Fretless fingerboard coating?

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Scott Gray
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:35 pm

Fretless fingerboard coating?

Post by Scott Gray »

Hi All,

I just finished my first build. Thank You MIMF for input on previous posts. Overall, it looks, plays and sounds pretty good. I'm sure this has been discussed before but. I'm thinking of applying a coating on the fingerboard. Mostly for aesthetics because I like the "wet" look of the Purple Heart that I used. But also I'm hoping to get a little more bite out of the sound (I'm not sure if a coating is good, bad or indifferent for that) and mitigate the strings chewing up the fingerboard.

Any thoughts or experiences with epoxy, cyanoacrylate, 2 part marine epoxy? Or is it just best to have string meeting wood?
Finished Bass.jpg

Mark Wybierala
Posts: 469
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:14 am
Location: Central New Jersey

Re: Fretless fingerboard coating?

Post by Mark Wybierala »

All of the student level bowed instruments that we receive from China every year come with a two-part coating on their fingerboard. As they are student level (cheap) instruments, thety use a inexpensive wood (cheap) rather than ebony, The coating has a black base and a thin clear coat which actually provides a reasonable feel. Maybe someone knows what they are using for this top coat.

You might try a rub-on satin finish polyurethane but you must try it out on scrap for the feel. The satin finish will gloss up a bit as you play the instrument. I'd be concerned about the gloss becoming a bit too sticky like the gloss lacquer of a Fender neck which a lot of people don't like for this very reason -- its not that the lacquer is sticky but rather the resulting feel of a fingertip against lacquer. Linseed oil may just give you what you want if you apply it in very small or thin applications of a span of time and it can be purged from the wood with mineral spirits.

Michael Lewis
Posts: 1473
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:22 am
Location: Northern California USA

Re: Fretless fingerboard coating?

Post by Michael Lewis »

To get more bite or edge to the string response you should look to harder materials. The epoxy may be the best in this regard, and it can be refreshed in the future. Possibly the CA would work but you will have your hands full getting it on evenly, not to mention the fumes it gives off.

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