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!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Fretless Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by j3b3r, Aug 25, 2000.

  1. j3b3r


    Aug 19, 2000
    Hello Guys, I'm planning to build a fretless bass. What are the best wood for body, neck and finggerboard ??
    I'm looking for the warm tone
    Thank you :)
  2. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    Get a Cort Curbow Fretless.
    Luthite Body = Synthetic
    Ebonol Fingerboard = Very fast, Synthetic
    Hard Rock Maple Neck = The only wood in the bass.
    Active Electronics.

    http://www.marsmusic.com has it.. and you can even hear a sample.
  3. but I too am building one now - some parts bought and others fabricated. If this is a first project like mine is, I don't see any reason to try to re-invent the wheel. For that reason I have taken the approach to keep it relatively simple in wood selection, then as the process is worked out, build a more exotic one in the future. My selection is this:

    Warmoth neck - I've bought one of birdseye maple with an ebony fingerboard. Since this is most difficult and most critical part of the guitar, I chose not to make my own. Perhaps on the next one.

    Mahogany body - This is where I've chosen to put most of my attention. I'll be designing it on the computer and using a computer driven router to do the shaping, drilling, and inletting. My choice was for tone, grain and color. I've recently been rudely informed of the cost of Honduran mahogany and it may be a bit out of line for my plans. I want to keep the raw lumber under $6.00 bf. Hence, I may choose to go with a walnut and stain to the appropriate shade. I would let the mahogany alone with just an oil finish but if the walnut is used I'll likely do a clear coat style finish.

    If you want to see an excellent example of a first time bass construction go to the Fender Discussion Page (Bass forum) and look at the thread "It's finally done". This guy has a beautiful all walnut Jazz that is incredible.
  4. mr t

    mr t

    Aug 24, 2000
    manhattan, ks
    i can't say i agree on the cort thing. however, if you're looking for a nice warm sound, try a mahogany body with hollow sound chambers, then top it off with some eye candy quilted, flamed or burled maple. if you're doing the neck thru thing, you could put some laminates of mahogany or rosewood or even koa in the neck. you need to consider, however, that the p/u's are going to have just as much of an effect on tone as the wood. i think the bartolini soapbars are quite a bit warmer than emg's if you go active. also, strings play a part--nickel plated ones have different magnetic properties and tend to sound warmer. good luck!

  5. j3b3r


    Aug 19, 2000
    Thanks Guys, you've been helping so much
    I prefer a bolt on neck it would be much cheaper, and I allready have one EMG 40CS.
    What position should I place the pickup ?? Middle or bridge ?
    I think I'll go with maple for the neck, ebony fingerboard and mahogany body as you told me. But for the hollow body, I will have to check out how much they gonna cost me to build that.

    One more thinks that's bothering me is what should I use for the bridge ?? metal bridge (badass, hipshot etc) or a bone saddle bridge ??? trhu body or not ??

    Gezzz so confused
  6. My approach would (and is going to) be to string thru the body. My Kawai is configured like this and I love it's depth of tone. This isn't a completely simple process though and will take some thought on location, and bridge selection to make it work. You will also have to incorporate string bushings in the back of the body to hold the strings. You can get them from Stewart MacDonald for about $8. If you choose not to string thru the body, I recommend the aftermarket bridges like those you have mentioned. Which one is certainly up to you with looks, function, and price being the deciding factors. I think that anchoring, leveling, and intonating are best done with just one piece of hardware. Unless you use individual bone saddles, ala Alembic, it would be hard to get the right setup. I think the "all-in-one" approach would be easier to incorporate into your design.

    Whoops, almost forgot the pickup location question! If you only have one pickup, I would put locate it with some rear bias like a Music Man. My thinking is that from there you would have all of the high end needed and can introduce bottom end with your electronic selection. If you were to put it closer to the neck, you would have plenty of boom but it would be more difficult to get the punch you might desire. But, then again, I'm not familiar with the characteristics your particular pickup and that would be the real determining factor in it's location.

    [Edited by Hambone on 08-27-2000 at 10:26 AM]

Share This Page