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 players- Sanding the neck??

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by rockstarbassist, May 8, 2006.


  1. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Hey guys, new to the Setup forum...

    I recently bought (3 weeks ago from a guy in Dallas) an '03 Modulus Q5 lined fretless. It's a 2003 model, and the body is in mint condition. The fretboard has minimal use and no grooves or pockets or anything.

    So, I took it to have it setup, intonated, etc.. as it was previously setup E-C. Beforehand, I threw on a set of DR Sunbeams (B-G) as I play 5's in standard setup. However, upon doing so I had some noticeable buzz on the B-A strings from the 5th fret down. This was natural, because it was setup really low and slick E-C, with no buzz. I suck at adjusting basses a lot more than the average player, which is why I took it in for an adjustment.

    So, a week or two goes by and didn't hear from the shop (which I will leave unnamed, but from what I hear they're a top-notch boutique and are in-state) so I call and ask about it.
    Story is, it was setup, bridge and neck adjusted, intonated, and all the buzz was removed except for on the B, the 5th fret down still has slight buzz. I ask why, even after the action was raised to medium height. The tech explained to me that the board had been "scalloped" out, and that my fretboard already needed to be sanded out across to get rid of the groove, and since on the Modulus the wood is thick, I could do this "Multiple" times and not have to repalce the neck.
    Only thing is, when I was changing the strings on the bass, I inspected it and there is no grooving to that extreme anywhere on the fretboard. The bass is barely 2 years old and was barely even used. Plus, it was played with nickel rounds, and an E-C setup at that, so in theory the wear would be LESS than that of a heavier B-G setup.
    I've been back and forth with the guy who I purchased it from who's been more than helpful and in no way feels this is warranted.

    I'm really new to the fretless game, but I've never even HEARD of doing this before to an instrument. Much less one barely over 2 years old... Am I just being sold on somethere here or what? Do I need a second opinion?
    I spent a good chunk on this bass and it sounds amazing and everything, but that just really bothers me. Not sure who I need to trust, as when I looked at it (haven't gotten it back yet as it's out of town) there wasn't this "scalloping" that is being told to me.

    Help? :meh: :crying:

    Thanks-
    RSB
     
  2. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Hey thanks for that.

    Yeah it's a newer model so it has the truss rod inside it. The guy said it was already setup with medium action, but maybe a bit more wouldn't hurt.

    And they're actually a licensed Modulus sales spot, so I figured they knew what they were talking about. Doesn't mean they "know it all", but I'd think more than a shop that's never heard of a Modulus.

    That's a good point- maybe I'll contact Modulus and see what they think. Anyone worked with them before?? I wonder how their C/S dept. is... If they say it needs to be worked on, I'll definitely have to talk to the guy who sold it to me, because that's not what I'd call "excellent" condition...
     
  3. bassjigga

    bassjigga

    Aug 6, 2003
    I know Modulus does both phenolic and wood boards. I would find it hard to believe that a composite board would need planing after only a few years. That stuff is very hard. If it is wood, then maybe. But still, at it's age I wouldn't think it would be needed yet. It's normal for B's to have a little buzz. You can give the neck a little more relief if you really want to get rid of it. Personally, a little buzz doesn't bother me much. Sometimes it can be cool!
     
  4. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Thanks for the continued input.
    I'll definitely get a measurement on that height when I get it back. Yeah it's still at my buddy's house, but I should be getting it this Friday.
    I'm not sure exactly how much buzz is left on the bass, because I haven't had a chance to play it yet. I just know on even my Spector Legend 5 there isn't any buzz from the 5th fret down, and that's a $600 bass as compared to my Modulus!

    Maybe the guy just doesn't know how to adjust it right and that's why he think it could be in the need of "planing", but as was said, this composite stuff is pretty tough, and after 2 years of minimal playing, no way. Modulus' QC I know is better than that.

    Anyhow, will post an update when I get it back and then see where I need to go from there!

    Thanks again-

    RSB
     
  5. Maybe the nut's to small for the thicker strings (the new B string should be thicker than the original E, right?)? So I would contact modulus and ask them if there's any problems with stringing a E-C with B-G strings. If there is, they might have a replacement for the nut.

    Please note that I'm a total noob when it comes to 5-string basses and fretless. I have never owned a 5-string nor fretless. So this is just my thoughts on the subject. Do also forgive my english since I'm from Finland.
     
  6. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Actually this is what I had suggested to the guy who had it strung tenor and he affirmed that it might and is probably the next thing to try. I can get a set of 3 from Modulus for like $20.
    But just to be clear it is and was originally a B-G setup, he just strung it high, E-C. I have a feeling when I get it in and inspect the board and find it fine, this will be the issue.
     
  7. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Ok, just an update...

    I got the bass back this weekend.

