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Help me build my Clement fretless!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by brlottermann, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. brlottermann


    May 14, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Hey guys,
    I'm really interested in getting a Clement fretless bass, but I don't really know where to begin. I know for sure that I want a classic body style in a dark wood with a nice grain (I'll leave it natural/unpainted). The wood should give a nice, full tone with good sustain and a defined sound, though I'm quite inexperienced and can't decide which wood will give me that sound. What other components are there to the Tom Clement basses that I must decide on before placing an order?

    Thanks, I hope I don't sound too naive with this vague post. I'm just looking for some direction, as I am a huge fan of Tom Clements work.
  2. Talk to Tom C about it if you haven't already. He will guide you by giving you, first-hand, enough insight to help you make the right choices for YOU. That's how it went when I had a bass built by someone else, and I imagine Tom Clement being the same.

    Asking TBers is a good idea, but you'll find out what TBers want in a bass whereas Tom will help you get what YOU want.

    I didn't know he made painted basses.:confused:
  3. j.kernodle


    Nov 23, 2008
    Charleston, SC
    Tom is a very helpful guy and will steer you straight. since you want a classic body shape id recommend a Kim. walnut and padauk would be good wood choices for darker colors. walnut being browner, padauk being more on the reddish side.
  4. Tat2dHeart

    Tat2dHeart Only two strings away from an attitude problem.

    Just tell Tom what sound/look you want and he'll help you out. He's good people. Very good people. He won't steer you wrong.
  5. brlottermann


    May 14, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Okay thanks, I'll try to contact him directly. Is he on TB or should I send him a private email?
  6. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA

    GODSBASSMAN Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    S. Carolina
    ash body with walnut top and back would be nice for you I would think. Any more info on your choice?
  8. LanEvo


    Mar 10, 2008
    Personally, I'm a huge fan of a korina/limba or mahogany bodies with a figured top (koa is nice).

    For necks, I still think maple is the top choice. I've got one bass with a wenge/purpleheart neck and that's pretty sweet, too. But maple is tough to beat.
  9. loopee

    loopee Supporting Member

    May 12, 2009
    Surrey, B.C. Canada
    quite a few years ago I had decided to get Tom to build me a bass....at first I was quite unsure of what I wanted but finally made my choices but then I had to sell a couple of guitars so I could afford having my bass built......that's about when the economy went down for the count and I just couldn't sell my guitars but kept telling Tom I was really trying to get the $$ for his bass....more than a year went by but I was still keeping in contact with him so he'd know I was serious about it and then I finally got the $$ and was ready to send it to him so I turned on my PC and went to my emails and saw I had one email from him......it read......I've decided not to build your bass.........I was really saddened by his decision, especially when I finally had the $$ in my hands to send to him and was really looking forward to having one of his basses...I never really understood why he'd made that decision and am really sorry he did.....I've since had 2 custom basses handmade for me and am now looking for a fretless but I'm a little afraid to contact him again.........he really broke my heart and I still have no clue why....I was always nice to him in my emails.......maybe he just ran out of patience? Not my fault the economy went bad when it did...........!

    GODSBASSMAN Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    S. Carolina
    As a fan, owner, player and customer of Tom and his basses perhaps you asked for something he did not or could not do. He is honest about his business and sometimes what we ask for are beyond his current abilities. Have patience and ask later on. He at one time did not do buckeye - but now does. Didnt do 6 string basses fretted, now he does. I am sure he did not turn your request down out of spite. It was some other reason...
  11. bass5str


    Jun 27, 2010
    i'd have to echo what godsbassman said. i've worked with him on four builds over the years and will once i'm able to build up my stable again:bassist:

    tom is an great guy to work with and will tell you what will work, what won't and why. sometimes that is a matter of our dream not being feasible which is not only a matter of wood plus options, but build timeline.

    to the op...

    1) i would reach out to tom

    2) i suggest hitting up the club clement thread. we are a helpful bunch and have varied opinions

    3) i would suggest getting a better feel for more general areas (i.e., body style, weight, # of strings, fretted/fretless).

    4) keeping this short and ducking to hopefully not create a heated thread but... in general wood will sound as wood sounds.
    there are "loose" tonal flavors but way too much variance between (and within) species to try and pinpoint a specific sound. :bag:

    5) don't forget about build, body, neck, fb, fingers, pups, electronics. they play a HUGE role in the sustain/tone outcome

    6) having said that imho your description "sustain" "defined" & "full" may lead you to solid body vs chambered/hollow, active electronics and generally speaking heavier/denser woods.

    7) classic body style sounds more like a double cut but check em all out.

    hope this helps. start with 1 & 2 and take the rest as friendly advice :cool:
  12. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Sorry things got messed up back then. I honestly don't remember the situation. Like was said above I do a few things now that I didn't a few years ago. Let me know if you want to give it a go again. If not I understand. Take care man. t
  13. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    There is no magic wood combination that is going to be great for every single person. That being said, the wood combination on my fretless (black limba bocy and neck, zirocote board) would probably nail what you are after. You could easily swap for a maple neck, but I love the look and feel of black limba.

    Here's mine:





  14. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    After reading this, if it were me, I wouldn't build you a bass either. The economy isn't to blame, YOU are. You should have the money in your hand before you contact anyone for a business transaction.
  15. NWB


    Apr 30, 2008
    Kirkland, WA
    I think all the good advise has been dispensed here already. I'll just add that my Clement fretless is an absolute delight and I'm sure you'll love your new bass when it's done.
  16. owendavis


    Jan 12, 2011
    Wow thats a little strange, so he randomly sent an email saying he didn't want your business, in a bad economy? for a luxury item? seems like that person would be out of business by now... But Tom is still in business and then everyone else here raves about how cool the guy is....
  17. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    And what conclusion can you draw from that...??

    You don't stay in business wasting your time catering to the fantasies of tire-kickers and flakes.
  18. loopee

    loopee Supporting Member

    May 12, 2009
    Surrey, B.C. Canada
    Thanks Tom......have no clue what happened....I'm sorry if it was something I said or did though it was a long time ago and I really don't remember much about it, other than here I was with money in hand and you were gone....so I'm looking at fretlesses now but I want to try a cheap one first to see if I can stay with it and if I can I'll be contacting you for one......I have the $$ this time so it'll just be the choices of wood, etc, and then order it right away......thanks


  19. loopee

    loopee Supporting Member

    May 12, 2009
    Surrey, B.C. Canada
    Really?? It normally takes a little while to first choose the wood, FB, etc so you contact the builder and start making your choices and take notice of the builder's suggestions, that might take a couple of weeks, so you put some instruments for sale on CL, etc....you expect to sell these instruments within a few weeks, then everyone loses their jobs thanks to our "wonderful" governments and no one buys your instruments.....you tell the builder that you still want to be a customer and owner of one of his instruments but the $$ you thought you'd have is not materializing.......

    I'm sorry I'm not a rich person.....maybe you could give me some $$ since you have so much you don't understand what it's like for those of us who don't.....

    Or were you just being sarcastic?


  20. loopee

    loopee Supporting Member

    May 12, 2009
    Surrey, B.C. Canada
    really"? Now I'm a tire kicker and a flake.....?????

    Who the (*&(&( are you to talk to me like that?

    I've had 2 new custom hand made basses made for me before then and 2 more since then
    (which should have been one of Tom's) but I got someone else to build them for me......I'm not a flake smcd