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another fretless question

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Warwickthumb, Dec 31, 2002.


  1. OK ive been speninding a long time searching through these posts to answer this questions, but i havent found the ones that would help me. Ok this is my prob. I took some spare parts and a made a Fender jazz bass. Its a fender neck that has been defretted, a new body, old pickups, and new bridge. This bass is a learning tool for me to learn set up, building, etc etc. Ok so far intonation seems great. Its the action that is not good. The distance from the fret to the string at first position is very high, and its hard to fret those notes. So i tried to make some adjustments at the bridge. Well when i got it down to the hight im used to on my fretted bass, no nots were produced becasue the string was hitting the board and deading everything. I raised up and finally got notes until the 16th fret and they buzzed badl, lastly i raised everything and its fine, but the strings are way up in the air. So i guess my question is whats is correct distance at half position between fret and string. And how would i know if i need to also adjust the truss rod. This question I know has been beaten to death. LIke isaid this is for me to learn on, if the neck snaps ahh well im out like 40 bucks anyways. Well thanks for any help.
    -JOe
     
  2. I forgot to add.... I using flat woulds for stirngs and i meant fingerboard not fret, being that it is a fretless
     
  3. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Judging from your first post, your main problem seems to be the nut. On a fretted bass, slots in the nut are not cut as low as on a fretless...in effect, when you remove the frets, you should also cut the slots deeper by the height of the frets that were there. That is why you had trouble in first few positions.

    Second, when you remove the frets, you don't need as much relief in the neck.

    So, I would suggest the following:

    - file the nut slots deeper by as much as was the height of the frets

    - adjust the truss rod until your neck is perfectly straight

    - then adjust the bridge to get the action you want

    Hope this helps
     
  4. OK ive done some adjustments to the neck and action. OK this is my first fretless so im learning more and more about it. Now is there a buzz thats associated with the fretless? LIke it adds to the tone? theres not major buzz, but just enough it seems to add something i dont, again this my first set up and fretless bass. I do know the adjustment i made by making hte neck flater helped out alot!!! I mrean the bass ounds great being that it is made of spare parts, and lets not forget its the player not the bass that sounds good. Well any extra help would be great, thanks man!
     
  5. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    That 'buzz' is what we call MWAH, and is something that many players love on a fretless. As you get more experienced with your fretless, you will learn to control the MWAH factor with your technique.
     
  6. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Good advice, Brooks.

    Warwickthumb, If you are getting the "mwah" all over the fingerboard pretty much equally, that's a very good indication of a proper setup. If you want to minimize that growl(most people like it), a very slight increase in the relief should minimize it.

    Just as Brooks said, The nut probably needs a little slot filing. Even though the truss rod may have cleared some of the buzzing up, your initial description of the prob(s) indicate a high nut.

    A method that works for me is to lay a feeler guage of the proper thickness flat on the fingerboard next to the nut and file the slots down to the feeler guage.

    Ive found that even though the setup may be good after the first time through all of the adjustments, a second time through the whole procedure usually will bring further improvements to the playability.

    It feels pretty good to turn a beater into a good playing instrument, doesn't it? :)

    Pkr2
     
  7. Hey the mwah sounds great!!! I just have associated buzz with bad set up, and now its part of the sound. Whats the string hight supposed to be at the nut? I did do some filing down, and that seemed to help but of course I dont want to go to far. Yes pkr2 it does feel great to turn a beater into a good playing insturmnt. Im used to playing a 5 string bass and now that im playingthis for the string distance is kinda wierd for me. Like i was playing teen town, and in the begign string jumping part i kinda goof on it, but i think ya kinda have an idea of why i wanted to get a fretless.
     
  8. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    The actual string heigth at the nut depends, to some extent, on how much relief is in the neck. with a reasonable amount of relief , the nut can be very close to zero clearance on a fretless. with an almost straight neck, a little more clearance will be needed.

    .020 would be a good starting place. You may find that.020 works OK. If you are going for the lowest possible action and the neck geometry is good you may be able to go as low as .005.

    Just remember that the lower the action, the lighter the touch required in playing the instrument.


    Pkr2