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Dead Sustain on Fretless - Please Help

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Groover, Aug 15, 2005.


  1. Groover

    Groover

    Jun 28, 2005
    Ohio, USA
    I have a cheap-o GTX 4 string bass with rosewood fretboard which I've recently converted to a fretless.

    The fretboard is bare, just oiled, and I'm debating if I should epoxy it at this point (maybe that's the source of the problem).

    I'm using RotoSound Flatwounds (I think #66).

    The action may be set a little too high at this point. I still need to lower the nut slots to accomodate the missing frets.

    Sustain is basically close to none at this point. Notes don't hold for long at all.

    Is that typical for a fretless, or is it a result of my configuration?

    Any suggestions on what I should do to increase the sustain?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Groover

    Groover

    Jun 28, 2005
    Ohio, USA
    Forgot:

    It's a P-J configuration, and I currently have installed some factory pickups from a Fender MIJ Jazz Bass Special.

    The bridge is a solid, cast, no name black bridge that you'd typically find on cheap basses.

    Thanks.
     
  3. JAL

    JAL

    Dec 15, 2004
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Two things:
    1)Check your neck relief: if there is backbow or too much bow it will "kill" the note.
    2)How old are the strings? An old pair (or heavily used) may sound dead.
     
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    High action will definitely cut off sustain and give you more thump and less mwah!
     
  5. Groover

    Groover

    Jun 28, 2005
    Ohio, USA
    Thanks guys. The strings are new, however the action is set high and the neck does have, what appears to me too much bow.

    I think I'll lower the string slots in the nut, reduce the bow, which should consequently lower the action... at least I hope it does, becuase the bridge saddles are set to their lowest points.
     
  6. Flat wound strings are the least flexible and therefore the least sustaining strings available. Flexibility is the key to keeping the string vibrating.

    I use and always recommend D'Addario Half Round strings for fretless's because they have the flexibility of a roundwound and the flat surface of a flatwound to keep fingerboard damage to a minimum.
     
  7. Groover

    Groover

    Jun 28, 2005
    Ohio, USA
    Ok, thanks for the tip on the strings Hambone. I'll definetely switch strings next time to something more like what you suggested, or maybe to even those you mention. The strings I'm using now almost feel like solid wire. (the D and G almost look like solid wire too :eyebrow: )
     
  8. JAL

    JAL

    Dec 15, 2004
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Actually, my Ti jazz flats sustain forever....:)
     
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yeah I've managed to get plenty of sustain on flats and I've seen others do the same....?
     
  10. High action will definitely kill the sustain. High nut slots need to be filed on defretted basses, which may also be a problem. Try taking care of both and see if that takes care of it. However lowering the strings too much might give you that fretless mwah (buzz), which may or may not be what you're looking for.
     
  11. You are correct!

    The only string I would have to exclude from my earlier statement is the specialty flat strings like the TI Jazzes that certainly do have more flexibility than the common flat metal tape strings that would be more commonly found on an inexpensive bass like the poster's GTX. However, I didn't suggest such a string because I feel they are likely to cost 1/2 of what the bass is worth and are overkill for the purpose. At least a set of half-rounds can be had for around $25 and that will help with the symptom just as well.