You know that annoying habit when a bass player first hears Jaco Pastorius and suddenly wants to start playing fretless bass? Yeah, that recently happened to me -- many decades later than it should have. In addition to the newfound love of all things Jaco, I've been listening more attentively to the fretless work of Pino Paladino, Tony Franklin, and Tony Levin. There is no shortage of inspirational subsonic fretless material to be inspired.
Recently, I was interested in purchasing a brand new neck with an ebony fingerboard but a YouTube video produced by Taylor Guitars put that to rest as it detailed the abuses of African Ebony wood harvesting and poaching. I would recommend anyone looking to buy ebony for playing music to watch the video below.
Ultimately, I found a de-fretted old Fender Jazz Bass neck online rather cheaply. Like using reclaimed wood, this solution was easy on the pocketbook and the forests. It may be ugly, but I like the odd red neck. In time, if I come to grow into playing fretless bass, I plan to add a red tortoise shell pickguard to complete the look.