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experience with warmoth fretless?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by barroso, Jun 17, 2001.

  1. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    here's the story. after the summer break, i'll find myself with only 4 exams to complete my study at the university. so i hope i'll have more energies to restart my study on the bass. and in the following year i'd like to start playing fretless too. other aspect is that i'd love to have a fender jazz bass, but the ones i like cost too much and i have also 3 basses so i can't justify myself another instrument.
    but, i was thinking about building a lined fretless jazz style bass with 4 string from warmoth with interesting pickups and active/passive preamp. in this way i'll be able to have a good fretless bass, i hope, and i'll satisfy my die hard idea of building a bass from parts.
    the first question is
    have you played a warmoth fretless bass? what is your opinion on it?
    can you help me in finding a good pickup configuration, following these specs? passive pickups with onboard preamp with active/passive switch with a good versatility in sound.
    is it possible to have from G&L or from other way the pickups and the electronics of the L-2000 model? if this is not possible can you tell me a configuration and a preamp as similar as possible to the L-2000?
    every help is really appreciated!
    thanks a lot
  2. 1) I have a fretless MIJ Jazz with a Warmoth neck, and it's great.

    2) There are lots of passive pickups, and lots of onboard preamps that work with passive pickups. Any of the usual ones (Duncan Basslines, Bartolini, EMG, etc.) offer reasobaly good "versatility in sound", though the only one I can think of that comes with and active/passive switch built in is the J-Retro. It's not hard to wire one in, though.

    3) You cannot buy G&L Electronics and pickups separately. The most similar pickups would probably be something like the MM-style pickups from Seymour Duncan, and Warmoth will route a body for dual MM-style pickups. I don't know of any onboard preamps that are much like the L2000, but many of the common preamps offer somewhat more flexibility than that (say, 3 bands of EQ with both cut and boost, balance control between the two pickups instead of just a pickup selector switch, etc.). What, specifically, do you like about the G&L setup? That would make it easier to find pickups and preamp with those qualities.

  3. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    i like a lot the versatility in sound of the G&L electronics and the option to work in active or passive mode. at this time i think that the j-retro preamp could be ny choice in matter of preamp.
  4. Hi,

    That wasn't really quite as specific as I was hoping for. The G & L has:

    1) an active/passive switch (easy to add with most preamps), with an additional treble boost setting
    2) a series/parallel switch for the pickups (not part of the onboard preamp)
    3) a 3-way pickup switch (not part of the onboard preamp)
    4) treble and bass cut knobs (no boost, no midrange)

    Which of these, specifically, were you looking for? With the exception of the treble boost switch, you could do all these things with pretty much any standard preamp and a couple of extra switches. The East/J-Retro comes with the active/passive switch included, and a treble boost switch as well, plus sweepable mid control and lots of other stuff--it's arguably one of the most flexible preamps out there, but also one of the most expensive. You might consider something simpler and cheaper if it will do what you want. And the "what you want" part is what I was trying to get at.

  5. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    unfortunately i'm not able to say if i want the parallel/sereis switch or anything else in particular because i'm not so experienced with the G&L. i played them only three times without the chance to understand every aspect of the controls. i named the G&L because i was amazed by the tonal spectrum of that bass which i'd like to reproduce in some way on my fretless to come. you spoke about cheaper preamp, which kind of cheaper preamp do you suggest? and with the j retro do you know a particular brand and model of j style pickups well indicated for a fretless?
    thanks again
  6. That's not much to go on, I'm afraid. What did you try on the G&L's to determine that they were versatile? Did you turn knobs, or flip switches, or what? Did you like the fact that you could go from one sound to another with a flip of a switch? And what are you comparing the G&L's to--have you tried other 2-pickup basses with active preamps, including 2-band and 3-band EQs? That's the only way to guess which of the G&L's features you found useful.

    I've already suggested the Seymour Duncan Basslines and Bartolini preamps as possible alternatives, but it's hard to guess which preamp will suit you best without knowing more specifically what you're looking for (beyond an active/passive switch). If you want a general comparison of different pickups and preamps, David King has a nice rundown on his site at http://www.kingbass.com and it includes the J-Retro/East. It is a very flexible preamp, but aside from the active/passive switch, it's not much like the G&L setup.

    The J-Retro/East preamp (the "J-Retro" is the version with the control plate, designed to be a straight replacement into a Jazz Bass control cavity) should work with any passive pickups and doesn't necessarily require J-style pickups--if I were trying to get a sound more like the G&L L2000, I would probably go with wide humbuckers rather than J-style pickups anyway. That said, Seymour Duncan does make J-style pickups (and preamps) designed specifically for fretless.

    Good luck!