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Need advice on taking my Jazz fretless...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by HeavyDuty, Jun 14, 2002.

  1. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    OK, here's the story:

    My main bass is a Sterling, which is an alder (?) rosewood fretted four. My Jazz is my backup - it's a pawn shop rescue '99 AmStd Ash body/rosewood board. I thought it was kinda ho-hum until I dropped in a set of DiMarzio 123s, which livened it up quite a bit. (I also have a 4001 and assorted firewood, plus an ABG.)

    I've been drawn to fretless for awhile now. Every time I stop up at the GC boom room, I gravitate to a particular unlined fretless Sterling. However, a new bass is out of the question for the foreseeable future - I need to make do with what I have.

    So, I'm looking at changing necks on my Jazz. I want unlined. The options as I see it -

    1) Find a used Fender neck. This would keep a factory appearance, which has some value to me.

    2) Buy Warmoth ($160 for Pau Ferro on maple). Then I'd have to find a decal, since a Fender headstock without a decal looks very odd to me.

    3) Buy Moses. I like the idea of a synthetic neck, but am unsure about how well it'd work (ie. sound and wear) for fretless.

    I'm on a budget here, guys. (Too many new toys too fast!) Suggestions or comments about my options?
  2. steve-o

    steve-o Guest

    Apr 17, 2002
    sell it to me!!!
    i will trade my spector for it!
    and you can make that into a fretless!!!
    or i can do it for you!
    you just have to get rosewood pieces.
    and fit them in the slots.
    and you couldn't see where the frets used to be.

  3. pumo420


    Nov 2, 2001
    well i say if your on a really tight budget you can always defret it. but i would go for the warmoth they make really great stuff. the only fretless jass neck i could find was a this neck made by mighty mite
  4. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    If I were in your shoes I'd experiment with a low cost neck from Mighty Mite or Stu-Mac. I personally don't have a problem with undecalled fender type headstocks so I wouldn't go for the decal.
  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Remove the frets, sand the stain off of the board to get down to the real color of the rosewood(it has probably been dyed darker than it really is), put some kind of wood veneer in the fret slots, sand again to even everything out, and stain the fretboard to look like it did before you started.

    You shouldn't be able to see the lines unless you look really closely, and you should be able to do this for under $20.
  6. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I've defretted before (one of my MusicYo Steinbergers) with good results. However, I would rather 1) keep the stock neck for future use and 2) have an unlined fretless with no face dots.

    A Warmoth neck is looking good - by "on a budget", I meant no new basses! I will be greeted with a frying pan if I darken the door with a new axe right now. Buying a new neck is OK.
  7. pumo420


    Nov 2, 2001
  8. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Anybody had any direct experience with USA Custom bass necks?
  9. Chris_Brunhaver

    Chris_Brunhaver Supporting Member

    May 4, 2001
    Puyallup, WA
    Actually, USA custom guitars is the OEM for the necks and bodies Mike Lull uses. If you have played a Lull (which are great) you have seen how nice the USA custom stuff can be.

  10. HeavyDuty,

    IMO, buy a Warmoth unlined neck, in ebony.

    You already have the MIA ash body, so it will be nice and bright. Better wood quality too. Ebony wears the best, is the hardest, has the best sustain, and is the brightest sound. If you are going to run flats, the extra brightness is a plus.

    Get it unlined. I've posted elsewhere about the side dots causing me confusion because I finger to them like I do on my fretted basses. Unlined fretless necks have the side dots directly on the intonation points where the frets would otherwise be. No confusion.

    You can order the Warmoth neck without the goofy 21-fret extension (order the 20 fret option) at no charge. Pay Warmoth to apply the neck finish of your choice. Add a nut, string tree and tuners, and you're ready to roll. The Schaller BLM tuners on the Warmoth site are the least expensive I've seen anywhere for Schallers.. AllParts.Com wants a small fortune for them.

    I'm ordering my Warmoth neck in ebony, unlined, 20-fret option, and in the P-width. Then I can switch between my P and J fretless and have the same feel in the neck. I'm not an "A" width fan, anyway.

    I looked into the angled peg head, which is very nice, but it won't fit a standard Fender Deluxe tolex case. The appearance is also non-Fender, if you care about this. The advantage is the truss rod adjustment is at the peg head, not at the heel like the Fender replacement necks.
  11. hujo


    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
  12. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I just bought one of those from the same seller. What do you think of the neck now, a month later? He said it's a phenolic fretboard, which is appealing. (I wish I had asked you first, but the thrill of the chase and all that...)
  13. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    >You may want to check www.geocities.com/downye/edbasses2
    as he has very good prices on unlined ebony on maple necks. My P-Bass is on the way from him.

    That site seems strange. If you compare the J-bass with the block inlays with the Essex on this page;
    You'll see that it's the same bass!
    EDIT: And is that a Warmoth logo on the Lake
    Placid Blue J-body?

    You are totally right! What a ripoff. The essex is under $200 w/ shipping.
  14. Jon Burnet

    Jon Burnet

    Jan 21, 2001
    Memphis, TN

    i noticed that too. the "6 string basses" are the same basses as rondo too. although that 70's jazz looks bad as he##
  15. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL

    The seller just advised me (after the auction was over) that this is a P neck, not a J neck. The auction said J...

    Before I bail on my bid, what's the Mighty Mite P profile like? Is it really chunky? I may stoill go through with it if they're relatively slim...

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