5 string fretless...WHAT

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ArturoOsito, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. ArturoOsito


    Aug 21, 2012
    So i recently got a Carvin B50F 5 string fretless. I love Carvin products. I have a guitar by them and a micro bass combo, both fantastic. The bass itself was amazingly built and the pickups were fantastic.

    HOWEVER: the low B string was totally unusable. Everything from a low C to a G and all the way up the neck buzzed horribly. I raised the action as high as it could go and it was still terrible. So I sent it back to swap the neck for a fretted neck.

    The QUESTION is: is this problem simply inherent to five string fretless basses? I love the sound of fretlessness, and I'm looking into a four string, which feels like DEFEAT.

    Could y'all please chime in with thoughts on this? Does Carvin just make bad 5 string basses? Are 5-string fretlesses inherently buzzy? (I don't believe that for a second) Was there something more I could have done?? What the heck!!
  2. I have 2 5-string fretless basses - one being a 5-string electric upright - both built by me - neither behave as you describe.

    I'd have to conclude that you got a lemon. There are plenty of 5-string fretless basses out there that have perfectly functional low B strings.
  3. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    My Carvin AC-50F is really fairly awesome! I played it for the first time in years a few weeks back, and I remembered why I loved it in the first place. Plenty of Mwa, no buzzing...... If I get carried away on the open B I can get a bit of fretboard clack, but that's just my ham-fisted technique.
  4. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    Sounds like it just needed a new nut with the B string slot not cut so deep?
  5. neebs


    Oct 25, 2011
    Manteca, California
    Man that's unfortunate. Fretless is awesome.. I would've asked for a return. Or the least resistance.. strung it EADGC
  6. ArturoOsito


    Aug 21, 2012
    So maybe they messed up the nut? And I got a return but I didn't even think to try another fretless...and the low B is where it's at for me, I really have no interest in a high C...
  7. It sounds like the slow for the low B was cut too low.

    It also could be an issue of the scale. I know plenty of folks that do fine with a 34" scale. I've never found one that I could stand for very long until I got to spend some time with a Lakland with a 35". To me the difference was like night and day.
  8. JTE


    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    A low nut would cause the open string to buzz, not stopped notes. I would have checked the neck's relief and worked on the whole setup before I returned it.

  9. OK, maybe you didn't get a lemon, but I can tell you for a fact that 5-string fretless basses with great sounding B strings are everywhere.

    If the one you got was not a lemon, it was at least a good bass with something bad about it's B-string situation. It could have possibly been due to a number of things ranging from the nut slot depth to fingerboard imperfections to a fault in the string itself to the bridge saddle to...

    I called it a lemon because that's a term used to describe an instrument brand that in most cases is great - except this one. Any brand can have it's share of lemons. It doesn't mean the brand is bad - it means that a particular unit had a flaw.

    Sometimes you can get a funky string too. I'd call that a lemon as well. Again, the brand may have a fine reputation but even the best of brands has it's occasional lemon.
  10. ArturoOsito


    Aug 21, 2012
    I cranked up as much relief as I could...still nothing. I sat there for a half hour adding relief...testing it. Adding relief...testing it. All the way until I could turn the truss anymore. There was just something wrong with it...
  11. It could have had an imperfection in the fingerboard. The B-string itself could have had an imperfection.
  12. I have a Carvin B50 w/interchangeable fretted and fretless necks. It is a fretless 90% of the time.

    It's an astonishing bass and I have no buzzing problems whatsoever, and it has the factory nut. I also like my action low and this one has it in spades. Sounds like it could have maybe used used a set-up, or possibly the neck had a twist or something?

    FWIW, I also have another B50 and a B25. All Carvins, all 5 strings, all amazing.
  13. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    I have a (34") fretless 5, and the B string is great.

    I made it.

    Now I want a ham sandwich.
  14. Just traded away my Fretless stingray 5 and didnt find that it had really any amount of buzz aside from the general ballsy digging in tone that I usually get playing aggressive as I do.
  15. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    It could take hours for truss rod tweaks to take effect.
  16. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    I have 2 LB76 ( one fretted one fretless ) and I think it is a case of change of weather/humidity or the strings. Because it was shipped from California to somewhere else ... so of course it will have to settle.