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More sustain form my Fretless P

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mutant Corn, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. So I have an SX fretless P with Chromes on it, and though I expected it to not have a lot of sustain, it's to to point where I can't really let a note ring out without having to tap at the bridge to keep it going. The only thing I can think of is to use the compressor on my head...but I don't think this bass would agree with that for some reason. Thoughts?
  2. Chromes are flats, right? Not to dog SXs, but IMO/IME a 'cheap(er)' bass+flats=less sustain than say, a better-constructed(or at the very least, better set up)bass w/rounds- nickel if SS are too bright & twangy for you. There's also that 'fatfinger' or w/e it's called- the brass thing that adds mass/weight to your headstock.

    Edit: A compressor can perhaps sneak in a bit more sustain, but again- IME- can quickly become noticeably 'artificial-sounding'. Further, internal/onboard comps are often very basic & limited compared to a decent pedal unit. I've been happy w/a couple of pretty cheap & poorly-rated-by-Bongomania compressors: the Alesis 3630 & DOD(can't recall the model- FX-82..?).
  3. Kyon`


    Aug 17, 2007
    Boston, MA
    It's the flats honestly. I remember Chromes having more brightness and sustain then others but I'm sure rounds should help you with that problem, or invest in a good set up?
  4. ^^ Maybe a new pup?

    ^ Would rounds be ok with a maple board? It's coated in poly, but I don't know how well that would hold up to rounds. I think the setup's ok..
  5. Navybass


    Mar 12, 2005
    Norfolk, Va.
    That's exactly what I was going to say. :D
  6. While admittedly not knowing anything about stock SX PUs I can't imagine that a new one would increase any actual sustain, though it it might 'hear' what's already there better.
  7. +1
    I think is more a question of bridge-strings quality.
    Try rounds anyway, they're supposed to add more sustain to fretless basses.
  8. TMacATK


    Jul 9, 2008
    Davis, CA
    I put a Gotoh bridge and Rotosound flats on the same bass and it has lots of sustain.

    And...I'm not an expert, but Maple is a soft wood and I don't think rounds on a maple finger board is a good idea.
  9. Kyon`


    Aug 17, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Try DR Sunbeams, always enjoyed them. And yes maple is soft but I've done rounds on fretless maple before, basically don't practice on it XD. No it'll dig in more then say rosewood but it won't kill right away but it'll wear off fast depending how you play. Could always consider using some epoxy.
  10. Thangfish

    Thangfish ...overly qualified for janitorical deployment...

    Rounds are fine.
    If you do finger vibratos, wiggle your finger back and forth (in the bridge to nut direction) like fiddle players, not stretch the string like guitar players (which sort of grinds the windings into the fretboard). I suppose there are proper names for these techniques...
    Anyway, the maple fretboard will probably outlast your preference for that bass, with very little wear, if you don't abuse it.
  11. w33nie


    Jan 27, 2008
    I thought maple was harder than Rosewood
  12. ^ so did I for a while, but apparently not.

    I gigged the thing today, and realized that when compared to my squier, which has custom DiMarzios in it, this thing is really hot. I had to flip the -10dB switch on my amp when I switched to it. Could it be possible that the sustain would increase if I moved the pup away from the strings? I'd like a more mellow tone anyway...it's pretty bright.

    edit: I've decided (after hearing myself live today) that I'm putting in a DiMarzion Model P, but it could be a while...I'm on a college student's budget.
  13. TMacATK


    Jul 9, 2008
    Davis, CA
    Haha hence the "I'm not an expert" qualifier, but I know maple isn't as hard as ebony.
  14. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    We've had the "rounds on fretless" debate many times. Bottom line, rounds sound fantastic on fretless, and basses are meant to be played, and the rounds won't do much damage in the short term anyway. By the time they will have done notable damage you will have put in hundreds of hours playing the heck out of your bass, and can have saved up for another bass in that time. Nothing wrong with any part of that picture. Plus even if you never got another bass, a new neck is fairly cheap, and a luthier can even re-plane the existing worn fretboard back to perfection, for many hours more wear and tear from the rounds.

    I do not think a new pickup would help at all. I do think string choice and setup can make a big difference. And careful, knowledgeable use of a compressor can go a long way too.
  15. I had the comp on my Carvin on '2'...seemed to help a bit.

    The thing with rounds is, I got the bass specifically for the tone of a P with flats. It's pretty much the opposite of my squier, which sounds strikingly similar to a Corvette. The tone on it is right where I want it...I just need more sustain.

    On another note, everyone was talking about how soft maple is...does that mean the poly coat on it doesn't help? It's coated, AFAIK, in the same type of finish as the rest of the neck.
  16. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Hmm... The classic 'P with flats' tone is a thump with no sustain. Maybe if you use rounds and then roll off the treble some you might get what you want.
  17. Before changing any hardware or pickups on your bass, focus on your technique for a bit. If you play gently and quietly, close to the end of the fingerboard, and turn your amp up, you will get more sustain. If you look at guys like Alain Caron and Gary Willis, a lot of their sound is from their technique. In the end however, an SX P probably wont give you much sustain. Oh and maybe lowering your action could help too.

    Hope that helps! :)

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