of very hard wood, in this case wenge, and use semi-flat wounds for strings. They don't tear up the board as much as full round wounds. One of course loses a bit of highs when going from frets to fretless, but gains back a portion of them by using semi-rounds.
     
  7. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    I've used CA. Yes...tricky to apply. I've also used West System epoxy and that's OK....but the best thing hands down was polyester clear coat. Way tougher and longer wearing than anything else I've used.
     
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  8. WhiteEpiLP

    WhiteEpiLP Senior Member

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    Put an ebony board on it. Now i know thats probably not an option but my buddy has a fretless Godin with an ebony board with no wear yet after a few years. He uses flatwounds on that one though so that helps.
    I'd second that polyester resin is stupid tough, just dont get it anywhere you dont want it.
     
  9. fumblefinger

    fumblefinger Senior Member

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    How many coats did you shoot Freddy? And what brand did you use, please?

    For sure, this customer can't afford a new fret board. I'm sure his inquiry is to find some way to stop the wear and still keep it playable at the lowest cost.

    Any thoughts on the longevity of some 2K?
     
  10. geoffstgermaine

    geoffstgermaine Senior Member

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    I've used West System 105 epoxy and System 3 Mirror coat. They're certainly a pain to apply with the long cure times. Generally most people will build a dam around the fretboard to do this (I did) I've seen people have issues where there was a small leak in the dam that was not apparent until after the person had determined things were good and left the epoxy to cure unsupervised. This resulted in a great mess.

    A polyester that you could spray would certainly be an excellent way to go for this.
     
  11. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    3 coats of Simtec polyester....way tougher than 2k
     
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