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SOLD Clement 144 - fretless, ash, redwood, Nordie, Tonestyler (SOUND CLIP) (HUGE PRICE DROP).

Discussion in 'For Sale: Bass Guitars' started by MarkA, Apr 12, 2015.

  1. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    • Y

    Mixed feelings about this, but here we go.

    For your consideration, Clement Fretless 5-string #144. I am the second owner, and it's in great shape.

    Here's the link in the Clement gallery: Gallery | Tom Clement Instruments
    • 34" scale, 19mm string spacing at the bridge, 1-7/8" nut (same spacing at the nut as my Fender Jazz neck -- makes going back and forth easy).
    • "Jon" body style
    • Lightweight (and I believe chambered) swamp ash body
    • Beautiful redwood top
    • accent layer (ebony?) in-between
    • Lightweight (about 8 pounds -- will check when I have a chance) and perfectly balanced.
    • Nordstrand dual-coil pickup in (near as I can tell) 60s jazz position
    • Spiffy custom knobs
    • Push-pull volume pot switches the Nordie pickup between series and parallel modes
    • 16-position, passive Stellartone Tonestyler (review by Ed Friedland) tone control preserves mids and provides a nice, moveable resonant peak as you roll down treble. Works amazingly well in a live mix. (Tonestyler doesn't make the 16-position model anymore, far as I know.)
    • SEVEN PIECE neck (maple, wenge, and, *I think* mahogany or saepele -- not sure about the last) w/asymmetrical neck profile. The fingerboard is actually 25 positions (one bonus note past the 2nd octave) with full access all the way up (thank you, Tom!).
    • Ebony fingerboard
    • Hipshot tuners and A-style bridge (set at 19mm, but adjustable from about 18.5 mm to a little over 19mm).
    This bass has a Jaco-but-bigger tone (no, it won't make you play like Jaco, but that's the first, ready description that came to mind). Super-responsive to hand placement and technique. In a live mix, it's wonderful. Sits great - easy to go from warm, supportive, organ-like tones to burpy funk to a cutting solo tone all with the right hand. The B-string is taut, clear, and responsive -- significantly better, in my opinion, than on two, USA-made Stingray fivers that I've played recently. It's light, balances perfectly on a strap (I angle my basses up around 40 degrees -- I can take my hands off this one and it stays there), and, overall, is probably the most ergonomically sound bass I've owned. It just sits really well, seated or standing, with a more comfortable reach than my beloved Fender.

    The truss-rod works smoothly, and a little change in relief can really dial-in how "mwah-y" the bass is. I have it set so that I can get the mwah when I want it, and leave it when I don't, but you can dial it in for "all mwah, all the time" if you like.

    The spacing at the 1-7/8" nut is almost exactly the same, string-to-string, as on my 4-string Fender Jazz neck, and I've found that that makes switching back and forth quicker and easier -- for me, anyway. I had a fretless, five-string Carvin Icon that I sold before this with a 1-3/4" nut. That 1/8" might not sound like much, but I always needed a couple of minutes to adapt and really feel at home when switching between it and my Fender. Not so with this.

    The bass arrived with Labella tapes. I experimented with those and with D'Addario tapes. I liked things about each, but I've settled on using GHS Precision Flats. They still have a nice, growly midrange, surprisingly good harmonics, and a nice thump and resistance for fast finger-funk playing. They even slap well.

    About the "chambering": Tom Clement didn't mention that the bass was chambered on his site, but they way it sounds, combined with the scientific "tap-on-it-like-a-melon" test seems to indicate a small chamber or two under the top. Luthier Andrew Drake, who looked at the bass, thinks that it is, too. In any case, it's beautifully resonant, plugged or unplugged, warm and articulate at the same time. I think that it's lightly chambered, but can't promise that it is. If it's not, it's a light and resonant piece of ash!

    • The bridge has been moved back slightly in order to be able to intonate the B- string properly without shoving the saddle all the way back. The work was done by luthier Andrew Drake, whose clean work many of you will recognize from build threads in the Luthier's Corner forum here. The holes were filled and, as you can see in the photos, nothing shows. There were no ill effects of the move tonally -- if anything, the bass became slightly more focused and responsive.
    • The neck has a very thin shim, again done by Andrew Drake. Again, it's not visible. The net effect of Andrew's work was to take an already easily playable bass and dial it in further.
    • I tried my best to photograph some micro-dings in a small area of the Redwood top (treble side, right at the end of the fingerboard). You have to look in good light at a certain angle to see them.
    • One of the tiny set screws to adjust the action in the G-string saddle of the Hipshot bridge isn't turning freely past a certain point. Not sure if it was cross-threaded sometime. The action's where I like it, but I'll contact Hipshot for a replacement saddle.
    That's everything I can think of! The bass will ship in a back-packable Protec semi-hard case that holds it securely. The case is minty and still has the hang tags on it (I've carried the Clement in my Mono double bag, so I've literally never used the case).

