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Fretless Help

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by iriegnome, Oct 14, 2013.


  1. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    Last night while playing my beloved 1982 Pavey T-20FL, I found that I have a really bad buzz/dead spot. It is on the 5th fret position on the A string (D). The note plays, but it buzzes out very badly. Could this be a low spot on the board? Would my board need dressing or leveling or might this be something that can be fixed by the truss rod? Obviously I really don't know much about this kind of thing, but I do what I can.
    Thanks in advance
     
  2. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Could be anything from a worn string to an uneven saddle to a worn fingerboard. There is not really enough data here to make an accurate diagnosis. Everything else is just guessing. Measure string heights, relief, and any other relevant data then post the findings and someone will help you.
     
  3. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    Everything is set up nicely. No other issues only that one spot. Saddles are in great condition. Flats on the bass since new. No grooves or uneven wear in the board, no dimples or dents in the board itself..
     
  4. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    I had the same problem awhile back.It was a low spot.You may need to dress the fingerboard with a radius sanding block.If you don't know the radius of your fingerboard,there is an online printable PDF gauge from Pickguardian.Print it.Cut it out as best as you can.Find the closest radius that fits your fingerboard.Then order the appropriate sanding block.Sand with a medium grit first.Then go to finer grits.After the sanding coat the fingerboard with Lemon oil or Beeswax.
     
  5. henry2513

    henry2513 Supporting Member

    May 9, 2011
    Los Angeles, Ca
    Honestly I'd take it to a luthier. A great luther makes a world of difference, my freless was buzzing, took it to two different guys, both said I just had my action "too low". Finally took it to the guys and Nordstrand and they figured it out.
     
  6. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    That is kind of what I was thinking. I am waiting for my luthier to finish up the board on my Ric fretless and I will probably just run this one over to him as well
     
  7. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    All the same.It's just that many of the simple things that a Luthier does can be done at home.With a little info and prep.After much info I defreted my six string fretless two years ago.And I did a very good job!It's kind of like when you did your first brake job on your car and you said"I pay a mechanic for this?"Plus the fact that you will need to periodically remove string winding marks.Would you take it to a Luthier every time?For that,just use some 400 grit sandpaper on the radius block.Good as new!
     
  8. morrisonhendrix

    morrisonhendrix When the music's over, turn out the lights... Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2009
    near Dallas, Texas
    Yes, but while some folks are risk takers and more adventurous, I would choose to take it to a luthier. If I love an instrument or anything else I own, I want to learn how to do it, but I don't try and fix when I know nothing about it, or more importantly, have never done it and don't do it on a daily basis.

    The point is, I'd rather go to a surgeon that removes tumors on a daily basis than try to do it myself. Chances are, he's REALLY good at it. If I don't do something on a regular basis, I don't want to take a chance on ruining my bass.
     
  9. Check if the fret above that one is higher by rocking a credit card (or anything else that's straight) on it.

    EDIT: Nevermind, thread title went over my head.
     
  10. onda'bass

    onda'bass Supporting Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    Buffalo Ny
    would be tough on a fretless
     
  11. LouBass

    LouBass Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2008
    Ann Arbor Michigan
    You want to have the fingerboard "leveled".
     
  12. Whoops, should have read the post better.
     
  13. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    LMAO... Thanks for the help and the laugh. I hate it myself when I miss things like this. I was kind of hoping it would be something more of a neck adjustment, but it sounds more like a fretboard level kind of thing. Neck adjustments I can do. I do not have any proper tools or know how to do a board level. Better to spend the $60 to have my luthier do it than to ruin a 30 year old bass.
     
  14. bassbenj

    bassbenj

    Aug 11, 2009
    I level my own fingerboards but I can dig someone being a bit reluctant especially if the bass has value to you.

    But I would suggest that there are some things you should know how to do properly and not be afraid to do them. The truss rod adustment is one of those. Relief on a fretless is kinda tricky because if you have too much the bass looses all it's "mwah", but if you don't have enough certain notes start to buzz (as in your case). So a few minor adjustments on the truss rod are the place to start. Just do minor adjustments. Put a little relief in and see if buzzing goes away. And then listen to tone to see if it's changed too much.

    If you can't find an optimum spot then haul it to the luthier for a leveling. Still once leveled you should know how to tweak it in yourself because the setup will change with seasons and weather.
     
  15. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    It's not brain surgery,it's basic woodworking.
     
  16. morrisonhendrix

    morrisonhendrix When the music's over, turn out the lights... Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2009
    near Dallas, Texas
    You missed the point. While it may be basic, why not let someone who does it day in and day out, do it? Then you get it done right the first time, no risks. Each to his own.
     
  17. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    Oh, I so totally agree
     
  18. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    This is my point.Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.If you know exactly what needs to be done.Have the tools.Anyone CAN do this themselves.Bass Player Magazine has had so many articles over the last 20 something years so that any one with a basic wood working knowledge can do this with few problems.
     
  19. morrisonhendrix

    morrisonhendrix When the music's over, turn out the lights... Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2009
    near Dallas, Texas
    Ok, we'll put you down as "amateur luthier". Seriously, that's good that you feel comfortable doing that yourself, some of us don't.
     
  20. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I did major amounts of woodworking when I was young. Had a full wood working shop in my basement until I was 19. Still would not level my own board. Not my speciality
     

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