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Defretting a Conklin 7... UPDATE

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by eli, Apr 21, 2001.


  1. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    I have the coolest G.A.S. (gear acquisition story) to report. I have officially gone 7! And I have the magic of the Internet, my bass-playing and gear-loving bretheren, and probably harmonic convergence of the planets or something to thank for it.

    First I need to take back -- well, SOME of the things I've said about GC. They may prey on innocents who aren't sure what they want, but they do seem to want people to leave smiling. As long as you know what you're after...

    I've been playing two Carvin 6-strings since '96, one fretless and one fretted. This round of G.A.S. started in March when GC put Conklin Groove Tools 7-strings on sale for $850. Still a bit high for me, but intriguing nonetheless. I went in and played the fretted one that had been on the sales floor for 6 or 8 months to see if I really could handle the fingerboard. I decided I could, but my first love is fretless and I asked this forum if I was nuts to consider defretting a brand-new fretted Conklin. I also asked how I'd go about getting ANY 7 for around $700. I got some nice advice here at Talkbass and also at TBL.

    But two people, one of them our own Conklin enthusiast John Turner, actually went out surfing and found the same ad on Harmony Central for a used FRETLESS GT7! (also posted here under the name makisupa46). The ad had just been posted two days before. I called the guy up and he said he'd only had the bass for 8 months, and the 7th string was just in his way. He wanted to get a 5-string fretless. So I took a deep breath and asked him if he'd like to trade me even up for my Carvin fretless 6 -- and he said yes! He shipped me his, and I shipped him mine, and now we're both pleased as punch with the deal. I got more strings, and he got fewer -- a perfect win-win situation! He loves the Carvin (I'm still an avid supporter; they just don't make 7's -- yet.). And the Conklin fretless is a SWEETIE. Nice growl, nice fast feel. Now I'm grinning, right?

    But I've always loved having my two Carvins, identical except for the frets. So much easier to switch back and forth, same string spacing, same feel, same knobs, amp handles 'em the same, etc. So I went back to moon over the fretted GT7 at GC. Turns out, the bass had suffered some damage during its half year in demo-land, and had a dent in the face about the size of half a dime, along with some other marks. The body tongue where it tapers to the bolt-on neck was slightly warped, so daylight was visible 'twixt neck and body. The neck had a slight back-bow. And, of course, the strings were dead -- the high F was even missing wraps over the frets where it had been snapped & popped countless times. But hey, I'm a player, not a curator. I'm looking for a functional 7, not a showpiece.

    I offered my fretted Carvin in trade, but the store manager really didn't want to give me what it was worth (I still have it for sale -- please let me know if anyone can help me get out of hot water with my chief financial officer. Yes, I'll come down from my original asking price of $700. See the "basses for sale" forum). Long story short, after some haggling over the Conklin's condition, the guy eventually offered me a price of $800 including tax (around $60 here in Chicagoland) and case! What a deal! So I took it.

    Now I had my two identical 7's and life was good! Identical natural finish (always my favorite) and a great price to boot! All I had to do was come back in a week when he could get a special truss rod wrench from Conklin and he'd adjust the neck bow. These basses have regular Allen sockets on the twin truss rods, but they're recessed into two goofy little pockets that require a standard size but short-necked wrench which he couldn't seem to find. He'd order one right away.

    So I called him up a few days later to be sure the wrench had come in -- it had -- and I took the bass in. He brought the package out to the counter, opened it up -- and the wrench was too long! He actually had a hacksaw, but no clamp to hold the wrench to cut it off. He scowled and went into the back, leaving me at the counter. He came back in a few minutes with a differrent set of Allen wrenches -- but still no dice. So once more he leaves me at the counter. 5 minutes later, he finally comes back -- holding a brand-new GT7! He grins and says, "How 'bout this one?"

    I gather my jaw from the floor, stammer something about plugging it in and making sure the electronics are OK, and 10 minutes later I'm walking out of the store with a crisp, shiny new Conk for the price of the beat-up demo! Tight neck pocket, brand-new strings, dead straight fingerboard, not a mark on it. AND a big smile on my face!

    I must say, I've been in a really good mood since then.

    Now all's I gotta do is figger out howda wark these here thangs...



    eli@officiallyaresidentofsevenstringland.com
     
  2. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    so, you've got a fretted _and_ a fretless GT7 now?

    eli!!! that rules!! you're my hero! :D

    are they the red ones, or the natural ones?

    how do you like the electronics? and that linoleum fretboard on the fretless? ;)
     
  3. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Why do you people insist on torturing me!?:D

    I really wish I could pony up for that kinda bassage (new term!). Oh well...Just gotting keep on Pushic (keep on pushing; get it!? ha ha...oh, you're not laughing...:D). Oh well, hope your happy there Eli!
     
  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Very cool story, Eli!

    So you joined JT in playing a fretted and a fretless 7! Cool!

    I may be interested in your Carvin. I'll be over to Classifieds in a jiffy.

    Congrats on the matched pair of Conklins!!!:)
     
  5. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    I'm so honored to be JT's hero!!! :D :eek:

    They're both natural. A REALLY matched set.

    Haven't played a gig yet, but everything seems really workable. The treble isn't quite as sharp as on my Carvins, which is OK by me. The fretless Ebanol board is brighter than the ebony on the Carvin, but not so much so that it barks or anything. I put Elixir Nanowebs on the fretless and I really like the results. All VERY nice and really fun to play -- I gotta say the 7th string really does make a few things easier rather than harder. I haven't gotten totally used to the notes up there, but I'm sure it won't take long.

    I haven't changed the strings on the fretted so I suppose they're the Conklin "Snakeskins". They are a fairly light gauge and pretty "sproingy", so I'll be interested to see how deep they'll go -- one of our tunes is a deep reggae groove on which I cut like ALL the treble. I'll report after the gig May 5.

    Until then, gotta practice...

    _____________________

    eli@iloveConklinstoo.com
     
  6. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    hey Eli, that was a cool story. Good work. I have the GT7 myself (fretted), and have been wondering about getting the same fretless. You convinced me. Cool as hell man.
     
  7. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    And now we know why!;):D
    [​IMG]
     
  8. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Brandon, you found that pic!

    You're my hero!!! Are you the one who mocked it up? Where is the Bill Dickens photo like it?
     
  9. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Brendan says:

    No, wasn't me...was Mock Turtle Regulator...have no clue where the Dickens one is...
     
  10. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Mocked it up...Mock Turtle Regulator? Wow, that was weird!

    Congrats Eli! BTW, i posted about the GT7 at harmony central! nah! :D:D:D

    Seriously though, congratulations! Is the fretless lined? Im not sure if i remember correctly, but wasnt your Carvin unlined? I dont know, i just remember you liking unlined, i think. Anyhow, congrats on the monster twins!
     
  11. Ty McNeely

    Ty McNeely

    Mar 27, 2000
    TX
    ROFLMBOPMP:D

    Now THAT is a classic:D
     
  12. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I try...well...MTR tried...I just assisted...:D
     
  13. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago

    Yeah, I prefer unlined -- really just because I think they look cooler. People mistake lined for plain old fretted basses.

    But, hey -- there weren't no way I was ever gonna get to go 7 other than this, so that was just kinda the way the chips fell, knowhatamean?

    And the more I play these thangs, the more fun I have with 'em. I have no misgivings whatsoever and am completely satisfied that I did the right thing for me.
     
  14. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    holy sh!t, i never saw that before! that rules! that's going on my web page! :D
     
  15. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    One last update. Had a rehearsal with the band, and they're REALLY happy with the sound. Very defined and clear without being clangy. They're happy, I'm happy. All's cool in Conk-ville...
     
  16. bah- someone else taking the credit for my hard work?
    [​IMG]
    here's the Bill Dickens one I also did;
    [​IMG]

    that GT7 in the Musician's Friend ad looks very cool.........but as I'm in the UK I won't have much chance of trying one, and it'll be extortionately priced here anyway.
    at least the Epiphone Jack Casady bass IS being imported at last.
     
  17. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Uh..Mock...I never took credit for that, nor has anyone else, for that matter...we made sure people knew it was you...
     
  18. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    guess not...Oh well...I like the Dickens one better! He's SO into it...That's classic...
     
  19. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Yeah, that Dickens one rules! He looks so cool, busting chops on his awesome 1 stringer!!!:p

    Great photo doctoring chops, there, MTR.

    Remind me never to give you any photos of myself!:D