    $1600 OBO. PRICE DROP: $1475. $1457. $1400. $1350

    $1200 SHIPPED, CONUS

    Price is shipped and insured, CONUS, and I pack for zombie-attacks and disgruntled handlers.

    Any questions about the bass itself, feel free to ask in the thread. Any offers or things of that sort, please PM me.

    More pics of the bass follow. I'll take pics of the case and post them as well, before too long.

    Thanks for looking!
    Last edited: May 25, 2015
  2. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Invisible shim.

    This is the area I was talking about, above. You have to look really closely.

    Comfy cutaway.

  3. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Price drop bump.
  4. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Got a request for some clips, so I recorded a couple of quick-and-dirty ones last night -- hadn't played it (or any fretless) in a bit, so apologies for the intonation.

    One thing I like about this bass, and was reminded of last night, is that the B-string is useable way up past the 12th fret -- none of those funny, warbly, misaligned overtones that you hear too often. In the first clip, some stuff that you wouldn't think is played on the B and E strings is, way up in position.

    Having some second thoughts after playing it again... maybe I can devote some time to five-string fretless. We'll see. Meanwhile, here are the clips.

    Bass-->Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 interface-->Garage Band. No EQ, compression, or effects of any kind in either clip.

    Starts in series mode, with the Tonestyler wide-open (bypassed). Parallel around 1:20. At 1:38, I play a little riff (still in parallel mode) with the Tonestyler wide open, then roll it off a bit a couple of times.

    Simple loop with two chords, then the same riff starting open and rolling down to bottom, then coming back up. Played open, then one click down, then two, then every other click going down. Pretty much the reverse coming back up. Pretty sure the chords in the background are parallel mode while the riff is in series mode.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2015
  5. mking


    Oct 12, 2009
    Bend, OR
    Beauty! Are there any dots or markers on the side of the finger board?
  6. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    that's neat.
  7. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Thanks, and, yep, white dots at positions 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, 17, 19, 21, and 24. Dots are on rather than in-between the positions, which is how I think it should be on a fretless.

    tjclem likes this.
  8. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Partial-inversion price drop: Was $1475, now $1457, OBO, shipped and insured, CONUS. Save $81!* :rolleyes:

    *Actually $18.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
  9. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Total-inversion price drop: Was $1457, now $7541. That's a savings of more than 6000 Bizzarodollars (B$)! Come and get it!
    Obese Chess likes this.
  10. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    You know, I was sure someone was gonna bite at the Bizzaro World price drop.

    $1400, shipped CONUS, and holding.
  11. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Here are the promised photos of the case and a couple of the side dots, etc. Case has a huge outer pocket and a very cool and spacious inner storage compartment. Easily hauls more than either of my Mono bags (Vertigo and double).

    Inner storage compartment and misc. goodies.


    The case has a really cool and effective system for holding this bass (or any "nonstandard" shaped basses) snugly in place. The four wedges/crescents around the body are tall enough to press firmly into the padded top when the case is closed. Put them where you want them, then bring the lid down and zip shut. Bass stays put. (I made light pencil marks at the 12th, 17th, and 24th positions when intonating the bass. Erased since.)

    Pockets within pockets.

    Hang tags still on the largely-unused case.
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  12. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Get up, you!
  13. bassvi


    Jul 12, 2005

    I'm in Iowa and looking for a great fretless... wherabouts are you?
  14. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
  15. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Located the LaBella tapes that were on this bass. Will throw those in with it.
  16. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    ...and located the D'Addario tapes. (They were hiding in the GHS envelopes.) Barely used those -- they might have an hour or two on them. Will throw those in as well.
  17. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Your mom called (apparently, you never do) and said you could make up for Mother's Day by getting her this sweet fretless for $1350, shipped, CONUS.
    cubanbass likes this.
  18. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Some updates:

    I found some small indentations on the bottom corner of the treble side horn (the part that points to the floor when you play) that I wasn't aware of before. Did my best to photograph them here:

    Also tried to get a better photo of the (even smaller) indentations that I mentioned in the original post. Had to get the angle just right, but here they are:

    Finally, I asked Tom Clement whether or not the bass was chambered. He said that his records don't show that the bass is chambered. The original owner told me, when I got the bass, that he'd requested a light, resonant piece of swamp ash. He definitely got it -- this bass is super-comfortable to play and sings unplugged.

    I've done my best to document every little bump on the bass. I think it's a looker in great shape, but you can decide that for yourself. The truss rod is butter and it sets up and plays great.

    I might kick myself for it (I am, a bit, already) but I'm dropping the price to $1200, FIRM, shipped CONUS. That's a grand less than it would cost Tom to build this bass today, not counting the shipping cost, and a nice chunk less than I have in it. And there is no wait on this one. Oh, yeah, I'll still throw in the D'Addario and LaBella tapes I mentioned earlier.

    I reserve the right to pull this at any time. Get it while the getting's good.
    Last edited: May 25, 2015
  19. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Deal pending.
  20. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    On its way, in a big brown box, on a big brown truck. May its new owner, as someone once said to me, make a joyful noise with it.

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