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height of frets - effects sound ??

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Asaf, Jan 3, 2004.


  1. Asaf

    Asaf

    Jun 9, 2003
    Israel
    Hi everybody,

    i have a bass that sounds like the warwicks - a kinda wood sounding bass, i don't know really how to describe it. but the thing i refinished it
    and yet it still has that sound. (it was with a bad oil finish).
    anyway, some guy told me that the height of the frets makes the strings sound like that,
    is it true ??
    i know i gave my j-bass to some local luthier and he leveled my frets and the sound was much clear afterwards.

    thanks,
    and sorry for my bad english...
     
  2. Asaf

    Asaf

    Jun 9, 2003
    Israel
    anyone please ?
     
  3. Bass

    Bass

    Nov 10, 2003
    Canada
    I've never heard of fret height affecting sound. To me, fret height, width and shape affect how the neck feels and plays, not how it sounds. If your luthier dressed the frets and it sounded "clearer", my guess is he put on new strings.

    Also, I'm not convinced the finish affects the sound much either. The type of wood affects the sound more than how its finished.

    Change pickups for a quick & easy change in sound.

    Disclaimer: I'm no pro, so take the above for what it's worth.
     
  4. mslatter

    mslatter

    Apr 8, 2003
    The finish can definitely make a difference. Over the course of 24 years, my single Jazz bass has had a lacquer, a polyurethane, and an enamel finish, and each had its own tonal characteristics - subtle, though not terribly so. You could hear the resonant differences just by rapping on the bass with your knuckle and a good deal of what you heard made it through the pickups.

    Frankly, I liked the bass best when it was entirely unfinished. I strung it up for fun, and, man, did the body just sing. It sounded so open and complex. The enamel left some of this newfound complexity, but attenuated it to some degree as well. The enamel is only about 8 months old, and is not holding up well, so I wouldn't recommend it, unless you absolutely MUST have a chalkboard bass like mine. What? What's everyone looking at? What??!?!?
     
  5. Asaf

    Asaf

    Jun 9, 2003
    Israel
    yeah man !! you are so right !! after the luthier gave the bass a polyurethane finish it sounded much more open (the sound) but i changed the pickups and the bridge as well, and the bridge is a little higher then the crap i had before so the g string is a little bit high in the high register (although the height of the saddle is at the lowest point) and i think that's part of the problem combined with the height of the frets in the 12-24 frets area.
    the luthier offered me to give the neck a little bit more height at the neck joint by adding a piece of wood - that way the g string will be more loss - is this a good idea ?

    thanks,
    Asaf.

    p.s - check out the modified bass (pic attached)
     
  6. Asaf

    Asaf

    Jun 9, 2003
    Israel
    another one...
     
  7. mslatter

    mslatter

    Apr 8, 2003
    Sure, changing the bridge can change the angle that the strings ride in relation to the neck. A higher bridge means more angle; a lower one means less. Optimally, when the bridge is set at its lowest, you want the strings to just touch the frets. That'll give you plenty of adjustability. If you can lower the bridge all the way without the strings touching, you've got a problem. The way to fix that on a bolt-on is with a neck shim - essentially a piece of wood cut to fit between the neck and the body, thus raising and/or angling the neck enough so that the strings ride appropriately over the fretboard. Whether you want the shim permanently laminated to the back of the neck is question of whether you think you'll change the bridge again.
     
  8. Asaf

    Asaf

    Jun 9, 2003
    Israel
    well, i did some job on the saddle and got it lower gave the truss rod some adjusment and put on 045-105 +125 B string and the bass sounds great and feels great.
    i also did some job on the nut so that the strings will sit in a good angle,
    and now everything is ok.
    thanks a lot for your time !!!