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dying a fretboard white?

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so... I've seen a few guitars such as the larry graham bass pictured here, that have a white fretboard/neck.  I can't imagine it is any sort of dye, correct? 

If paint, seems like you would want to do the finish before doing any frets, but my experience with frets has been that you are almost guaranteed to nick the board at some point.  I suppose you would face this issue also if doing a refret.  So... my question was: would you finish before doing the frets? 

I know with some nitro necks they tend to finish after the frets, but even taping off the frets I don't see how you wouldn't have issues with potential chipping along the frets.

anyone have experience with this sort of finish?  what can you tell me?  Is there white dye out there that works?


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  • 6 months later...

I know this is a very old thread, but as I cruise through tonight I have some input if not too late and at worst good for future reads. The link you posted looks like it is painted. But if you want to use wood, try and find some holly (yes the bushes with the spikey leaves). Larger bushes can produce some useable lumber and it is very light in color, much lighter than maple. I’ve been told it is close to ebony in density, but can’t prove it. It will still need a finish to keep it clean.

I’ve fretted before and after finishing. I prefer to finish first if I can. Sanding and leveling is easier without the frets in the way. Some builds it is just not possible though.

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thank you kindly for the reply ihocky2.  Holly, I'll keep that in the back of my mind.  I like the idea of trying uncommon wood, but right now I am not tooled up for slotting fretboards so I am at the mercy of what i find on lmii/evilbay/allenguitar.  wow, just looked... that stuff IS really white.  and as hard as ebony?  would be perfect.  perhaps I need to cross that bridge!  plus then I could say this fretboard is hollywood!  ;)

I have recently seen that mohawk makes a nice toner called 'whitewash' and it comes in aerosol.  It is equiv of their 'blonde'.  I might give that a go at some point in lieu of moving towards slotting myself... looks like if you spray it light you can still see grain, so then I just have to navigate how to fret a finished neck, or finish a fretted neck with it.

thank you again for the reply - I do appreciate it and I think it is a fantastic suggestion!

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