Getting slap out of your frettless

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Gerard Rizzardo, Sep 20, 2000.

  1. It's just an idea, but when you slap on a fretted, obviously that sound and tone comes from the strings hitting the fretts. The fretts doing most of the work are the top two. So, I was just think to get this slap out of your frettless, if you place say 2 fretts at the very high end of the neck, you would be able get that fretted slap when slapping and also that frettless sound when fingering. What do people think ? Or is this a stupid idea ??!!!!
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    The sound would be still more like slapping on a fretless...
    you'd just add some klicking sound. The main factor would still be your fingers on the fretless part of the fingerboard, which produces the typical fretless sound. But these are my 2 cents...haven't tried sth like that, and probably never will...I like slapping on both fretted and fretless and their specific sounds...
  3. If your fretless were setup like most guys like theirs to be - for maximum mwah - those two frets might get in the way of the strings vibrating unencumbered.

    But you are on the track of something I have been thinking about recently. We have begun using a new material (for us) at work and I think it is going to have some application for fretless bass. We are using a phenolic resin in sheet form. Ours happens to be a medium grade phenolic that provides a nice balance of easy workability with lower cost. The neat characteristic this stuff has is it's VERY hard. So I was thinkin'- what if you were to make a fingerboard of this stuff. It would be hard to stand up against string wear and provide a nice bright sound (slap?) and it comes in lots of colors. The ones that were interesting to me were the blacks and naturals. The natural is very much like a maple neck with darkened lacquer. It is easy to work and IMO would do a good job. Probably best of all I'll get what I need FREE!!
  4. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Ham's right, if you put even one fret on the end of the board it will mess with the whole point of having fretless. You'll get a ringing off the fret almost all the time, and on higher notes, you'll likely fret out against it.

    There are a few alternatives that I've seen used in situations like this though. The one that seemed to work best was to have a piece of metal (I've seen brass and stainless steel) inlaid at the very end of the fretboard, but leveled to the same radius as the board itself. Gives you that "twang" of the string hitting metal, without messing with the "mwah" of playing fretless.

    Personally, I play fretless about 90-95% of the time, and slap on it as is, just using the pau ferro of the board. I like the sound well enough, although I do prefer a fretted for slap. If I get the chance to get to it onstage, I usually switch.
  5. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    George Furlanetto of F Bass adds an (optional) strip of metal to the end of a fretless fingerboard for those who want to slap.
  6. It was good to see that other's out there have had similar thoughts. Hambone and Gard thanks for your response. Gard with the metal plate and Hambone with the phenolic idea. Cheers, Rizz
  7. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    There's at least one example of slapped fretless at with the good-lookin' one doing the slapping.