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Club Fbass (thread 13)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tom7, Apr 13, 2014.

  1. bass08053


    May 8, 2008
    New Jersey
    Thanks guys. Really appreciate the input. It helps to have this community of players with the actual gear.
  2. Congratulations! I can't wait to start seeing your progress pictures appear here.

    Good you're onboard with the BNF now. I don't recall if it was you or another FBass Club member, but it was mentioned 2018 will be the last year for the BNF series. I don't know if that just means an interested buyer would order a BN Series with a fretless option.
    bass08053 likes this.
  3. bass08053


    May 8, 2008
    New Jersey
    Thank you! It was another member. But, it is confirmed to be the last year you can order a BNF Model as they need the Gabon for AC models and don’t make enough BNFs to make it work. It will be a BN5F after this year. 22 fret like a regular BN. Anything else would be a special order at a higher price from what I understand from Marcel.
    TolerancEJ likes this.
  4. Ah, that makes sense to me. The new AC6 price is astronomical for me. The only way I'll acquire an AC6 will be a used one. It's on my wishlist for sure.

    Thinking about this again for a moment, I must be one of the last to get a BNF6 with Gabon Ebony neck but it's going onto a VF6-PJ body.

    Actually when I first contacted Marcel for my build, I was asking for him to suggest something different to make the bass even more unique. He insisted on Gabon Ebony so I went with it.
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
    bass08053 likes this.
  5. Gnal


    Apr 22, 2014
    Congrats! I'm sure it will be a beast!
    bass08053 likes this.
  6. Tom7

    Tom7 I'm so bright, my mom called me son! ;-)

    Jan 31, 2000
    Eagle River, Alaska
    My first fretless bass was a 1978 Fender Jazz bass that I filed the frets down on. You can guess who inspired that. In time, I bought a fretless Yamaha John Patitucci signature model 6-string bass, and had it professionally made into a lined fretless bass. I *loved* that bass!

    But as I got used to my BN6 and BN5, I couldn't bear to play my other basses. They all felt like they were neck diving to me, especially my two 6-string Yamahas.

    After conversations with George, I bought my first AC6, and it had no fret lines. When it arrived, I was so glad I did; I *loved* the look of my naked ebony fingerboard!


    After a couple of weeks, I started to wonder how I was going to tell my wife that I had just made a terribly expensive mistake.

    Before I bought that AC6, I really did think I'd catch on to lineless quickly and that it would not be a problem. But even after hours of practice, I was just not playing in tune consistently, particularly in live settings.

    As I thought it through, I began to realize that I have always been relying primarily on my EYES to get it right, instead of my ears and muscle memory.

    Here is how I turned it around.

    --1 --
    First, I stopped practicing with my unlined fretless bass on its own, and only practiced by playing along with recordings.

    For a while I tried practicing with a high end tuner, but that actually discouraged me more. Then I realized that as a vocalist, I automatically sing in tune when I'm blending my voice with music. I've got the ears for it.

    So if my ears had a point of reference, a backing track, an MP3, whatever, then my hands would learn to make the micro adjustments to be in tune, just as my vocal cords had learned.

    Practicing always with music, I my ears and hands learned to auto-adjust my playing pitch without so much conscience thought from me, so again, I primarily practiced along with a music track from then on.

    -- 2 --
    Second, I began to only play basses that were the same scale length.

    I've owned basses that were 34 inches in scale length, 34.5 inches in scale length, and 35 inches in scale length. Moving between them wasn't really a problem for me, but then again they were fretted basses. When I knew I'd be playing fretless more, I committed myself to my 34.5" scale length basses, that way even my fretted playing was helping me stay precise when I picked up a fretless.

    -- 3 --
    Third, I usually play a fretted bass on songs when I do vocals on a song.

    Whether I'm singing lead or backing vocals, there is just too much processing involved for my mind to autotune my vocals and my bass playing as I play a fretless, so I don't do it.

    So long as the string spacing and scale length are the same, I actually think it is a very good thing for a bassist to go back and forth between basses on a gig or in practice. First, I believe in using the right tool for the job, but second, I think being quickly adaptive helps with playing in tune on a fretless as well.

    -- 4 --
    Fourth, if I'm sight reading sheet music, I do it on a fretted bass. When I'm more familiar the the song, then I switch to fretless.

    Confidence is a big part of doing anything, and when it comes to reading music, I like the "training wheels" of frets first to keep me from being too critical about myself. Heaven knows I'll screw up the song enough sight reading on a fretted anyway, I don't need to be kicking myself more about how out of tune I am.

    -- 5 --
    Fifth, what you don't use, you lose, so I try to find a reason to play my fretless frequently, so I won't suck so badly when I HAVE to play it.

    Anyway, there is probably more I did, but that's what comes to mind right now.

    In time, I enjoyed playing an unlined fretless so much that I got another AC6, one configured primarily for its excellent acoustic bass tone (see below).

    I'm so glad I figured out how to practice better, because playing those basses is a real joy.

