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Action on a Fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JessRobinson, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. JessRobinson


    Dec 29, 2004
    Fairfax, VA
    I’m fairly new to playing bass (converting after many years of playing guitar… no, I don’t use a pick) and just added a fretless bass to my small stable.

    After having my fretless cleaned up, set up and restrung with flatwounds at my local guitar shop, I find myself wondering if I should have had them lower the action a bit more. The action is fairly low along much of the neck, but when I get into the second octave (almost said 12th fret) the action is a bit higher than I prefer.

    Should I just make an adjustment at the bridge myself? A few turns with the allen wrench would do it. After all, buzzing frets are not a possibility.

    What sort of action do you fretless player prefer?

    BTW – the fretless is a late ‘80’s MIJ Fender Jazz Bass Special. (No fretlines - I’m planning to post a picture of it on the active thread I just read.)

  2. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Adjusting your action is one of the simpler changes you can do yourself, without running into any trouble (like you can with a truss rod).

    I keep mine very low...although I'm thinking of raising it a little more at the moment. If it's too low, some of the notes can get a little choked out, and you are likely to not get as much sustain. Try adjusting just one string until you can get it just how you like it, then follow suit with the others (following the radius) once you know exactly how low you want it.

    This pic shows pretty well the height of my strings off of the fingerboard at the moment. As I said, I may raise it a little just to get a little less buzzy mwah and a little more sustain. I keep the action on my B and E slightly higher than the other strings, as they'll buzz a little if they're set too low.
  3. radi8


    Feb 10, 2004
    Thanks for the Gary Willis link..this appears to be my problem.

    "If after you lower the strings, the notes only buzz in the 1st 5 frets then your neck is too straight. You'll need to loosen the truss rod."

    I put some T.I. rounds on my month-old 44-01 skyline fretless and started to experienced the above.
  4. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    But it may buzz against the neck if you set it too low. :) Nice bass BTW, I'd love to see pics!
  5. A slight shim in the neck pocked can make a big difference in the action on a fretless. A couple strips of business card at the BRIDGE side of the neck pocket is a good trick.

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