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I, ah, think I have a problem with my, ah, nut. I have no sustain...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by xmaddogx, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. I just built my first fretless. I normally build fretted with a zero fret, so I was just kinda winging it with the nut and made it out of black walnut. I love the bass. It is made out of "left-overs" wood. It has a bolt on maple neck, blood wood fret board, alder body and Nordy big singles. The tone is nice, but no sustain... and I mean NO. One more piece of info, which is crucial... I stained it blue. Is there a better color for sustain???? ;)
  2. Thumpin_P


    Nov 26, 2006
    Limestone, TN
    The problem is more than likely not the color. I wouldn't think that the stain has much to do with it. Do you have a good neck-to-body fit? Plus, you might consider a harder material for your nut. I can see ebony, but, maybe not walnut.Also, your string break angle at the nut. If you don't have good witness points at both the nut and saddle, your string will not resonate freely. I might be wrong, but, I don't think that color is your problem.

    Good luck!

  3. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Banned

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    There's your problem! Sustain is latin for: without stain.

    I recommend paint.
  4. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    So does it have sustain when fretted, because the nut only effects open notes??? If no, it could be strings bridge, fit and finish, many things could effect this, but I would look at the strung assembly, and proximity of pickups to strings which can be a sustain killer too if they are too close or too far away.
  5. Bozendoka


    Mar 13, 2011
    I'm no expert, but it sounds more like a wood problem to me :bag:
  6. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    How is your action set? I believe high action on a fretless, on stopped (not open) notes, may to not only minimize mwah, but cut your sustain because the string is stopped more against your finger rather than the fingerboard.
  7. Thanks, Mikey. I am glad we have a Latinologist on this forum. Teach me for not googling sustain. Action is low, I have adjusted the pick-up height a little, the neck is attached with six bolts (so I hope it s a solid connection) and still poor sustain with open and stopped/fretted notes. I think I will take it apart, make a new nut and... who am I kidding. I can't stop playing it, it is my first fretless. I am just going to make another.
  8. Pickup height?

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