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need mo' MWAA

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by julo, Jul 20, 2005.

  1. julo


    Jan 18, 2005
    Boulder, CO
    hi all,

    bought a nice MIM jazz, go it defretted by a pro luthier, but i'm a bit disapointed because i don't get all the MWAA i expected especially on the E string it gets better when playin higher strings.
    do you have any advice to increase the MWAA and get the sound i'm looking for basically something close to Jaco, and i know, the axe is not that important but anyway...):
    strings (got the originals), pick up adjustment, maybe adding some effects,...?

    thanks very much since i'm really disapointed.

    PS: mod feel free to move this thread to the correct place if this one is not the right one
  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    bridge pickup. lower action.
  3. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Include a boost of the midrange. What type of fingerboard does the bass have? The harder the fingerboard, the more mwah.
  4. Besides these suggestions, keep in mind that the "mwah" naturally diminishes on the lower notes.

    Mwah isn't everything on a fretless, anyway.

    If you play roundwounds, you'll get more of that farty sound that some refer to as "mwah". I've tried this and I much prefer the woody sound that flats (especially tape wounds) provide.
  5. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast

    Jul 16, 2005
    Belfast, UK
    I've got my fingerboard polyurethaned, and I'm using Prosteels now. When I had it tuned standard, the mwah was the same... better on the high strings. I didn't bother with the truss rod or action, I just left it for the time being. Fairly low, seeing as the bridge bottomed out. I now have it strung BEAD, and I don't get much mwah, but it's still got good tone.
  6. Some good suggestions already. I think one thing that will hold that bass back is the stock pups. IN your case, I think buying some good pickups and perhaps adding a preamp or not will definitely be a vast improvement.

    Since I am not a bass pickup expert, I don't know which ones to suggest. Bartolini makes a few different Jazz pups that should work well. The downside to changing pups is that not every pup is voiced to sound greta with your bass. I saw a late 60's Fender Jazz with some Smith pups and it sounds like ass. They are good pickups but definitely aren't voiced to work with that particular bass.They give it a ton of low end but no honk in hte midrange.

    And as stated, you have to have some midrange honk to get a killer fretless sound.Perhaps adding the BQS electronics from EMG would be good for you. I had a Symme fretless that got all its vibe from the BQS system.Without that control, the sound was nothing great. I hope that helps.
  7. julo


    Jan 18, 2005
    Boulder, CO
    Thanks to everyone.

    maybe my fingerboard is not hard enough, i have the marks of the strings on it. is that normal or is it just the MIM cr@py fingerboard?

    i'll try the other suggestions, and see for pups. anybody has suggestions for this also?

  8. Jonki

    Jonki I will not slap my Bee!

    Oct 14, 2003
    Arendal, Norway
    do you have rosewood fingerboard? or maybe pau ferro?
  9. important things for achieving that "mwahhh" sound: (especially on a converted fretted-fretless bass)

    1. Re-cut nut slots significantly lower to accoun for no longer having frets

    2. lower action, as well as take relief out of the neck. (As close to flat as possible on your bass)

    3. Mwah will happen more playing over the fingerboard or close to the neck, the strings move more when plucked there.

    4. Roundwound strings

    5. Practice- the more you play the more the nuances of fretless will become apparent to you, the instrument is almost limitlessly expressive, mwah being one of the better known sounds to go for. Just because everyone else loves the sound doesn't mean it's the only one your fretless bassers should strive for. Experiment, you might find that mwah sound doesn't work all that great in a bigger band setting, at which point they might say "put the fretless down," having more tones to pull out your hat can only help you.
  10. julo


    Jan 18, 2005
    Boulder, CO

    i have no clue, all i can say it's a 2004 std MIM Jazz bought in the US.
  11. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    This is a very good post.
  12. dave251

    dave251 Wendler Instruments

    Feb 5, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    THE CRITICAL factor is having the board planed/sanded perfectly. If the man who defretted the instrument didn't spend a prodigous amount of time on this, it will account for the "mwah" not being distributed evenly on the instrument.

    A fretless is much more critical regarding the playing surface than a fretted instrument...so it must be done perfectly...and this will generally involve wasting a set of strings because of the number of times it must be brought up to pitch, the relief and "true" of the FB checked, then loosended up, lumber removed, and then back up to pitch again.

    I highly recommend a fretless setup specialist to do the work.