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fretless recommendations/ adding one fret to a fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by thump326, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. thump326


    Apr 30, 2004
    Hey everyone. I'm thinking about purchasing a fretless bass. Anyone got some recommendations? How are the fretless Warwicks?

    The only fretless bass (other than an upright) I have had experience with is a Carvin. I didn't much care for its thin neck. I like the feel of my Warwick Thumb Bolt-on (fretted).

    Also, I've heard that installing a fret at the very end of a fretless fingerboard will give it a "fretted sound" when slapped aggressively, but will unaffect its natural tone when played fingerstyle. Anyone know about this?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    That's a new one. Never heard of that one before. I could see the fretted sound happening on the first fret if there's only one fret. If you want that sound, play fretted.

    I don't see any reason for just one fret. Maybe somebody else knows.
  3. Skorzen


    Mar 15, 2002
    Springfield MA
    It sounds like what your talking about is adding a fret at the 24th fret position or something similar. The problem I see with this is that all the other(ie fretless) notes will be freted on a lower plane and I think you would get alot of buzz off that last fret. Imagine having your 24th fret on a fretted bass twice as tall as the other 23 :meh: If you don't like the sound of a fretless slapped than get a fretted. I wouldent let that be the deciding factor on a bass for me there is more to life(especially on a fretless) than slapping.

    As far as Warwick fretlesses go I have liked the few that I have played, but I do feel they are over priced. It's kinda become a name like fender; you pay for the name not the product. I think a lakland skyline fretless would be a much better bass for about the same money.
  4. thump326


    Apr 30, 2004
    I agree with you, Skorzen, that there is way more to life than slapping. I actually prefer fingerstyle. I just think it would be neat to have that percing sound of fretted slap combined with freedom to break 12 tone scales, which can only be achieved with fretless instruments. Kinda breaking new ground.

    Alas, you're probably right about getting buzz all the time, unless the action was ridiculouslly high. Plus, there's probably effects out there that could achieve the same sorta sound.

    Thanks for the Lakland recommendation. I'll definitley check those out when I get a chance. How do those Lakland necks feel? The thing I like about my Warwick is how the neck is thicker. I feel like I have to work harder to fret notes on thin necks.
  5. Skorzen


    Mar 15, 2002
    Springfield MA
    It's been awhile since I played a Lakland Skyline, but from what I remember the neck was in between a P an a J, but that was also on a 5. I was very impressed with the laklands I played, but thats me. Really all anyone here can do is make recomendations on what they like. I personally don't care for Warwicks, but that doesent mean that they are bad basses they just don't do it for me. Just go out and play as many as you can, with a fretless that is harder, but find what you like.

    I personally tend to lean towards a slightly thicker neck, some of the thin necks I have played just felt like there was nothing there.
  6. kobass

    kobass Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Outside Boston
    You may want to try a Pedulla Buzz. They are pricey new, but there are always good prices on used ones. They have a polyester-coated ebony fretboard. You could slap away all day long on some roundwounds if you wanted to.
  7. There's a bass by (I think) Browne Guitars or something like that that's fretted for the first 6 or 8 frets, then fretless in the middle, then fretted for the last 6 or 8 the a 24 fret neck. Search that one out- it may answer some or all of your questions.
    Be encouraged- when you get a lot of criticism, you're probably onto something!
  8. nemo


    Mar 19, 2004
    I have seen it. My friend did it on his bass. That fret was on the end of fingerboard and was flattened (to like 0,5-1 mm).
    It is already couple of years ago, so I dont remember him mentioning any problems, but I know that this bass did the fretless job just fine.
  9. I saw a Frenz fretless bass for sale a while back and it had a brass piece covering the end of the neck. It was level with the fretboard, so if you slapped it the string would hit the edge of the brass and would act like a fret, well that's what it was supposed to do. All the rest of the neck would work fine. I never played it so I can't say if it worked or not. If you know of any metal workers a brass piece to your custom design and radius, theoretically would work great. Now I'm tempted to try it on my newly reconstructed fretless. :)
  10. I can't see any problems with a very low profile fret added to the very end of the fingerboard.
  11. Cairobill


    Dec 15, 2003

    I remember a fretless bass purpose built for slapping made by a British luthier called Ashley Pangborn in the late eighties. It had a fretless neck with a metal plate laid into the body end of the fingerboard. The plate was flush so you could either play notes on it or slap on it. It gave a metallic edge to the slap tone and protected the fingerboard...