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frettless bass building..

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Elftorp, May 18, 2005.

  1. Elftorp


    May 18, 2005
    Hello there!

    I´m going to make a fretless 4-stringed electric bass, kind of violinshaped.. I want a "cello-sound".. should I then use a neck-through or a bolt-on neck? and for that acoustic cello-sound should I make chambers? and what wood for body and neck to help with the sound and stability? I will use flamed maple for the top.

    I´m sure I will come up with more questions as time goes.. =)

    (note that this is my first bass, I´ve made some acoustic and electric guitars before.. see webpage..)

    Thankful for all the answers I get! ..any suggestions are welcome!
  2. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    Use a set neck. That's how they make celli (fancy Italian plural form of the equally-Italian word violoncello, shortened to cello). And yes, use f-holes (they don't have to be traditionally-shaped, but I think it looks cleaner). And I would use maple for the body, and quartersawn maple for the neck. The strap button placement is going to be an issue - those violin-style basses have horrible neck dive. And although I like flamed maple, I can't picture it for this style of bass; but hey, it's your bass, so do what you want.

    Oh, and use an ebony fingerboard. I cannot stress that enough. All of the celli I have ever played in the eight years I played (and once I get an instrument, will start up again) have had ebony fingerboards. They're hard, smooth, durable, and they sound really good. Additionally, all you really need to take care of them is lemon oil.
  3. Elftorp


    May 18, 2005
    Thanks! I´ll give it some thought!
  4. make it longer scale and the upper register will sound like a cello.
  5. you will not get a cello sound unless you build a full hollow (not chambered) archtop bass. Like those ones Bill Moll builds:


    Also, if you use magnetic pickups you're not getting a cello sound either. Use a piezo either on the soundboard (near the bridge) or on the actual bridge saddle.

    That's just my opinion.
  6. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    You will only achive acoustic sound with a true acoustic body.

    The closest you can get is by Wilser's advise, but be assured that you will not get a true cello sound.
  7. Elftorp


    May 18, 2005
    Thanks all for great suggestions!
    Now I´m pretty much sure how I`m gonna proceed..
  8. hervetlse


    Jan 25, 2002
    france toulouse
    hello Elftorp, i agree with Wilser too, look at my thread about how to make a fretted electro-acoustic bass, a semi-fretless one, and i can tell you i have an electric fretless bass, but the cello sound, you'll find it much more with an acoustic body, my semi-fretless acoustic bass almost sound like an upright, so to say!!! if this can help you find the best solution. Yours. hervé. :bassist:
  9. Elftorp


    May 18, 2005
    Thank you!
    Well, I know I would get the acoustic sound with an acoustic body of course, but I know I will make an electric one, and my question in the beginning of the thread was more to get ideas on what to use for wood and if chambers are a good idea.. maybe I can´t really get as close to cellosound as I would´ve liked.. I think it will work fine anyway for my customer aka my dad.. ;-)

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