1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Fretless bass sounds dull

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by miner, Jul 9, 2014.

  1. miner


    Oct 26, 2008
    Hey, I've got a Warmoth fretless that I put together about a year ago. I really like the bass and it's fun to play but it sounds really dull to me. I wish it sounded more like a fretted bass! Here's the basics of it.

    Warmoth P fretless neck maple and ebony fingerboard with an epoxy coat.

    Warmoth poplar P body

    Dimarzio model P and model J set.

    DR black beauties.




    My first guess is it's the black beauties. I used them because they would look good on this bass and never tried them before. But it could be the pickups too. All of my basses are active and I usually prefer EMG's.

    The last thing I was thinking was adding a steel plate on the bottom of the fingerboard. When I play, I usually hit the strings against the frets to get some attack out of it. This has no frets so it goes "clack". Does anyone have experience doing something like this?

    I really like how it plays and I like playing it, I just don't like the sound a whole lot. It sounds good when other people play it, but I don't like how it sounds when I play it hahaha.
  2. Change the strings first, then report back!
    Asher S, DannyBob and miner like this.
  3. bh2


    Jun 16, 2008
    Oxford, UK
    Lovely looking bass... try some rounds.

    I've always used RS66's on my fretless basses.
    miner likes this.
  4. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Do I really have to say it?
  5. miner


    Oct 26, 2008
    Hahahahahaha that's not what I meant!
    Kustom_Thunder likes this.
  6. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    I don't get the joke. What I mean is, if other people make it sound good, the bass isn't the problem. My philosophy is always technique first, gear second.
    maestrovert likes this.
  7. miner


    Oct 26, 2008
    What I mean is there is a certain kind of sound I expect to hear when I'm playing. When I play this one, I don't get that sound out of it. It sounds "good" as in a 60's p bass with flats into a b15 sounds "good", but it wouldn't sound right to me when I'm trying to play it! There are hundreds of bass tones that sound good, but I would never like to sound like myself. I'm trying to get a little more brightness/zing out of this to better match how I like to sound.

    I'll try changing the strings first and see if that will do it!
  8. Junior Shark

    Junior Shark

    Nov 7, 2013
    If you have an epoxy-coated 'board, why wouldn't you slap some steels on that puppy? Do it. Now. Also, IME, you can get a little clacky with fretless just by digging in a little harder.
    DannyBob and miner like this.
  9. miner


    Oct 26, 2008
    As far as digging in I gets lot's of "clack" i just want some "clank"! That's why I'm thinking of putting a steel plate or something similar at the end of the fingerboard. I figure that should get me some of the sound of strings hitting against frets.
  10. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Try a 500k ohm tone pot
    maestrovert and miner like this.
  11. acebase62


    Jun 29, 2010
    500k volume pots and a Fender TBX tone control can also work to open up the tone some.

    Nice bass, I like the Warmoth bodies and necks.
    miner likes this.
  12. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    +1 to putting rounds on it. I went through the same thing with my fretless (Squier VM Jazz) and the rounds cured it.
  13. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution, Ampeg distribution
    Getting clank is going to be tough. Put DR Sunbeams on it and boost the highs and high mids on your amp. Play with your right hand back towards the bridge. Is the action low enough?

    I'm confused though that you say you want it to sound more like a fretted. It is kind of like you bought a cat and you're not satisfied because it doesn't bark.
    josiah goldfish and miner like this.
  14. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Folks, it's obvious from the photos what the real problem is.

    It has fretlines! ;) :woot:
    miner likes this.
  15. miner


    Oct 26, 2008
    Hahaha, fretlines wasn't my first choice, but I got the neck from a TB'er already finished and the epoxy already done for 100 bucks so I can't complain too much!

    I got it for fun and as a challenge and I ended up liking it a lot more than I thought I would as far as feel and playing it goes. Overall I'm happy with it. Now I just want to try to get it to sound how I want! I tend to be a modder so even if I was happy with how it sounded, I'd still probably be trying to mess with it in some way!

    I've already got 500k pots on there. I figured that would help make up for it being passive.

    I've never messed with a TBX before and I don't really know much about it. By the time I went that far, I would probably just build a preamp to jam in there hahaha.
  16. miner


    Oct 26, 2008
    I believe it's a 0.022uf
  17. Kragnorak


    Sep 20, 2008
    I'm confused - are the Black Beauties not round enough?

    I have similar issues with my fretlesses. One has crappy electronics and both could really benefit from a lacquered fingerboard. I don't expect them to sound like fretteds, but I do want livelier tone. I'm curious how the steel plate idea would work...
    miner likes this.
  18. miner


    Oct 26, 2008
    I think I'm going to stop at the hardware store on my way home and see what I can do. I'll let ya know how it works out!
    Kragnorak likes this.
  19. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    Boston Mass
    A-Designs Mike Lull GK Tsunami Cables GHS Strings RMI Basswitch Nordstrand Pickups Darkglass
    Some Roundwounds...
    and honestly...For Dimarzio pickups...I found Carey, preampts match to them nicely...(Better then Audere in that situation).
    miner likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.