Fanned or Unfanned Fretless?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Lenny JG, Sep 23, 2020.

  1. Lenny JG

    Lenny JG

    Aug 3, 2019
    Now here's the real question: If the fretless is made w/ single string bridge saddles, then is fanning the frets for low turnings necessary?

    My opinion is that unless your fretless is lined, then the fan effect is not needed?

    What are your thoughts?

    P.s. I'm currently looking to purchase a (multiscale?) fretless bass made for super low tunings G# and below, so any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!
  2. A multi-scale instrument, either fretted or fretless, will need the bridge saddles, nut, and frets (fret markers) fanned. That’s just the nature of the beast.
    I would guess that playing a multi-scale fretless would be beneficial with lines... at least In the beginning to get used to it.
    mattj1stc, BurningSkies and equill like this.
  3. Lenny JG

    Lenny JG

    Aug 3, 2019
    Correct; but with just individual saddles on an unlined fretless would one even need the slanted nut? Or would you just set it up as though the lines are slightly fanned?

    I have problems w intonation on my 34" lined fretless w tunings lower than G# so if it had no lines would it even matter?

    Can you slap a slanted nut onto a bass and call it a day?

    Thanks for your thoughts!
  4. Either the Bass is straight 34” scale or multi-scale, you can’t just install a nut designed for a multi-scale onto a single-scale instrument. It’ll throw everything off.
    You should have enough adjustment at the bridge for proper intonation. If not, then you may have to move the mono-bridge saddle, which would require lining it up and drilling new mount holes.
    There really is no band-aid approach.

    When you say tuning lower than G#...are you using a 5-string and down-tuning B to G#?
    RSBBass and BurningSkies like this.
  5. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Still trying to understand the “problems w intonation on my [ ... ] fretless”.... :unsure:
    LBS-bass, Koshchei, Slidlow and 9 others like this.
  6. Lowend65

    Lowend65 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    San Jose, CA
    I've been playing a multi-scale 5-string for 7 years and Fretless Bass for ~30 years. I would never attempt a multi-scale fretless, too much of a moving target for intonation. But, do what you will.
    You are stuck with a "built" multi-scale, trying to retro-fit results in replacing the neck and bridge with very expensive and (in the case of the neck) rare/unobtainable products.

    If you want to go all of the way down to G#, you'll want something with as long of a scale as you can find. In this case, you're looking at a Dingwall as I don't know of anyone else that uses a full 37" scale on the B-string. I've never seen a fretless Combustion or NG-series, so you're either defretting one of those, or buying one of his Canadian built basses ($3K+ new).
    Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you're in a bit of a corner here
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
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  7. Lenny JG

    Lenny JG

    Aug 3, 2019
    Right. So can you install the nut and bridge saddles or do you need a new neck? thats a better question.

    I'm using a 145 top string tuned down to G# on my 5 string.

    I'm hoping to go down around 180-200 range for lower tunings like drop E being lowest.

    Atm the only problem is w my top string, my concern is moving to a 6 string tuned to drop e and having problems if I have a lined fretless.

    So far I'm thinking individual saddles or just pulling the bridge back will fix my problem. Though then I need a 6 string that I can do that fix on or hopefully get one recommended already set up for such low tunings as drop E

    Well the problem is my top string, because it is lined I can't quite pull the saddle far enough for my 145 low G# string. This wouldn't be as big of a problem on a no line is my point. Correct?

    So far I'm thinking individual saddles or just putting the bridge back further will fix the problem. Though I need a 6 string that I can do that fix on or hopefully get one recommended already set up for tunings like drop E.
  8. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Only if you’re a slave to the lines.

    One of the wonderful things about fretless is the ability to place your finger such that the note is exactly in tune.

    My advice? Close your eyes while you practice for the next four weeks.
    Atshen, Tritone and MonetBass like this.
  9. You can always go with a 7 string with the lowest string tuned to F#...
    How deep are your pockets?
    nbsipics, NeonVomit, DJ Bebop and 2 others like this.
  10. Lenny JG

    Lenny JG

    Aug 3, 2019
    Thank you for the great reply.
    If i tune down to E0 standard though on a six string fretless I'm thinking it either makes sense to fan the intonation OR see if I can gain traditional intonation by pulling back the saddles a bit on an Ibanez srf706 as I have had good luck w Ibanez products.

    Listen, I understand that, my intonation is great; my top string, not so much. That's why I mentioned it not being a problem if there is no lines. Thanks for your input anyway.
  11. Lenny JG

    Lenny JG

    Aug 3, 2019
    So I want to go to E0 standard, so one step lower than that, but on a six string. I'm thinking a modified srf706?
  12. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I'm looking for a fretless bass that has the note locations where I put my fingers. I'm not sure if that's fanned or not. Maybe a little.
    gg22, Lenny JG and DJ Bebop like this.
  13. lucas303


    Mar 11, 2019
    I think if someone wanted to devote the time to getting good at playing a fretless multiscale they could, just like people get good with "normal" fretless basses.

    ESP definitely does. There might be others. There's also a Quake bass that has 40-37" multiscale.
    BurningSkies and Lenny JG like this.
  14. Lagado

    Lagado Inactive

    Jan 6, 2020
    Muscle memory comes into its own on fretless, that's when you rely on it the most IME. Muscle memory likes intervallic consistency, I couldn't think of anything more self-defeating than having a multi-scale fretless. See what the market demand is for that... Bad intonation? That's going out of your way to make it happen.
    logdrum, Matthijs, gg22 and 1 other person like this.
  15. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    What? o_O
    mdogs, Need Gigs, ctmullins and 7 others like this.
  16. JeezyMcNuggles


    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Yeah, I don't get how anyone can get any note right on an "unlined, fanned/mutliscale fretless"

    That whole concept seems utterly wrong to me.

    But for the OP, why not just play a standard? Or, a fanned fretted?
  17. JeezyMcNuggles


    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Can't you just slap a 145mm string on a 35" scale bass? Or any scale bass for that matter? Tuning that low, will still sound terrible on anything.

    I used to keep my B string at G for that reason. G was still tight enough to keep a little bit of tone.
  18. Lenny JG

    Lenny JG

    Aug 3, 2019
    Yes but I'm already reaching out of the way slightly for correct intonation on the 145 so if I moved to a six in E0 w a 180 then I might be reaching about anyway. So I think it makes more sense to just pull the bridge/saddles back further on the body with an unlined for traditional intonation. But if it had lines I think it might want to be fanned which seems like a hassle.

    Because I play fretless. I like it better. My bands like it. Artists I do studio work for like my tone. If an artist requests I play a fretted then I do, but for my own personally involved projects I use fretless. Also I have already slapped a 145 on my 34" and am planning on around a 180 for E0 so Im just posing questions to look for options for that tuning in a fretless. With the right equipment low tunings sound great Imo. Currently using an svt4pro that I will be using crossover through a 2x15 and a 4x12
  19. JeezyMcNuggles


    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    For drop past B, you should really just biamp it in to an 18" sub like I did. Keep the 412 for your bass. Use the sub so you don't blow up your cabinet. Bass cabs aren't subwoofers, they're loudspeakers. Check my old set up 20180226_201737.jpg

    That worked great for me. Kept my bass nice, loud, and crisp. I just kept the sub turned down a bit to keep the mud off the stage. Sounded huge
  20. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    On some bass you play on the lines. On other basses you don't. Adjust the bridge for consistent intonation across strings. There may not be enough range of adjustment to get the intonation so you play on the line, because the bass may not have been designed that way. The lines are there to quickly give you an idea of where you are, rather than for intonation.
    Lenny JG likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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