1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Cool fretline idea - or not?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TRU, Oct 29, 2003.

  1. TRU


    Apr 12, 2002
    Northern Europe
    I thought it would be both good looking and practical to have illuminated fretlines on a fretless. So I tried it and heres the result:

    Led off:
    <img src="http://www.talkbass.com/forum/attachment.php?s=&postid=1189050">
  2. TRU


    Apr 12, 2002
    Northern Europe
    Led on:
    <img src="http://www.talkbass.com/forum/attachment.php?s=&postid=1189055">

    The fretline is filled with epoxy and the LED is right underneath the fretline. If there only was a way to spread the light to the whole fretline...

    I remember seeing a thread about this idea some time ago, but don't seem to find it anymore.

    Cool or no?
  3. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User


    Spreading it out to the whole width would be cool as well.

  4. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    theres a prouct called "glo-wire"

    that would be ACE for bass, ill find a link soon
  5. If you could put some kind of clear plastic, like Lexan or Plexiglas or Polycarbonate in place of the epoxy, you could diffuse the light better throuhgout the fret.

    Very cool idea, it would look great on stage too, plus if the plastic idea works you would see it from the side of the neck too.

  6. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
  7. basstrader described what i do as a product design engineer quite frequently.

    its called a LIGHT PIPE. clear acrylic that spreads the LED illumination along the final acrylic shape.

    probably cheaper than the string thing.

    then, maybe not.

  8. Jim Dombrowski

    Jim Dombrowski Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Since you will supposedly be playing directly on top of this line, how will the material affect the sound? The main reason most people play fretless is because of the wonderful sound of strings on resonating directly on wood.

    Also, it's likely that the material will wear at a different rate then the fingerboard, which could also affect the tone and sustain.
  9. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    If you did an epoxy hardcoat over the whole thing, it should even out the tone and the wear characteristics.
  10. Looks cool, but I have the same concerns as expressed above.

    How does it feel?

  11. Wow, that would be really cool if you could figure out a way to get the light to spread the width of the fret board and still have it wear the same. I would definately invest in that if it was manufactured.
  12. Keech


    Oct 16, 2003
    All in your head
    As I remember, the first Alembic bass was built for Jack Casady and had red LEDs for position markers on the side of the neck. I assumed he wanted it for being able to play on darkened stages.

    Your idea is worth a shot if you could make the entire fretline glow. Otherwise, you're better off with Casady's idea. Let us know how it turns out.
  13. TRU


    Apr 12, 2002
    Northern Europe
    Thanks for the comments! :)

    Update: I tried clear polycarbonate and the result was a bit better. But not nearly enough to light the whole fret. Remember that the fretline is easily 10-20 times wider than deep. Opal shaded acrylate might be better, but it is not available in my desired thickness (1mm).

    Does anyone know what Alembic uses for those large lighted inlays?

    Anyways... I already glued the fingerboard on so I'll have to make another one if a solution turns up.
  14. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    That is really awesome! Good job. I think that it would be great to get the entire length of the space to illuminate and as mentioned earlier maybe an epoxy coat to harden the board. I'm kind of thinking this would be only a "live situation" instrument in my opinion and as long as it stayed intonated properly I would buy into it!
  15. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    I don't know what Sims uses, but they do offer lit fretlines.
  16. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Actually Thumper, there's no evidence (that I could find) at their website that they have ever done lighted fretlines. http://www.simscustom.com

    However, they do say they can do anything with LEDs, and there's a bunch of examples here.
  17. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    Craig, I didn't find lit fretlines on the site, Martin Sims mentioned it in email traffic.

    I was looking to have LEDs installed on my Elrick singlecut, but didn't want to ship to England, so I just went with glowpowder on the side dots, I have both front and side dots LEDs on my Lakland 55-94, and while they are cool, I wish they were switchable so I could have the side dots on without the face dots, but I digress.....
  18. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Thanks Thump...I was gonna say an email to Martin could confirm if they can do it. He's a very cool guy and answers emails promptly.

    It's too bad he doesn't have a setup, or a licensing agreement with a qualified luthier on this side of the pond. If I didn't have to ship my bass to the UK, I'd probably have this done to my fretless.

    Whew...there's about $750 I just saved myself on something purely cosmetic. Hmmm. Maybe I'll reward my thriftiness with a purchase that does improve my sound.

    I mean...I just saved $750...right? Right?
  19. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    Craig, they do have a guy in Nashville, but AFAIK he only does bolt-ons. They also have a neck only option, but you have to drill the body, install the battery, etc.

    It's way cheaper to buy a bass that already has LEDs installed, usually they don't increase the value much if any.

    Always nice to save $. I would never spend that kind of cash on a bass mod, unless you've had it for years and know it's a keeper. BTW, glowpowder is cheap and works.
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Mar 8, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.