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fretless bass sound

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jennifermm, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. jennifermm


    Jan 26, 2004
    Hello! I have a question regarding my fretless Ric 4003. I learned how to play on this bass about 13 years ago. I played it for about 5 years until I got my Fender Jazz (which really opened my ears). However, my style developed on the fretless and you can hear it in what I write and how I play. So i decided to go back to using it selectivly. The problem is that the sound has changed drastically since I last played it consistently. I listened to recordings from back then and the sound was brighter, more articulate, and rounder. The subtlties of the fretless were clear and audible. Now it has a terrible twang like an untuned tom and the low-end gets lost. There isn't any balance. I tried changing strings (guage and brand) and raised/lowered the pickups and strings, but get no real definable change(for the better). I know next to nothing about basses in a technical way, but thought maybe the pickups could have lost some intensity. Does this happen? Do different brand pickups have different tonal qualities? Is there another aspect I should look into. Any information will help. Please educate me.

    Thank you - Jennifer


    Jun 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    perhaps the electronics just need a cleaning? my electronics teacher helped me rewire one of my jazz basses (parallel to series) and in the process cleaned the pots with some kinda fluid and boy, it really opened things up. much smoother now and sound much better. just a thought...

    good luck with it anywho
  3. Jennifer, sounds like your ears have become accustomed to the Jazz Bass sound, and now you find the Rickenbacker to be less............:meh:

    How did you have the Rick stored when not in use??

  4. jennifermm


    Jan 26, 2004

    Thank you for the reply. I had the same concerns about my ears becoming tuned to the fretted bass, but I did go back to several recordings (both practice tapes and studio) to see if it was my ears and the difference between then and now is substantial.

    It was stored in a living space in its hardshell case taken out periodically and played.

  5. Jim Dombrowski

    Jim Dombrowski Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    You might try taking it to a good setup person. It's an old bass, and it's been stored for long periods of time, so it may need someone with experience to adjust the truss rod and the action. I agree with the person who suggested cleaning and re-wiring the controls. Perhaps the materials have deteriorated over time.
  6. mark beem

    mark beem Wait, how does this song start again?? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    Alabama, USA
    Welcome to TalkBass!!


    Tapes and sessions can color the sound dramatically. How long has it been since you started playing the Fender and resumed playing the Ric? It may be that your ears aren't hearing it the way you used to.

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