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! :)

Fretlines: Am I nuts?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bassmanbob, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    I'm in the process of working out the details of a Roscoe fretless fingerboard. Gard from Bass Central and Keith Roscoe have been very patient with me answering questions and sending me e-mail photos of options.

    I want some type of fretline or fretmarker without the fretline being that noticable. I justreally like the look of a bald fret board, but I am concerned about improper intonation without them. The latest is the possibility of a darker fretline other than the white lines. I just want to see a picture of it before I make up my mind.

    I think I'm focussing in on this too much. It's a musical instrument, not a sculpture. What do you guys think?
  2. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Carcassonne, France
    Side dots.
    Nuff said.

  3. NV43345


    Apr 1, 2003
    Is it Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate ? this is the best pic I have. The lines are just a little darker,so if your close you can see them.Sorry I take crappy pictures.
  4. Kheos


    Aug 12, 2002
    I'm planning on making(or let someone else make, I'm not sure yet) my 4 string bass into a fretless one. whoever makes it, it'll be something like you want. I also want semi-visible fretlines. just a tad darker then the fretboard so I'll able to view them, but barely, so I'll allways use them as something to fall back on, instead something I need to view all the time.
    does that make you nuts?
    well, my friends call me nuts all the time, so...
  5. What about half lines like a Zon?

    Its hard to see..but look at the board closely.

  6. Fretless5verfan


    Jan 17, 2002
    I don't think you're focusing on it too much at all. Although it's not a sculpture, it's got to have the visual vibe you want to give you the FULL experience you want from it, right? When i was thinking about getting a fretless roscoe i had the same concern. i really wanted that slick look of the unlied fingerboard, but i doubted i had good enough intonation to be dead on without them.

    I really like what F-basses have in the fact that it's lined on the sides but not on the actual fingerboard. I played one like that the second time i EVER played a fretless and my intonation was at the least acceptable(i jammed with a g***** player and the consensus was that no one heard an out of tune note...they might have been sparing my feelings though hehe).

    MAYBE you could get keith to do something like that? I also saw a Sei (i think) on here, a very sweet one, with dark lines that made it look unlined in some pics. Either way you go, I'd consider it a favor if you kept me posted on how things are going for ya, man. Good luck!
  7. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Keith has provided me with a picture of side dots, but I am afraid that it would be too confusing. Maybe I'm picky and not nuts. No. I'm nuts too.
  8. Fealach

    Fealach Guest

    Apr 23, 2003
    Gone to a better place
    Well, you're not any more nuts than I am. But that's not saying much. Side dots didn't work for me on my first fretless, but I like the unlined look. This is a pic of the bass I bought from Rockcity:


    Lines are actually more subtle in life, tough to see from a few feet away unless the light hits it right. A high end custom instrument is also a sculpture, a work of art anyway. It should sound, play, and look the way that pleases you.
  9. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    Bob, how about something like this?


    ... You really can't see them from the front and you can have the lines be a different color to mark the 3,5,7,9,12,15,17,19,21,24 positions.


    Still looks hip without being too confusing.

  10. j-raj, could we see the whole thing? Pleeeeeease :hyper:
  11. Fretless5verfan


    Jan 17, 2002
  12. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    Sure I guess I could, thought cats on TB were tired of seeing it again... here you go:

    Crappy night-time out-door pic:

    Paduak face and back, Ebony knobs and Cocbolo FB...

    Walnut in the center, sandwiched by Wenge and an additional veneer of Paduak...

    3 Piece Wenge Purpleheart and Wenge neck...

    ...Actually this bass was built by a TB'er that is from ATL: schuyler, here is a progress link:
  13. Fretless5verfan


    Jan 17, 2002
    One word...sweet.
  14. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    I second side dot only.
    I only play unlined fingerboards.
    It's how I learned.
    Now lines confuse me??
    Play with your ears.
  15. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    That's It!!! Only I would want the position markers in between the side fretlines like you would have on a regular bass!!! Now I have to some how show this to either Gard or Keith. Thanks a whole lot!
  16. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I'm not a fan of fretlines. Having a crutch like that can force you to think intonation with your eyes instead of your ears. I feel it's best to not have any markers, so that you focus more on hearing yourself in tune rather than seeing - besides, the fretlines will only be a rough guide; if you play exactly on the lines you'll still be out of tune in certain places.

    Orchestra players don't use markers - why should us toy bassists rely on them?
  17. Fretless5verfan


    Jan 17, 2002
    Did you just miss my post or what, man? :eyebrow: :p
  18. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    Yeah man, you're welcome, anytime...

    Actually I really want that as well on this bass. I might have
    schuyler put them on later, once we start on the next two basses.

    Gard has seen this bass (in person) when he came down to ATL last March, granted I don't expect him to remember it completely with all of the basses that he deals with from day to day.

    Feel free to use any of these pix, I hope that Keith has the oppt'y to make another dream Roscoe for you. How's that 6'er treating you?
  19. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Im on the same boat.

    When Im playing unlinned I just use my ears and muscle memory to guide my hands to the right place, but when I play a linned fretless I spend to much time looking and worrying
  20. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    Lines seem to work fine for Vic. The lines are there but hard to see in this compressed image. Its a dark wood for the lines. I took a Sharpie Marker to the Maple inserts in my fretless board. My NS Design EUB has dots. Alain Caron's Fbass has dots. There was that guy . . . what was his name . . . .Jocko? No . . .Jaco . . . with lines. Get whatever makes you comfortable. There's a pic in BP mag with Bela Fleck and the DB player. Forgot name will edit later. There be position markers on that thar bass.

    Attached Files: