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 Setup Q

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Bass2x, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. Bass2x


    Jul 25, 2005
    Looking to setup a new (to me) fretless custom J...
    Had the action lowered (nut filed) and set the board nearly flat. Trying to find a balance between the fretless sound (string/board contact) and good sustain. Is there a general rule of thumb for this?
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    For a medium attack, id set the neck almost straight, lower the action until the upper notes begin to get choked sounding, raise it a tidbit until that stops.
  3. Bass2x


    Jul 25, 2005
    Thanks, Fig, that's about where I stopped messin with it last night. Just playin today, gettin the feel... like the setup ok, but it's not there yet... trying to decide on chatter vs mwah vs action. I'll give it another day, then start tweakin again.

    I notice some areas of the neck (different stings in different areas) have more mwah than others... is this a result of string height?

    I'd like to play lightly, Josh, but when the band is cookin, I tend to start pumpin with the flow, pullin with the energy... I try to leave enough volume headroom on the bass so that doesn't happen... but it still does, on the rockers anyway.
  4. I'm not saying this will work for everyone, but I love it:

    Neck set as straight as I can get it, string height (I'm in love with my TI Jazz Flats) established at the nut as just a little bit more that 1/16 of an inch, and kept at that height for the whole length of the board. Pluck near the neck for bunches of mwah, near the bridge for that super snappy Jaco-esque thing that only a fretless can truly bring.
  5. I have gotten very good results using the flat of my finger to get a "mwah" effect that everyone seems to be obsessed about. There are many articles and readings saying that using the point of your finger gets you better intonation because the less contact you have with the fingerboard. I'm assuming having more fingerboard contact gets you more vibrato/mwah.
    Bass2x- for what you are trying to achieve I think others might agree with me on here that it is all personal preference. I love my action super low on my fretted, I like it a bit higher on my fretless. Some might say differently, but it's personal preference. As for sustain, theres nothing you can really do. I have bone as my nut but once I finger the fretboard it really doesn't matter what you have.

    Like Jaco said, "It's all in the fingers."

    Good luck but for sustain try bone or wood, I hear wood gets more even sound out of the fretless compared to fingerboard contact.