    In short: I recommend UNLINED fretless basses, and to help you feel like you've not made a mistake, pass along what I learned on my journey to enjoy my AC6s. :)

  7. bass08053


    May 8, 2008
    New Jersey
    Tom, thank you for that very detailed response based on your experience. That really helps. And I always like seeing your collection. Always a drool fest over here.

    Those are great tips and making me think I should email Marcel to switch it up. I’ve been playing a BN5 for 16 years and it’s an extension of me. I think I’m up for the challenge and want my ebony fretboard leaving little to the imagination of gawking audience members.

    P.S. I have had a trbjp1 since I was 15. Great bass I thought of defretting once. I’ll leave it to F Bass for my fretless needs.
    wthompson007, Tom7 and TolerancEJ like this.
  8. pbass6811

    pbass6811 Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2008
    Indy, IN
    @Tom7 -That is a super convincing argument for unlined fretless! I love the look, and it would feel like such an accomplishment to be able to play an unlined fretless bass well enough to gig with it, I just don't know...I've gigged fretless bass before, but it at least had the lines. I'm sure I've got a bit of time to change my mind, but this is weighing on me. The thing is, if I get it unlined, and I can't get it done, I won't be able to get another BNF.

    Decisions. Decisions.
  9. bass08053


    May 8, 2008
    New Jersey
    It’s weighing on me like the world is depending on my final decision. Since you placed your order, I really wouldn’t wait too long. I want to have an answer for Marcel tomorrow because our basses will get started even though we still have quite a wait for the finished product. Let me know what you end up doing.
  10. Tom7

    Tom7 I'm so bright, my mom called me son! ;-)

    Jan 31, 2000
    Eagle River, Alaska
    BTW, I don't actually ever use that really long thumb rest... I opted for it because I thought it looked cool. :)

  11. Tom7

    Tom7 I'm so bright, my mom called me son! ;-)

    Jan 31, 2000
    Eagle River, Alaska
    I should have made it clearer, but the reason I decided to take the trouble to write all that was so that you guys would know what the transition to unlined fretless was like for me, BEFORE you made your decision.

    I didn't want you guys thinking unlined fretless was tough to do. It was only tough for me because I was practicing wrong. Once I made those adjustments, it was super fun.

    Also, I didn't want you guys to buy basses with no lines, and then when the bass arrived doubt the decision you made, or doubt your ability to make the adjustment.

    Jaco had lines on his fingerboard. I don't ever remember thinking he was less of a player for it. I don't think other bassists would think less of me if my basses had lines as well.

    And as for the crowd, the majority of the people we play to don't know what frets, fret lines, or no lines even do, so it's not like we should make a decision to impress them.

    Make the decision that feels right for you.

    And then when you get your bass, don't second guess it. Whichever way you go, things will be just fine. I know, because that was my journey too.
  12. pbass6811

    pbass6811 Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2008
    Indy, IN
    That is the most solid advice I could ask for. Thanks!

    You are a righteous dude...:thumbsup:

    edit: The deed is done. The decision was made. The email was sent.

    We are going UNLINED...Lord help me. LOL!
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
    wthompson007, Tom7, mngnt and 2 others like this.
  13. bass08053


    May 8, 2008
    New Jersey
    Marcel sent back my confirmation as well. We are all in this together! Unlined life!
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  14. wthompson007


    Jul 14, 2017
    That's great advice Tom. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with us all.
    I talked to Marcel on Monday about an AC5. Let's just say I'll have to pinch some pennies for a while to pull that off. I also was thinking of fret lines or even a fretted AC5.
    My problem with fretless, especially unlined, is that I'm so active on stage (like an older, slower Prince). At my age I'm kinda worried that by the time I could pull off my stage moves while staying in tune, no one would want to hire me. I'd also feel kinda stupid dancing around the house while practising.
    Not really sure what to do even after reading your sage advice. Thanks for giving me something to think over.
    TolerancEJ likes this.
  15. Tom7

    Tom7 I'm so bright, my mom called me son! ;-)

    Jan 31, 2000
    Eagle River, Alaska
    I'm very lively on stage as well, although I am much less so when I'm playing a fretless. It works out, though, because almost always, the songs I play fretless on are ballads anyway.
    wthompson007 and TolerancEJ like this.
  16. Panther


    Dec 9, 2004
    Nova Scotia
    I'm too too old to use 'amaze-balls' as a word...but that white ones is amaze-balls
  17. wthompson007


    Jul 14, 2017
    You might also like this one that is being finished up. This spalted maple top was bleached ten times to make it look this white. 20180514_141026. or this trans white BN. Just gorgeous! 20180514_140902.
    basses55, funkydanbass, Tom7 and 8 others like this.
  18. FingerDub

    FingerDub Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2016
    That bleached spalt is truly stunning.
    bassomane, Tom7 and wthompson007 like this.
  19. wthompson007


    Jul 14, 2017
    They really know how to put a stunning finish on an amazing sounding bass!
    FingerDub likes this.
  20. Wow! If the Spalted Maple one was stained just right and added a gloss, you might get a marble-looking effect like this Jens Ritter creation.

    Ritter Roya Nr. 0608
    wthompson007 likes this.

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