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Johnny what's behind door #3?..... A NEW BASS!!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jon Chewning, Feb 23, 2001.

  1. I think it's getting close to spring... these things are showing up everywhere.

    Yeah I got me another one! Last Friday evening, after a considerable amount of anticipation, a large beautiful cardboard box showed up at the front door and lo, the angel descended... wait, wrong story. (I'm just so giddy...)

    I visited Matt Schmill's (you know the Bass Gear Review guy?) FBB Custom Bass Works website about 6 weeks ago and saw a lovely 6-string fretless for sale. I inquired about some specifics of the bass and after reviewing some pictures and having a few alterations (I had him cut part of the lower horn off for better access and had him add a preamp bypass) I sent him a check and he shipped it off after some finishing touches. I realized that it was a little dicey buying it without playing, but Matt was understanding and offered me trial period with the option of shipping it back.

    Of course the pictures that he sent and had posted on his website did no justice to the looks. It's basically a 35 inch scale lined fretless ebony fingerboard with a maple/bloodwood/mahogany neck, mahogany body with a curly maple top. It has a Bart NTBT preamp with P56 pickups, chrome ABM bridge and Gotoh tuners.

    I had played a bunch of fretless' before it came and the best two out the bunch was a Pedulla Pentabuzz and a Zon Sonus 5'er. Both of these had coated boards. (Actually the Zon was a graphite impregnated board) Matt had offered to epoxy it, but in the end I decided against it mainly because I wasn't fond of the too smooth feel of the coated board.

    The main impression left on me after playing it out of the box was the tone of it WITHOUT amplification. But I plugged into my practice amp and I was grins ear-to-ear. I had to spend about 20 minutes driving the cats and the little woman nuts with well-placed mwahs up and down the fingerboard. The next day was band practice. Fear, trembling, etc. But actually it didn't turn out too bad other than some intonation missteps. The band was surprised too. My drummer had been kinda cool to the idea of a fretless previously but he was plenty happy about the warmth of tone. He made some off-handed remark about the neck being the size of a landing strip.

    I thought maybe the inch longer scale was going to take some getting used too, but that lasted only a few days. The extra C string didn't take any getting used to. I have to wear it up a little higher so I can access the neck better. I may have to get some kind of padded strap as it's about 11 lbs. and a tad heavy after a few hours. And the most interesting thing... I can't even see the lines on the neck so they are pretty much useless.

    Here's a photo taken before the touchup:

    Here's a picture after Matt chopped the lower horn:

  2. Ïn±ë®nål¦P®ÏMå±Ë

    Ïn±ë®nål¦P®ÏMå±Ë Guest

    Feb 14, 2001
    hmm... i wouldnt feel comfertable playing that thing, look at the thickness of the bottem part. I would snap that thing off after an hour of playing the way i do. hehe...

    Nice bass though! I wish i had one...
  3. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Nice bass, Jon!

    The shape is reminiscent of the Buzz body shape.

    My recent choice in fretless 5s came down to the same choices as yours, the Buzz or a Sonus Custom. My 2 favorite fretlesses, would up going with the Zon.

    If that thing has as much mwaahh as either of them, you done good! It's prettier than either one, IMHO.
  4. Thanks... yeah I'm very happy with the tone, so much so when it first arrived that I figgered there must be *something* wrong with it. But so far so good.

    This is a topic on another board but I'm also considering strings other than the roundwounds on it now. Matt told me that rounds shouldn't be much of a problem on a bare ebony board, but I still have my worries. I *really* like the sound of the rounds on this bass, and I wonder if half's or flats would muddle that tone a bit.
  5. air_leech


    Sep 1, 2000
    cool bass Jon,
    looks kind of like Pedulla meets Jerzy Drozd.

    btw, I love the lamintaion (gonna get me one of those sandwich basses sometime, you'll see!).

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