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HALF fretless?!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Stanley Design, Nov 5, 2003.

  1. Has anyone ever tried this? Would it work at all or just wreck everything? Like if someone decide to defret their bass and only defretted the upper half of the fretboard or something. If any of this is possible. Would you use flatwounds or roundwounds? I would guess flatwounds?:cool:
  2. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I remember, years ago when I was in Hawaii, I saw a guy with a 6 string that was fretted up the the 7th fret and fretless after that. He had a luthier put on an 'extra' fingerboard from the 7th fret up that was the thickness of a fret, so that there wasn't a change in action. It sounded great, and the guy who played it sayed it felt great.
  3. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Alphonso Johnson had a bass in the 80's that was fretless above the 12th fret.
  4. Kramer used to offer 4 kinds of fingerboard styles for a short time in the late 70s.

    They were:
    1) Regular fretted
    2) Unlined fretless
    3) Lined fretless
    4) Fretted to the 12th fret, then unlined fretless beyond that.

    I believe #4 is very rare today.

  5. That's how gamba's are made so it's definately possible. If you could make it work for your music I think it'd be pretty cool.
  6. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    It would seem to me that it would be better to have the upper octave fretted, and the lower fretless. Would probably be a setup nightmare, though.
  7. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    That wouldn't work because if you played a note on the fretless part, the string would hit the frets.
  8. Yeah. That'd be a real hard note to miss. ;)
  9. Killdar


    Dec 16, 2002
    Portland Maine
    not if there was a raised part under the fretless or the fretted part set lower.

    I think it would be cool to have a 6 string with a fretless C and F, EADG fretted until the 12th. The groove strings would be fretted for accuracy, and the rest could be used for solo-ish type stuff.
  10. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    That is much more feasable, and has been done before I believe.
  11. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    How about this bass? Low B and E fretted, A-G fretless, C and F fretted.


  12. Joe Turski

    Joe Turski

    Jul 29, 2003
    Thats cool as hell! I wonder how it plays?
  13. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    I've actually seen this done before, and it isn't that big of a "technical strecth"....althought I do think the design would negatively impact playablity. Usually, the lower half is fretted, and the upper register is fretless. This makes sense because you need more definition in the lower register, and you usually can't destinguish between fretted or fretless low notes anyway. The mway you get when playing in the upper register is where the fretless thing really excells. Also, the frets in the 3-5-7 position don't matter because the string is fretted at, say...the 10th fret. The eliptical vibration of the string is between the 10th fret and the bridge....everything "behind" the 10th fret doesn't matter, just like everything past the nut doesn't matter when you play an open string.
    While the action could be set "normal" for a standard fretted bass, the action would probably be a little high for the upper register because the strings would be just that much farther away from the fretboard so that you don't have string buzzing issues over the frets, etc. You probably don't see it very often for a reason , but it wouldn't be that difficult to do at all.
  14. Jerry Ziarko

    Jerry Ziarko Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    There must have been five types. I had one of these in the early 80's that was fretted to the 12th, and lined fretless the rest of the way. In therory it was a cool idea, however I never really took full advantage of it. One plus side was there was no fret buzz whatsoever, but since the neck was aluminum reinforced, it was a bear to keep in tune. Any change in temperature from friction or AC made this particular bass act screwey. Needless to say I didn't keep it long.

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