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Lined Fretless question

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Orpheus55, Jul 22, 2007.

  1. Has anyone ever covered up, obscured, or otherwise made the lines on their lined fretless disappear (or at least not look so obvious)? I have the lined Fender neck, and usually go by the inlay edges on the side. Just wondering.
  2. jzucker


    Feb 3, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    why would you want to?
  3. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    Did you read it?
    He usually goes by the sides.
  4. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    This is a good question, and I'll be interested to see if anyone has an answer.

    I have a Fender Standard Jazz fretless, and I've love for it to have an unlined fingerboard. After I'd played it once, I didn't feel like I needed the lines any more (disclaimer: I could be wrong).

    RIght now, though, I'm plotting the construction of a fretless P without lines. Maybe that'll happen first.
  5. jzucker


    Feb 3, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    you don't need them but apparently jaco, willis, garrison and grey do. I guess they like playing in tune. :)
  6. joebingo


    Aug 23, 2006
    London, UK
    so does every jazz musician whos played a double bass...

    I don't get your point.
  7. doctorjazz


    Oct 22, 2006
    Wilmington, NC
    Only thing I can think of at the moment would be to finish the face of the board (might go with black for the ebony look) and then put a layer of epoxy on it.
  8. There are plenty of unlined players who nail the intonation. We don't need (another) lined vs. unlined debate this week.

    If you're utilizing the lines to orient you from the side, then you might be able to find a luthier who can give you "1/2 lines" like Godin and Zon. You could also go with having dots where every fretline would be. This is what I use since my first fretless had that particular configuration. I find that my unlined bass intimidates a lot of people from playing my bass and the dots at every potion tends to mess with a lot of unlined players. The ultimate benefit is that people don't mess with my bass!! :D You could also go unlined.......
  9. jzucker


    Feb 3, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    Yeah but if you already have lines, it's just sillyness to remove them. What's the point? Plus, lines allow a mediocre player to play relatively in tune. A great player will be in tune on either of them but I can't count the number of gigs I've played with mediocre fretless players who played unlined basses and were out of tune the whole night...
  10. Regardless of any possible scenario, it's the player, not the bass's fault if some foo can't play. Each method takes a specific discipline but ultimately rely on the ears to correct the fingering.

    The worst fretless player I have heard was some tone deaf old dude who thought he was the ****. He was quick to brag about who his band opened up for and that I was a wimp for wearing ear plugs. If he only knew how bad his pitch was. He might have turned it down or wore ear plugs, eh? :p Honestly, lined or unlined, I have only seen one dude suck in person...although I have seen a few on youtube, but that's besides the point.

    You'll hit honkers when you start regardless.
  11. richnota

    richnota Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2005
    Santa Cruz
    If the inlay lines in your bass are wood (vs. some type of synthetic), I'd imagine they'd take a stain. But that opens up the issue of how that might effect the rest of the board.

    My R-base has dark fingerboard lines, very subtle but in a dim space they disappear altogether.
  12. jzucker


    Feb 3, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    I still for the life of me don't understand the "no lines" thing unless it's just the cosmetics you object to. My complaint is very specific and based on gusy I've played with who don't have lines and can't play in tune. Sure, the player is the most important thing but all other things being equal, the guy with lines is more likely to be in tune.

    Frankly, most fretless players I've played with should stick to fretted bass. :)
  13. I don't think Fender will make a fretless Precision bass. If a Precision bass was fretless, it wouldn't be a Precision bass (you couldn't fret notes PRECISELY). Makes more sense for a Jazz bass to be fretless.
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Will you be playing with jzucker?

  15. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    Stewart McDonald has different dyes that can be used on a lined fingerboard.
  16. jzucker


    Feb 3, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
  17. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    Let me worry about that.:meh:

    As for fretless Precisions, there's a joke that they should be called "Approximations.":D

    The fact is, the first fretless Fender basses, to my admittedly limited knowledge, were Precisions, and they were unlined...as is the Tony Franklin, also a P. The oldest pictures I have seen are of 1970 Ps, but perhaps someone else knows more about them.

    I already have a J fretless, as noted, and there are several drawbacks: first, it doesn't sound like a P; second, I don't like the look of the lines; third, I prefer chunky P necks to J necks; and fourth, I think I can develop my fretless playing more with a fretless.

    If some of you think that's wrong, well, think away. I would suggest you could spend your time and mental effort in more productive ways.

    Jaco had fretlines on his J partly because it would have entailed a lot more work/expense to get rid of them. Despite the boutique prices of Jaco Fenders, let's not forget that his main Jazz was a mutt, and not a pretty mutt, at that. What did he pay for it originally, $90? I have read an interview where he described what he did to his bass (seems like it had already been defretted when he got it) and he wasn't gentle with it. I don't know that anyone ever asked him about it, but, again, if someone else can direct us to the answer, please do so.

    In any case, I'm not Jaco, or even any of the other bassists listed, so I'll go my own way. :p
  18. jzucker


    Feb 3, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    Not sure where you got that information but Jaco could have easily gotten a non-lined fretless neck from fender or a number of independent builder.

    Also, Alain Caron, Matt Garrison, Tony Grey and Gary Willis choose to play basses with lines because it helps them. I'm not saying you can't play in tune without lines. Certainly, the legions of acoustic bowed instrument players can attest to that but at the same time, I don't understand the logic of removing lines that are already there.
  19. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    Jaco was cheap, and he didn't initially have any sort of deal with Fender. His J, as I understand it, had been ineptly defretted before he got it. He then inserted veneer filler in the slots, did some sanding and leveling, and then epoxied the whole catastrophe (I'm citing this from memory).

    That's what he DID, rather than what he "easily" could have done. I believe my own course of action would have been different, but then, as I have already pointed out, I'm not Jaco. :crying:

    In any case, it's a little hard to impute hypothetical motives for hiim. Me, I don't have a throwaway defretted Jazz, but I know what I'm aiming for, and most likely I'll not follow Mr Pastorius in this adventure.

    The interest I have in playing an unlined fretless may evaporate in the face of future of difficulties, but so what? I'll have another P and the original fretted neck, which is no bad outcome.:D
  20. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    This is the strangest lined/unlined thread I've seen in a long time- it's like the bizarro version of how they usually go :D

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