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Breedlove Fretless Fretboard Problems

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bswag, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. bswag

    bswag Guest

    Dec 21, 2013
    :help: Wondering if any other owners of the Breedlove Atlas Solo BJ350/CMe4 Fretless Bass have had similar (or any) fretboard issues...

    I got mine first week in Dec. '13 at the Madison Guitar Center (shipped from the GC Kansas City warehouse). As I haven't played a bass for a year or so, and as this beast is a bit more substantial than the Squier VM's I had previously, my fingers have had a big adjustment to make. OK, I'm fine with that.
    But after a few weeks (and an email exchange w/Breedlove to get their standard set-up specs for this bass), I found I had a few BAD buzzes at certain places- not the GOOD buzzes we want from a fretless ("mwah" & all that), but a tinny, crappy buzz with a dead note for company. The worst offender being the octave on the G string. Closer examination shows that what I take to be the "grain" of the rosewood is actually "open," like the grain isn't filled; you can feel the little canyons with your fingernail. And a cluster of them just happen to reside at the octave on the G (and extend about a 1/4-tone up), where, in combination with the smaller diameter of that string, they give me a buzzy dying splat. :bawl:

    So I emailed Breedlove, and then sent them the best pictures I could manage from my MacBook; they've asked me to send the bass to Bend for evaluation and treatment. Which I'll do, as soon as I can find a box suitable (the shipping box it came in stayed at GC, natch, and they don't have anything that size), and figure out how to get the whole megillah to a UPS-friendly locale. And, oh yeah, how to pay the estimated $85-100-or-more Washingtons required. Breedlove has kindly offered to split the shipping costs w/me on the flip side. And the non-stop -15ish weather isn't much help since I gots to do all this by foot (no car). Well, I'll deal with all that (won't I?), and I trust that (a) Breedlove figures from my words and pics that I have a problem worth going to all this trouble for, and (b) they're going to make it all better. But (in case by now you're wondering!) I wouldn't object to a little, um, reassurance? Words of wisdom? Experience?

    Thus I ask, have any of you Breedlove fretless owners out there had any fretboard problems? If so, with what solution?
    Any and all advice, abuse, consolation, or condemnation will be appreciated. :confused:
  2. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    I've had no physical problems with mine but the 12th fret G has always been dead.
  3. bswag

    bswag Guest

    Dec 21, 2013
    Interesting! In fact, the same G played further up on the D string is pretty dead too.

    Meanwhile, since I can't find a damn box to ship it in at any price (I mean, the custom-box place can't even make me one the right length), and Breedlove can't send me one even if I pay for it, well, I'm sorta stuck till the Box Gods smile again.

    I would be curious to know how you'd describe the, er, "texture" of your fingerboard? I'd post some pics, but they're only on my Mac or my Yahoo acct., and I'm not sure it's wise (or even possible) to put a link to that.

    Appreciate the reply!
  4. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    It would be cheaper and faster to have the bass evaluated by a trusted local luthier and, if necessary, to have the fingerboard leveled. Depending on cause of the problem (based on the luthier's professional evaluation) you might even get Breedlove to pay some or all of the repair costs since it will be cheaper than shipping the bass back and forth.
  5. bswag

    bswag Guest

    Dec 21, 2013
    Well, that sounds good, but (1) I don't have a "trusted"- or, for that matter, any, local luthier(s) to examine it, and (2) the only thing Breedlove has offered to do is split the shipping costs when all is said and done and done did been dood. They didn't respond to my pitiful bleatings re: is there anything I can do short of shipping it cross-country.
    And all that is consistent with their warranty, so there's not much I can do about it now except wait for a suitable box to become available. And what I'm doing, which is to give the board a dab of mineral oil (which it consumed quite greedily), and I'll be trying some different strings when they arrive- neither of these actions will trouble the warranty, assuming I haven't forgotten how to read...
    Like a lotsa places, I suppose, Madison has plenty of places who can work (or, in some cases, "work") on electric instruments; but trustworthy repair for acoustic instruments isn't really an option, despite all the stores that sell 'em. And as I read it, having a non-factory-authorized repair-person f- with my bass would void the warranty. (Ever have one of those situations where nothing seems to work?)
    But thanks for the advice, which actually I'd take if not for the above-mentioned poot!
    And, in the immortal words of Stan Lee- "'Nuff said!"
  6. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    To be fair, you don't need anyone to work on the bass and void the warranty; you need someone to diagnose the problem and its root cause, then recommend what they would do to fix it and how much they would charge. You then communicate this information to Breedlove and see what they are willing to do.

    There are some very reputable shops in the Madison/Milwaukee area, Lane's Lutherie (authorized Martin service center) and Jim's Guitar Repair in Milwaukee being two of them.
  7. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Check with Guitar Center they may have some extra boxes laying around and most UPS stores have boxes big enough for guitars.
  8. bswag

    bswag Guest

    Dec 21, 2013
    Thanks for the additional replies, guys. But you see...
    testing1two, I scoured the Interwebs for repair/luthier options here, and while I found Lane's, their site gives no info on repair. Maybe (when I feel more copasetic) I'll try calling them. Since I'm a foot-or-bus guy (no car), out-of-town is not an option.
    mjac28, GC was the first place I tried (also where I bought the beast). They gots no boxes currently. I may call them and see if they'll hold one for me if they ever do get one.
    Speaking of which, I notice on the Breedlove site that the Atlas series (incl. my bass) has moved to "Instrument Archive," which I gather means "no longer made." I also note that they're not producing a fretless-type bass in any of their current lines. Wonder why...
    testing1two, your point re: diagnosis is well taken, and if I can find an accessible and knowledgable person I'll give it a try. Hell, if I do and if they could fix it for less than a trip to Bend... Well, I guess I'd check with Breedlove first, as you suggest.
    [However, the Latent Grammar Nazi hereabouts must warn you about misuse of the apostrophe in "its."]
    [With HIS grammar, HE should talk!?! - Ed.]
  9. Mennolineum


    Nov 12, 2013
    I'd cut up some boxes, put some bubblewrap around the bass, then tape all those pieces over your bass:) Maybe even 2 layers... Oh, and even more tape.. If you are feeling adventurous you could try the reperation your self? Fill it up with some woodfiller, Let it dry, sand the remains and be Done with it.. good luck
  10. bswag

    bswag Guest

    Dec 21, 2013
    Mennolineum- Er, no! I'm feeling like I'm not wanting to do anything to void my warranty, and I'm thinking (even while playing!) that wrapping my bass like I wrap Xmas gifts (semi-legendary in the family) is not ideal for shipping.
    For what it's worth, my application of mineral oil seems to have eliminated 98% of the bad buzzies. At least for now. So I think I'll keep trolling for a real shipping box, and try other non-warranty-destructive ideas, should I have any. But, thanks anyway!