    As I said, I suspected that the fretboard was totally intact and it was. It's a graphite/phenolic board, and yeah you can see a teeny bit of wear, but when running your finger even slightly over the board, there's no grooves or scalloping to be found. Like, even friggin' close!

    So, step 2 was the strings. I've never played DR Sunbeams before (the non-nickels), but they were recommended by the guy who had this bass (in his closet-which is why I know the board wasn't worn out), so I got a pair b/c I didn't like how my Elixirs sounded on it. I think they just needed some stretching out after the initial setup. When I threw them on there after it'd been setup for E-C, there was lots of buzz/flopping, but not really anymore. I think they just needed some stretching out a bit because I got it home, and most of the buzz is gone. There's a bit, but I think it's mostly b/c of my technique, which isn't very well adapting to the fretless bass, I'm finding out...

    So, no adjustments yet I don't think. However the B I have on there is a .125 and Modulus cut the nut for a .130, so that may be something too, I'm not sure.


    And Joshua- tell me what I need to measure and I'll get on that for ya. I totally suck and know ZIP about setting up/adjusting a bass!
     
  8. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Ok man, I checked it out and first of all, I really don't like these DR Sunbeams. I hope to be changing them whenever I get a chance in the next week or two. That's some of it, I think.

    Second, I did your test and yeah, you can't see any space with the naked eye really and when I "tap" with my thumb on the about 12th fret, as it's a 24 fret job, it just clanks- no note or noise or anything.
    Also, I'm noticing that the buzz is really only pronounced on the 7th and 8th frets. I'm not sure if this has to do with your theory of needing more relief or what, but, I was playing up and down the neck for about half an hour looking for buzz, and that's mostly where it was.

    Let me know your next helpful step!! :)
     
  9. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Ok ok, I totally misunderstood there. yeah, it seemed like a bit of a reach with my pinkie on the 24th fret! ;)

    I will test that when I get home this evening and re-post my findings.

    And to answer your question, no, only the B and E string really buzzes at all on the 7/8th frets. And if I bend the B a little bit when hitting that F#, the buzz goes away. It's kinda weird, so i donno. :(
     
  10. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Ok, I just checked it out, and I think a lot of this is the strings.
    A lot more frets buzz when I pull it out of the case and first start jammin' on it, but when I've played it for maybe 10, 15 minutes, it's like the buzz goes away on the other frets (besides the main problem ones).

    I performed your "test", and you'd be hard pressed to fit a piece of paper underneath the string.

    I want to like fretless, I really do, but this is kind of irritating. :( I may just have to bite the bullet and send it to Modulus when I have some free time to see if they can do something to help out.
     
  11. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    I will do that.

    I love the body and finish of this bass, as well as the Aggy 3-band pre and EMG pickups. It's gonna be a shame if I can't get the buzz issue solved...

    My manual is at my apt (i'm housesitting) so i'll get it tomorrow and see which way I turn to add relief and see what's up.
     
  12. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Ok, so I busted out the Allen wrenches and went to work on the neck just a little bit.

    Made it flatter, buzz got worse. Put it back to where it was, about the same as before. Gave a tad more relief, sounded good but not 100%. Gave just a hair more, and it was too much. So, went with the tad more relief and I got a lot of it out.

    So I think I'm ok for right now. If when I put on some new strings it doesn't resolve to my liking, I'm gonna get a nut re-cut and installed. If THAT doesn't fix it, well, I'm going back to fretted. :)

    Not that there's anything wrong with the bass at all, I just can't get it set up to how I like it and that bugs me. And I don't want to ship it back and forth all over the country trying to see if anyone can get it "exactly" how I like cause that's just a waste.
    I may be a fretted only player after all! :)
    However, I might just get a fretted neck for this thing and swap them out if I was to do some serious recording or something.
    This Modulus is just the F amazing.
     
  13. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Also true. Good point.

    I will get in contact with them next week and see if I can get some sort of resolution going on here.
    I'm just worried about their lead time, as I want it to be "fixed" to how I like it, but we're playing all summer and I don't want it sitting in a shop waiting to have some nit-picky "issues" worked out when I could be maximizing 99% of the bass' usefulness.

    At any rate, first thing is the strings. I need to see how much wear the coated (can't be much, though right?) DR strings do.
    A set of Black Beauties on this natural finish would look DAYUM hot!! :D

    Also, the guy who I got it from has been helpful and he said even his Fodera has buzzes at certain spots. Is this true of ALL fretless basses? I find that somewhat hard to swallow as I play the $700 off the wall Warwick Corvette fretless 4 that's always in there and it doesn't buzz at all, and that doesn't even have fretlines to get "close to exactly" what the notes should be...

    But yeah I'm goin' to the top next. And if this doesn't work out, a fretted Mod is in order, I do believe. ;)
     

Share This Page