Proper way to set up a fretless

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by progplayer, Nov 7, 2001.

  1. progplayer


    Nov 7, 2001
    I just bought a new Warwick Corvette Standard Fretless. I'll have a few questions on this and hopfully u guys can offer advice.

    First off the neck. It seems to be bowed back a bit and the string height is pretty high. My other bass the action is really low and the neck is almost straight. Seeing I bought this brand new and I think Warwick set this bass up (who knows maybe not, maybe it got dropped!?!?!?? :mad: ) before shipping, I want to assume that this bass is set up correctly (but then again maybe not)

    My question: does a fretless bass need to have a higher action than a fretted? I like low action but if it effects the TONE of the fretless I don't want to touch it. Please help me before I start making adjustments to this bad boy. Thanks
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    If you want the mwaahhh tone that most people like, low action is a must for fretless, as well as very little neck relief.
  3. progplayer


    Nov 7, 2001
    Ok, obviously GC lied to me so I need to set this bad boy up myself. I've never done it but I want to do it myself because I need to learn. I've been to a few sites and I watched the tech do my other basses BUT i need confirmation here.

    Right now the fretless action is WAY TOO HIGH. The neck has a noticeable "dip". How shall I go about this. I need to "Tighten" the rod correct? Here is my plan of action.

    1- Take off the crappy Warwick strings, put on DR Sunbeams. Tune.

    2- Lower bridge to adjust action. Making sure bass side doesn't buzz on 1st fret too much and treble side doesn't buzz too much on?????

    3- Adjust truss rod. Take that dip out a bit but leaving a little bit of releif. I know u are supposed to put some tension on the neck while doing this???Tune

    4- Adjust pick up height. Bass side higher than treble side?????

    5- Adjust intonation, and tune.....

    any help you guys can give me would be awesome, I want to do this tonight but want to do it right. The only thing that worries me is the Truss Rod, everyone says I'm a pansy. They say just never turn it more than a 1/4 and u'll be fine. well???? :confused:
  4. progplayer


    Nov 7, 2001
    u know what.... i'll have the tech set it up for me. this guy did my two other basses and they play like butter, really.

    And this fretless I want set up just the way I want. I mean GC told me they set it up for me before I got there (I called in advance), if THEY DID I think they screwed up the whole neck. When I got it home, the 4th string was tuned to Db. the rest followed that sort of. The action is so high i can't even fret the thing.

    Man it better not be messed up or else I'll really make some noise with that store mgr.

    thank u for your posts guys!:D
  5. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    I agree with everything written here so far.

    I will add that IME the pickup(s) may need to be a bit higher (closer to the strings) on the high string end in order for the high notes to be heard equally to the low notes IN A BAND CONTEXT. What sounds good solo doesn't always cut it when the drums & guitars storm in.
  6. progplayer


    Nov 7, 2001
    I've spoken to a few people about this but wanted to get opinions. About when does the fretboard on a fretless begin to show considerable wear, like when is it a time for a polish down? And how much should it cost - I heard its only $30 but sounds a bit cheap to me.

    I actually played an old Fender Jazz fretless and the board was pretty grinded down. The guy told me he has used roundwounds on it for 6 years straight. The board was ebony and it looked terrible, BUT when I played it, it sounded really cool. Hard to explain the tone. i guess really growly and scratchy yet cool. Hmmmmm, anyone?