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Help me build my fretless-new Nordstrand

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by emjazz, Aug 17, 2003.


  1. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Ok, I'm having Carey Nordstrand build me a fretless bass. For now all I will say is that it will have chambers in the body. Other than that I have ideas but I am not certain as to what I want. Before I give you my ideas, tell me what makes a great fretless bass in your eyes. I'm looking specifically for wood choices. I havn't played a lot of fretless basses and so maybe you all have more experience with this than I do. Thanks ahead of time for any help.:D
     
  2. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Chambered with limba body
    Wenge neck
    Stabilized ebony fingerboard
    Your choice of gorgeous top ;)

    Peace, JP
     
  3. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    JP, what sort of tone do you perceive this would give you?

    Glad to see you in here. I was hoping to hear your ideas.
     
  4. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Limba is super resonnant with great and defined lows.

    Tight, precise and punchy tone. Lightweight bass.

    Peace, JP
     
  5. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I definately want more of an open tone than what wenge will give me. I also don't like the compressed sound of wenge.

    JP or anyone else, what would the difference between an alder body and a walnut body be for a fretless?
     
  6. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Personally, I agree with JP. Wenge neck on a fretless really shines IMO.
     
  7. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    I wouldn't define my wenge necked basses sound as compresssed. Definitely not.


    To my ears the limba helps to get that open tone you're taking about but that could be just me ;)

    I'd also prefer alder or limba rather than walnut body wood.

    You could go to
    xush's site and listen to the clips he recorded with his fretless Plume bass (black limba body, wenge neck anc macassar ebony board).

    Peace, JP
     
  8. If you liked the tone of wenge, my suggestion would have been very much like JPs (he and I have a lot of the same taste ;) ). Since you don't though, I'd still say go with the stabilized board, either ebony or perhaps something a little more visually striking, depending on what else you're using on the bass.

    I really liked Spanish cedar on the fretless Roscoes, which is very light and resonant like the limba is. You're already familiar with alder, which is also usually on the resonant side, though not as much so as the previous two woods. Walnut is darker and denser--I usually find the dense woods make for more solid low-lows and more sustain (which might be good on a fretless), but don't have quite the same openness and woodiness that the lighter woods do. I don't know how much impact a chambered body has on that, though.

    Anyway, if I were having Carey build a fretless at this point, I'd probably go for a combination of the Spruce Goose and some other fretlesses that I really like: SC with alder or spanish cedar body (chambered), spruce top and flame maple back with black laminations, 1 or 3 piece maple neck with stabilized ebony board and flame maple peghead overlay, single dual-coil humbucker and RMC piezo pickups like GooseYArd's, "violin burst" finish and satin black hardware.

    Mike
     
  9. I would certainly consider a snakewood board. In fact, if I were getting a fretless, I would be hardpressed to change anything about the fretted Nordstrand I have. It has beautiful "singing" tone that would be great on a fretless.

    Jeff
     
  10. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I've been looking at builders who make acoustic basses such as Taylor/Klein and Dave Maize. I've also been looking at those builders who make chambered basses such as Rick Turner and Rob Allen. I've come up with two very different ideas for a fretless bass.

    The first is a 3" thick chambered walnut body, figured red cedar top, and a 3 piece figured maple neck. The fingerboard is undetermined.

    The second is a 2" thick chambered alder body, probably a figured maple or figured myrtle top, 3 piece figured maple neck and a pinkivory wood fingerboard.

    Both basses would be the set neck single cut with Nordstrand dual coils.

    Any thoughts?
     
  11. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    JP, I listened to Marks fretless. What a great sound! It's just not the sound that I'm looking for. Nice job though.
     
  12. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    ;)

    No problem man. Thanks for the nice words. From the two basses you talked, i'd go with the alder body for sure. The 3" walnut body looks just too much for me.

    Peace, JP
     
  13. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    The 3" body wouldn't effect me at all. I sit down to play. I know that David Beasly at Fodera has a 3" thick walnut bodied fretless that he swears by. I also love the Rick Turner Renaissance basses which is what brings me to the walnut.
     
  14. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Judging by your wanting a chambered body, I'm assuming you're leaning more towards an upright-like tone with a quick decay than a Zon-like resonant one. Is that accurate?
     
  15. So, hypothetically, about how much might something like that cost (in a 5 string, 34" scale, shipped to NYC)?
     
  16. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Andrew...

    Ever tried a Padauk neck? This is my second choice for neck wood. It's pretty similar to maple but IMO with greater feel and IME greater stability. It could be a great "in between" for wenge and maple...just a thought.

    Also I know the Beez Elite fodera you're talking about. From what I know, David's bass is not chambered and tis is a 3" thick solid walnut body (ouch!). I hear that you love alder bodied basses...why go an unknown route ;)??

    Peace, JP
     
  17. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Judging by your wanting a chambered body, I'm assuming you're leaning more towards an upright-like tone with a quick decay than a Zon-like resonant one. Is that accurate?
    -------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------

    Actually this isn't true at all. Yes, I'm looking for qualities of an acoustic instrument but the decay won't be quick at all. It really just gives the tone a "wooly", warm tone in the lows. The single cut set neck gives you the resonance in the sound.
     
  18. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Actually JP, you're right about the Beez elite, It is solid. I wasn't sure if it was a fretted that was solid or his fretless.

    Why try an unknown? Well, why try anything new? What I mean is that I just can't stop thinking about this other idea for some reason. It originally was going to be for a fretted, and I still may go that route. The truth is that all the best fretless basses that I've played have been with alder bodies. You know, I may just end up going with the walnut bass as a fretted and then decided which of my fretted basses would be best as a fretless.

    Oh man, I'm really not getting anything done today sitting in front of this computer.:rolleyes:
     
  19. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Okay. It's just IME any sort of chambering reduces resonance, as you are taking away some of the body, which is where the majority of the resonance comes from. You could probably get the wooly sound you're looking for by your choice of woods and electronics alone if you wanted to (heck, just get a tube amp :D). If you're going with the chambered body though, I'd suggest getting a heavy bridge (ABM or similar), as that's the second place I'd look to gain resonance.
     
  20. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Brian, you're right about the bridge. I used to have a fretless six string that was chambered and it had a wooden bridge on it. I decided from there on out that I would have a metal bridge on my next fretless.