Hi all, I went to a local luthier to ask about building me a custom bass guitar. The luthier took his time with me, explained a lot of things to me. He thought about the general idea I had in mind and gave me a (not exact) quote. (Wich was a fair price.) But there are several issues I still need to think about. First let me explain what I'm after. A fretless 4-string. I play mostly metal, so that's the first odd thing. I play clean with no overdrive or distortion, so I need a good solid tone from the bass. Heavy yet clean. I prefer a sharp and cold tone from a bass. Although I play fretless, I'm not into all the "mwah", there is more to fretless than only "mwah". 1st issue: wood of the body My first idea was an all maple body and neck (ebony fingerboard). But what do I know, I thought that the heaviest most dense wood would give me a great "heavy" tone. The luthier adviced me that ash is more suitable for the body and that maple would be good for the neck. There must be some reason to this, since there are a lot ash-body basses and completely maple is seldom heard of. Or am I wrong? Could an all maple bass be good, or am I walking into a mindfield with this? Plus also: most say ash has better grain and would look more beautiful since I'm leaving it natural. 2nd issue: bolt-on vs. neck-through The luthier adviced me to go with bolt-on instead of neck-through. Especially for fretless, due to maintainance and adjustment. And I shouldn't be worried about sustain with a bolt-on. I searched this site on this issue, an a lot of TBers seem to agree with what my luthier said. Neck-through seems a little bit more an aesthetic issue. 3rd issue: 34" vs. 35" I always played 34" and always was comfortable with it. Would 35" give me a more solid tone due to higher string tension. Well, I guess I can research on that here on TB, I assume this has been discussed a lot. 4th issue: pickups Well, I'm a simple man who likes simple things. My first thought was just a simple P-style pickup near the neck. Since I have good experiences with this simple "configuration". Or J-style pickups like a traditional jazzbass of JJ/J config like some Warwicks. I used to have a MIM Fender fretless jazz but I could never dial in the desired sound I want from the the two J's. I played enough basses with humbuckers or active soapbars to know that I personally don't like thos pick ups. (Perhaps this question deserves a thread in the pickup and electronics forum.) 5th issue: the actual shape of the body and head Yeah this is a biggie. The luthier can build any shape I want, yet I have no inspiration. And I have no drawing skills at all. (Well, I can draw nice stick-bodies.) The luthier doesn't have a signature shape. Mostly he has done copies of traditionall basses (precision, jazz,...). (Okay, at this point I must say that the luthier mostly builds acoustic guitars. But he can do anything and I tried two of his basses.) So shape: I know what I like when I see it, but I can't draw something. I want something subtle, but beautiful off course. Something between traditional like a jazz bass and something a bit "metal". Inspiration welcome.