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Fretless P bass...no truss rod!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Steve Dallman, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    I guy brought me a bass he bought 30 years ago to get it back in playing condition. It has a P neck the previous owner made fretless, a DIY spalted body, Dimarzio P pickup, P bridge, etc.

    The frets were removed, and he must have had problems with chipping, so he routed about an 1/8" slot at each fret, and filled them with a slightly lighter shade wood than Rosewood.

    AND he removed the truss rod. The back of the neck has a 1/2" route the length of the neck, from the back of the neck to the back of the fingerboard, and it's filled with wood.

    I imagine the guy who did this was an upright player, and since an upright has no truss rod, why would a fretless bass need one.

    I planed off a "ski-jump" at the end of the board, and without strings it's flat, but with the rounds he has on them, the neck has too much relief.

    I need ideas. I suggested to him going with low tension strings to try and keep the neck reasonably flat to get the action where it should be, but I have little experience with low tension strings.

    Where do I go from here? I will post pics later when I get back to my home computer.
  2. Hi.

    Leo (RIP) did fight long and hard to gain the acceptance for the "inferior" and "cheapskate" bolt-on neck attaching method, I'd use that hard work to my advantage.

    I'd swap the neck.

  3. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Neck swap will work. But since the neck is "almost" right, if you want to keep it looking as it is, I'd try to stiffen the neck with carbon fiber rods. You'd have to use some thicker than the ones you buy which are flexible enough to be bent by a truss rod. Or you'd have to embed more of them. Another alternative would be to install a truss rod.

    If it were my bass I'd opt either for new neck or installed truss rod. I'd remove the current fingerboard. I'd buy a nice radiused ebony finger board from Luthier's supply. I'd rout the neck for one of those "double acting" truss rods that are made of pieces of metal. They aren't a "rod" but a device that warps when you turn the screw on the end. They fit in a routed slot under the fingerboard. StewMac has them.

    Good luck!

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