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Fretless with fretlines : inlayed or painted ?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by NJXT, Feb 7, 2001.


  1. NJXT

    NJXT

    Jan 9, 2001
    Lyon, FRANCE
    The inlayed lines are "hearable" ?

    Does a fretless bass with inlayed lines sound bad compared to a "real" fretless neck ?

    What cheap fretless bass has painted lines ?

    Is the MIM Fretless Jazz Bass with lines painted or inlayed ?

    PS : I don't wana go with a fretless without lines for a start, so please, don't suggest it ;)
     
  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    >The inlayed lines are "hearable" ?
    NO

    >Does a fretless bass with inlayed lines sound bad compared to a "real" fretless neck ?
    NO

    >What cheap fretless bass has painted lines ?
    Ashbory?? <g> Never seen a "normal" production fretless with painted lines, though that doesn't mean there hasn' been some. Bad idea, conceivably with roundwounds you could eat your lines away. Not gonna happen with the Ashbory <g>

    >Is the MIM Fretless Jazz Bass with lines painted or inlayed ?
    Inlaid to my knowledge

    PS : I don't wana go with a fretless without lines for a start, so please, don't suggest it
    OK, if you insist. The dots on the sides are enough for me.
     
  3. MIM Fretless Jazz has inlaid lines.

    You can't hear them. Painted lines would wear pretty quicky.

    You don't want to go without lines. I can understand your logic, but as the owner of a lined fretless, I can tell you that what will happen is that you will end up practicing with your eyes shut anyway. I never look at the lines on my bass, and frankly, I wish they weren't there now. I could maybe see them being useful for about 2 days to a new fretless player.

    Fretless is played with your ears, not your eyes. You have to listen a whole lot more with a fretless.


    Actually....now that I'm thinking about it...painted lines that wear out after a few weeks of playing would be the best idea, since you don't really use them after that anyway.

    When I need to, I'm going to replace my MIM fretness with one that has an unlined fingerboard.

    Just my opinions, abuse them as you see fit.

    FF

     
  4. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    When I was thinking about lined/unlined, I found out that there is a 3rd option, and I went for it. Both of my fretless basses have lines (inlaid), but only under the E string. When you play, you can't really see the entire fingerboard anyway, just the very top. With these partial lines, my fretless looks just like fretted to me when I play.

    For the audience, it looks unlined ;)
     
  5. NJXT

    NJXT

    Jan 9, 2001
    Lyon, FRANCE
    Ok, thx for the answers guys.
    I might try an unlined one.

    Brooks : what is your bass with lines under the E string ?
     
  6. Mine has lines only on the side of the fingerboard and dots between the G and D string on every note from the 12ve fret up, with the 12ve and 24th frets having bigger dots. Works great. It's a F ba$$.
     
  7. Rockinjc

    Rockinjc

    Dec 17, 1999
    Michigan
    Lines no lines you still have to get used to your ears doing the job of making sure you are playing the right note. This involves constantly comparing the note from the bass with the note you have in your head... a good thing. You wont be much of a bass player until you have a picture (sound) in your mind of your hands on the neck and what notes you are trying to play.

    An alternative to buying a lined bass might be using a pencil to mark where the frets go or at least some of the frets. This will quickly fade and back to the fretless look when you are ready.

    If you got to look, use a mirror.

    John
     
  8. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    NJXT, one of them is a Rick Turner Electroline 35PM Custom, the other an early '70s Hohner.
     
  9. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Bob, most unlined basses do have a dot for each fret position on the side of the neck, but not the Cort Artisan.

    I almost bought one of these, but it only has position dots, like the position markers on a regular fretboard, only on the side of the neck.

    I practice with a tuner, but without those dots where the frets would be, I would have a hard time even getting in the neighborhood without some kind of roapmap. Of course, I know that you guys who play the doghouse don't have position markers at all, although I have heard stories of players who put some kind of label or marking for hand positions.
     
  10. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    >Of course, I know that you guys who play the doghouse don't have position markers at all, although I have heard stories of players who put some kind of label or marking for hand positions.

    Yes, but if you are caught with such markings, the Double Bass Police will come and take the instrument away. ;-)

    Actually, I understand Edgar Meyer has dots on the front of his fingerboard in the upper positions, and he seems to be doing alright. I simply have enough sense to stay away from those upper regions where my intonation "wanders" ;-)

    I've never seen a fretless bass with a side dot at every "non-fret", but instead with the same (1) 3 5 7 9 12... positions as a fretted instrument but where the fret would be -- though I've also seen originally fretless basses where the dots are where they would be if it were fretted - not a good idea IMHO.

    I have recommended those new fretless players, with unlined boards, who feel the need for the training wheels (no slight or insult intended) put a thin line (auto pinstripe tape is good) at the top edge of their neck where the fingerboard and neck join. Same tape can be used on the front of an URB fingerboard, and you can get darker colored tape that doesn't stand out so evidently.
     
  11. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Lines or no lines?

    Gary Willis has lines, Jaco had lines (defretted J bass), good enough for me :D!

    Truth is that you will play with your ears if you're doing it right, lines or not. Lines give you the advantage of being able to start a note at least within a reasonable approximation of in tune, but you still gotta get THERE with your ears. Once I start playing, I'm listening, not looking so much (despite the apparant photographic evidence to the contrary ;) ).

    My fretless is lined, for the same reason Jaco's was, it used to be fretted. My next fretless may not have them, but I'll make that decision when the time comes, not now.
     
  12. Hey Brooks, how does your Electroline sound? I know it must
    be good, but, I was thinking of getting one of them(won't
    be for a while) with the piezo and magnetic pickups. Have
    you heard/seen, now Carvin is offering their Basses that
    way; regular pickups with a piezo bridge. They're callin'
    it the P-option or something like that. If you could give a
    short report on your bass' sound, I'd appreciate it.

    Thanks,
    Mike J.
     
  13. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Michael, I'll try. First of all, my Electroline is a custom model. It has 35" scale (same as the 5-string version). I also had Mike Lull add a Bart 9J in the bridge position, and a blend knob, so that now I have two blends - one between the 2 magnetic pups (Diamond T and the Bart), and another between these pups and the piezo.

    With piezo alone, sound can best be described as very 'accoustic' and 'woody'. If you finger the notes close to the edge of the fingerboard they swell up in volume ('blossom' ?), with nice mwahh.

    Bart sounds a lot like a Jazz bass with bridge pup soloed, but would benefit from a preamp and more 'punch'. Diamond T pup sounds a lot like a P-bass..'thick' and 'creamy'. Electroline is very responsive to the technique, and the wood on mine is light and resonant (oiled ash). It's kinda hard to describe sounds...hope this will do.