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Opinion on buying a fretless, i need your help!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Lewk, Nov 18, 2003.

  1. Lewk


    Oct 19, 2003
    Hey guys

    I'm currently being offered a fretless bass for £70. It would be my first fretless.

    I had a go on it today and enjoyed the sound, which is of course the most important part, and it seemd to play well, but i have a few questions for you TB'ers, so here goes.

    This bass is old. Unfortunately i have no pics as yet, but it's a classic p bass style in sunburst. The headstock says Ninja, Lone Wolf. Does anyone have any idea about this make?

    The fretboard has small grooves where the strings have been over the years, the worst is towards the pickups near where the neck joins the body for the G string, this is a fair trough been worn into the board. THis didn't seem to affect playing too much, but i wonder if this is a seriously bad thing or happens on all fretlesses?

    The volume pot is either off or on. in between 0 and 10 there is just humming. also hummign with the tone pot but this works in all grades. Will these just need switch cleaner or am i better off replacing them?

    It needs new strings. Are fretlesses supposed to use flatwounds or is it all totally personal preference? is there any particular type of string i should be going for?

    All in all, i enjoyed playing the bass, and it's cheap enough for me to at least learn how to play fretless before i consider buying a better one, but your opinions on it from what i have told you would be marvellous.

  2. BassGuy


    Jun 30, 2000
    I think you answered your own question; as long as it is cheap enough and plays OK, it is a good one to learn on and see if you like the fretless. If it has fret markers, then also check the intonation (There are ways to measure the board to check intonation on an unmarked board). If the grooves in the fretboard aren't too deep, it should be OK. If they are deep enough to catch the strings on and alter the sound, then it is probably not worth it.

    Good luck.

  3. If you ask me £70 is alot for what is basically a wrecked bass. Why not save up an extra £40 and buy one of those stagg fretlesses new that are always being advertised on ebay.
  4. Lewk


    Oct 19, 2003
    because I expect that this is older, and liekly more well built than one of those stagg ones. plus, it means i can learn more about the innards and workings of basses in general, and have a bit of a "project" so to speak. and i also like the sound of it, which is the important thing
  5. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    For that money you could just about get the Essex Fretless P bass that i just did. It ROCKS.
  6. Lewk


    Oct 19, 2003
    To be honest i'm quite looking forward to the whole "doing up" of this bass. i'm gonna rebuff all the metal on it with my dads dremel, give it a damn good clean too. i like the way it's mildly worn on the finish in a "vintage" style. the only thing that concerns me mostly, now i've had chance to play it in a band situation, is the groove on the fingerboard under the G string. it's still absolutely playable, just very mildly annoying. i wonder if maybe i could fill it with something.
  7. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Did you buy it already?
  8. Lewk


    Oct 19, 2003
    nono not yet, was gonna lay down half the money on friday.
  9. Sounds like you have made up your mind.

    I think you will have fun fixing this bass up and since your dad has the wood working tools, go for it!

  10. permagrin


    May 1, 2003
    San Pedro, CA
    Yeah, does sound like you've made up your mind already. That bass' mojo is speaking to you.

    Personally, that groove in the board would turn me off of it in a hurry, and you do say it's 'mildly annoying'? I'd stay away. With a little looking you can likely find another project fretless without a major/showstopper issue.

    And fwiw, a Dremel is likely overkill. Are the metal parts rusted up a lot? then some of the Dremel attachments can work, but be careful. Generally, taking things apart, brushing off dust and gunk with a soft paintbrush, and/or rubbing down with a rag is good enough (take off the dirt, not the mojo - shiny new parts look like crap on an old/beater bass). Naptha for the icky gunk, but be careful with it around finishes (also highly flammable, dispose of rags properly 'cause they can burst into flames just sitting around).

    If you still get this bass, replace the pots -cheap, and it'll get you into the wonderful world of soldering! Replace the jack while you're at it. Keep the pickups 'cause you like the sound. Use rounds if you want to, doesn't seem like you can do any more damage to that board. Good luck, enjoy!
  11. Lewk


    Oct 19, 2003
    i dunno about the groove. its there right at the very high notes of the G, which i very rarely use. it doesn't affect the playing much at all, it's just there. Soldering i can cope with, i've done it before lots. its also the point of being able to learn fretless cheaply, and it's very convenient that it's just *there*, and it sounds great, and i don't have to do any looking around. £70 is entirely affordable for me, so now, i have made my mind up i will buy it. when i first made the thread i hadn't, but i think the good outweighs the bad.

    cheers guys!
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    Primary TB Assistant

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