So on a high end guitar a bound fretboard and concealed fret tangs would be expected. I am finding that not to be true with basses. In fact even $15K Alembics seem to have unbound and exposed fret ends. There must be some functional purpose for this. Any thoughts?
I would respectfully disagree that high end guitars have bound fretboards. Some do, some don’t. And many less expensive instruments sport bound fretboards. IMHO it is more of a cosmetic than functional choice. When properly set up, an unbound fretboard will be just as smooth to the touch as a bound one. And Alembic guitars, as well as basses, have unbound fretboards. From a luthier’s point of view, an unbound fretboard is a little easier to re-fret.