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Best Facings for Fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AndroWal, Apr 14, 2004.

  1. AndroWal


    Sep 28, 2003
    Ojai, CA
    Looking for opinions and facts....

    I have ordered a new fretless 6-string and want opinions and facts about the best facings to use for clarity, punch, sing and growl. My present fretless 5 has english sycamore facings and I love the sound and may use it again, but I do hope to find a wood that would give me more of what I describe.

    Thanks for your ideas.
  2. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    I would ask the experts over at Luthiers Corner. Like having a house built, you don't really don't know for sure what ya got till it's made. Hopefully, you will be satisfied. It can be an expensive let down.
  3. Opinion: Flame maple on my hollowbody fretless really seems to sing out, especially the upper mids. It seems to compound any mistakes as I play though; no forgiveness, plenty of sustain. Fairly hard hitting sound, but almost no growl.

    Just my experience.
  4. Jim Dombrowski

    Jim Dombrowski Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    My Roscoe fretless has a Spanish Cedar body with Flame Maple top and a diamondwood fingerboard. It is the best sounding fretless bass I've owned, and I've had quite a few (including an F-Bass and an MTD-535).
  5. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    My Stambaugh fretless 4 bass.
    Has Hondorus Mahogany body with birdseye maple top.
    Snakewood fingerboard.
    Bass is balanced with nice lows with bright top end.
    I thing sound has more to due with body woos and fingerboard than top.
  6. Basso Gruvitas

    Basso Gruvitas Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth TX

    I agree with Josh. A 1/4" slice of wood on the top of the bass will have a marginal effect on the overall tone of the wood. It's the whole package put together. As far as just wood is concerned, your body wood will contribute more to the sound than just the top. And as Josh said, the set up and electronics are huge too.

    My Roscoe fretless has a spanish cedar body, cocobolo top, and a diamondwood fingerboard. It hits the fretless nail on the head!!! :bassist:
  7. bassjigga


    Aug 6, 2003
    As others have stated, the body wood will have a larger effect on the tone than the top, unless it is an unusually thick top. 1/4" or less will not be very noticable. I think one of the largest contributors to fretless tone is the fingerboard material. That being said, I prefer the phenowood Zon of course. :D The diamondwoods are wonderful too as well as ebony.

  8. WarriorJoe7

    WarriorJoe7 Banned

    Mar 12, 2004
    Syracuse, NY
    If the top is thin, it won't make much difference. If it is thick it definitely will. Don't know for sure on this but thin would be anything 1/4 inch or less and thick would be 1/2 inch or more.

    Anyways, I think (keyword here) neckwood has more of an impact on the sound than body wood. You must use something hard and solid for the body of the neck which narrows your choices. But for fretted basses, as long as the fingerboard wood can hold frets adequately, the door is wide open, and that is where the biggest impact in your sound is (as far as wood goes.)

    For a fretless, like you want... be very careful about fingerboard wood... What I say next is not from experience but from what I had heard from others who play fretless.

    Do not get a maple fingerboard for fretless, it does not wear well and ends up sounding horrible.

    Typical tonewoods I have seen on fretless are ebony (this would be the closest to sounding like maple yet wear much better,) rosewood (all varieties like pau ferro, indian, brazilian, cocobolo) and a few other exotics though limited use (ironwood, snakewood, diamondwood.) I would say go either traditional rosewood or ebony and if your brave try something else but be sure it is solid and hard.

    I am not sure of this, but I wouldn't think that wenge would work for a fretless fingerboard because of the grain and the roughness. It would be interesting to try as an experiment, but only if you have money to waste.

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