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Fretless and Tremolo

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by andvari7, May 25, 2005.

  1. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    For some reason, there are conflicting opinions on fretless basses having tremolos. Why is that?

    I'm asking because I have this fretless Jazz Bass neck that's way too nice for a standard replacement body, and I'm going to build my own body for it. Since I want somehting different than the ordinary, I thought I'd put a Kahler trem on it.
  2. theres alot of reasons. i belive the main reason is alot of times music that u would use fretless for wouldnt really call for a trem.

    i have a kahler trem on my jazz bass and love the thing. (its fretted)
  3. tjclem

    tjclem Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I think on a fretless you are supposed to get the tremelo effect with your hands....t
  4. I'd go for it!

    If you envision a technique where the trem adds something to your fretless playing, then there is only one way to get that itch scratched.
  5. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Go for it, while you're at it, throw in a Hipshot Xtender, Wah wah pedal and an e-bow.
  6. I wouldn't do it, but that is purely a personal thing. However, I think sound wise, do anything you want. A trem unit on a fretless could allow for some freaky sounds.

    One thing that may be an issue, is the strings rubbing up and down the fretboard when using the trem on fretted notes. This would cause more fretboard wear than without the trem, especially if your using roundwound strings.

    Not sure of what bass trem systems are like these days, but if you go ahead with it and decide to use a standard nut, then there are graphite compound nuts (trem nuts) for strat style guitars that are large enough for a bass neck that would work. These allow for friction, apparently better than a bone nut.
  7. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    I do hope you're not being sarcastic.
  8. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I think the consensus is that it would be like putting 2 layers of icing on a cake. Delicious, but unnecessary.

    Personally, I think it would be cool, but if it were my project, I'd also add some crazy electronics setup (active/passive, series/parallel, phase switches, etc) to make it an over-the-top, superbass.
  9. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Yes and no. I've always thought about putting a trem on a Fender so I can try it fretless, and just get really wierd with it.
  10. Don't tell Benjamin Strange. (His is also headless)
  11. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    So you're saying I should do it? Because, as it stands, the only things keeping me from doing it are a lack of router (and the knowledge of its use), a new soldering iron tip, Kahler 2410, Ultralites, DiMarzio Model One pup, Neutrik locking jack, poplar body blank, Macassar ebony top, and most importantly, a lack of bank to get these things. Notice I did not say a lack of volume and tone pots - I'm not going to use them.

    And how did Benjamin Strange have a fretless, headless bass with a tremolo?
  12. IIRC, Benjamin has two M-Series Steinbergers with the trans-trem. One is fretted, the other fretless.
  13. yeah.. it's totally unnecessary..

    but i have one anyway. :smug:
  14. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    Clay, how does it sound? Since there are now officially two others who have fretless basses with trems, I think it's safe for me to say that I'm going to definitely do this. Thanks for all of the opinions, ladies and gentlemen. I'll up some pics once I finish the bass.
  15. Woohooo! glad i'm the last straw that converted someone! Hah!
    And oh..! I love the tone of this thing.. though I have to find use of this in a live setting. I only use fretted live now.

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