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How much does action affect the mwah of a fretless?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by TDSLaBassiste, Nov 3, 2012.


  1. TDSLaBassiste

    TDSLaBassiste Bass drops and breakdowns since 2009 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Location:
    Southwest Florida
    I recently put a Badass II on my fretless and, as many of us know, this makes the action significantly higher. This bass is a neck-through so there's no shimming possibility. The saddles are as low as possible, but still about 1/8-3/16" higher than my previous bridge. How much should this height difference affect the fretless "mwah" sound? I have Trubass strings on it so it's hard to tell from experience, but I plan to put flats or rounds on soon and I want to know if I'm going to have to go back to my old bridge if I want that sound. I really would like to avoid that at all costs, though.
     
  2. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2003
    Location:
    Southern California Coast
    Fretless basses are much more sensitive regarding the setup than fretted basses. The truss rod adjustment and string height have to be finely adjusted to achieve maximum mwah and to get the notes to sing without choking.

    The overall action, in my experience, has to be just so, whereas there's a lot more leeway on a fretted bass to make it playable with decent action and no fret buzz..
     
  3. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    yeah, that sound is totally about the setup; i gotta say though, fretted basses are less forgiving in that the low setting that gives you the cool "mwah" sound on a fretless usually results in hideous rattle on a fretted.

    if the badass really is not allowing the strings to be where they should, you need to ditch it (unless you can bust out the fancy woodworking skills and recess it into the body a 1/4" or so).

    properly installed, the badass does not make the action any higher.
     
  4. TDSLaBassiste

    TDSLaBassiste Bass drops and breakdowns since 2009 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Location:
    Southwest Florida
    I'm most likely going to have to send it in for work. The badass is definitely raising the action and, without recessing into the body, will definitely raise the action. I'm going to have to get that fixed as well as actually file slots on the saddles.

    Edit: screw it, I think I'm swtiching the bridge tomorrow.
     
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  6. 1958Bassman

    1958Bassman

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    It raised the action because the slots haven't been filed yet.
     
  7. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    by 1/8" to 3/16"?

    +1 on filing notches in the slots as the critical last step, but i suspect the thing is just too fat overall.
     
  8. TDSLaBassiste

    TDSLaBassiste Bass drops and breakdowns since 2009 Supporting Member

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    Jul 8, 2011
    Location:
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    I never filed the notches and I never understood it to be super critical with a Badass, I've seen posts here about using the flat saddle. Metal strings gradually dig themselves in, anyway. But cutting the slots would not lower the action by that much anyway. Regardless, I just switched the bridge back anyway. I liked the Badass, but the smaller, Fender style bridge just fits this bass better anyway.
     
  9. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I had to raise the action on my fretless because there was too much mwah. Sounded like a drunken cow trying to sing "Call Me Maybe"!
     
  10. TDSLaBassiste

    TDSLaBassiste Bass drops and breakdowns since 2009 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Location:
    Southwest Florida
    No such thing as too much mwah! I need new strings, these Trubass are choking off that fretless sound.
     
  11. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    those notches are the whole point according to leo quan, the guy who designed it :rolleyes:

    that was the entire idea to solve the problems with bad string spacing, vague witness points and strings sliding around.

    anyway, just as well, un-notched it'll be easier to sell it or put it on something else.
     
  12. TDSLaBassiste

    TDSLaBassiste Bass drops and breakdowns since 2009 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Location:
    Southwest Florida
    Well I understand what notches in a saddle are for. But what I meant was that I've personally used the flat saddles on mine for well over a year now when I had it on my P-bass. And before I bought it, I looked on the internet (TB included) and apparently quite a few Badass users don't notch theirs. That would result in slightly higher action, but that's the only drawback I see. And action was easily remedied, on my P-bass, with a neck shim. That remedy won't work for my neckthrough.
     
  13. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    i'm only pointing out that just because you can use a badass with no string slots doesn't mean you should.

    people only run them that way because they haven't bothered to get it done properly and apparently can't tell the difference.
     
  14. TDSLaBassiste

    TDSLaBassiste Bass drops and breakdowns since 2009 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Location:
    Southwest Florida
    Alright, you win there. I honestly can't hear a difference and from things I read from other people, it's not a huge deal either way. I could be wrong, it might make a difference soundwise, but I've never had any problems (aside from the action problem) and I never saw it as absolutely necessary to get done. To each his own?
     
  15. Schlyder

    Schlyder

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2010
    Location:
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    I had an original BadAss bridge on my Elias bass... it did not have the notches at first... Not only could the strings shift if you happened to dig in, but the sharp edge of the un-notched saddles caused a few string breakages... once the saddles were notched all was good. And never had problems with string breakage after that.
     
  16. TDSLaBassiste

    TDSLaBassiste Bass drops and breakdowns since 2009 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Location:
    Southwest Florida
    I actually just filed mine the other night with a file that's meant for sharpening knife serrations. Very makeshift, but damn it all if it didn't do the job.
     

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