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Raised fretlines on Squier VM Fretless - feature or defect?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by user2048, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. user2048


    Mar 7, 2003
    I recently purchased a a Squier Vintage Modified Fretless Jazz. It has fretlines made from some sort of plastic. Almost all the fretlines rise a tiny bit above the surface of the fingerboard causing a definite buzz if the string is pressed in exactly the right/wrong place. Is this intended as a feature or is it a defect? Enough of a defect to warrant a replacement?

    I find it to be a problem. Some of the in-tune positions have the buzz and some don't, making it impossible to get a consistent tone.

    Thanks for your help.
  2. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    It's not a feature. A fretless fretboard should be smooth all across with no raised spots.
  3. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    I concur. What you mention is a defect, not a feature. You find it to be a problem playing, so you have two options: get it fixed (have a luthier plane the board) or get it replaced. Whether the replacement will have the same problem or not, I don't know.
  4. Sounds like you may have an issue, my svmfj and every one I've ever seen was smooth as glass.
  5. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Not "may have an issue", you definitely have a defect. Seems the fingerboard has shrunk and the plastic used for the fret lines hasn't so you have a fretted bass with really crappy frets, not the fretless you bought. This is no more acceptable than "fret sprout" is, even though lots of people have come to accept fret sprout- it's still NOT acceptable on a decent instrument.

  6. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    Define "fret sprout", please.
  7. xepher2792


    Oct 7, 2011
    Ventura CA
    I was looking at a squier fretless in a music store today and it had this same problem.
  8. Does anyone know if this is a common problem with the VM fretless Jazz Basses? I was thinking of getting one, I've heard otherwise good things about them.
  9. Seems like it would be an easy fix with a block of wood and some sandpaper. BTW, I can't be sure if this is a common problem with SVMJF's, in all the many hundreds of posts here by folks who have played and owned this bass, this is the first I've ever heard of this. I would think it's NOT a common problem.
  10. I had a SVMJF. Smooth as glass.

    Sounds like a case of try before you buy.
  11. Steveaux

    Steveaux Safe-Guardian of the Stoopid

    Jul 1, 2008
    The Wilds of NW Pa.
    Mine was exactly the opposite, a tiny bit "quilted". The 'board sort of sagged down to the lines. It was very slight. You could barely feel it or see it.

    Stew-Mac radius sanding block ... problem solved.
  12. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    When the fret ends hang over the edge of the fingerboard. It's caused when the wood shrinks after the frets are installed. While some folks accept it because "it's really dry here", it's a clear sign the neck wood wasn't aged enough before the fret wire was installed.

  13. I just ordered the 8" radius block (the Squier happens to be a 9 1/2" radius fretboard) from StewMac for my Squier fretless for truing the board (I get some nasty note buzzing [as if the string is bottoming out] at the 7th position area on the A, D and G strings if the action is low, so I can't get it as low as I want until I do this) but mine also has the very slightly raised lines, so it will fix that in the process.
  14. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Yeah I recently got a SVMJB off musiciansfriend and it also has the raised fret lines. I went into a local music store to check the 2 they had on display and they both had it. So IDK what these people are talking about but it's definitely common. I don't really want to sand the neck as I'm sure I'll never get the finish as nice. On that note has anybody done it? what grades of sand paper did you use? I also find that my nut is already quite low, about .45 at the G and .25 at the E, is this acceptable or too low? This bass is used but mint condition, but it does look like the nut has been filed.
    All in all I am very frustrated with this bass, it's my first fretless, a good setup has so far been impossible and I usually set up a double truss rod 6er.
  15. In the next few days I'll be returning to comment about how it went for me - I'm just waiting for my radius block to come in. Fortunately I already have a decent array of sandpapers. 220 - 320 - 400 - 600 - 800 - 1000 grits.. So I'll be going in that order. I hear steel wool 0000 is a good option for a final abrasive to smooth everything out but I haven't decided if I will do that yet. Anyway, the more I examine the fingerboard, the more I feel the raised fretlines so I'll be glad to get rid of those soon.
  16. JonahTheAmazing


    Dec 19, 2010
    That's rough. Never something I have seen on a fretless bass, definitely defect. I would not stand for something like this. Hope all goes well on the radius work. Even if it's just a Squier, I would not like to drop the dollars on what seems to be a defective bass.
  17. Well it sounds pretty bad when I say I've got "raised" fretlines on a fretless but they have really not had much of an effect on the sound or feel all this time. It is just a tiny little feel when you run your finger along the board (deliberately feeling for them, that is, not while playing). It's very odd, yes, but hasn't been something that really screws up playing! so that's good but obviously it's preferable to get rid of them :p
  18. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    One possible suggestion. Take it with a grain of salt since I'm not a luthier - but I have sanded and finished a few necks successfully over the years. Maybe not start with the 220. Maybe you want to go backwards and then forwards with the grits. Meaning - find the gentlest grit that Will get rid of the plastic, and then step up to the ultra fine ones to finish the polishing.

    Those plastic lines might wipe away with very little grit. No point in using something rougher than necessary.

    Just a thought.
  19. maxiegrant

    maxiegrant Bassist in Transition

    Nov 26, 2007
    Sellersburg, IN
    I've bought one of these for myself, and I got one for Xmas for my son.

    Both were perfect. Mine is rapidly becoming my favorite instrument. The sounds this thing can make are tremendous. I hope they aren't cheaping up the production values on this, but at the same time I am glad I got 'em before that started to happen. These VMJs are wonderful. I also use the '70's fretted VMJ.
  20. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I just went out and grabbed my radius blocks as I've decided to bite the bullet and bring it down, I just cannot get a good setup at all, it buzzes everywhere. This is with the G @ 2.21mm and the E @ 2.74mm, less than .2mm relief, buzzes at the first fret. If it was wood I would start sanding right now but I don't know anything about ebanol, I like the nice shine of the finish and I am worried I'll ruin it.
    You know that an 8" block will fudge your neck though, I'd stick to a 9.5" radius block.

    Also while I was out I checked boxing day deals at another guitar shop, again 2 SVMJ's with noticeable fret lines, one was much better but still definitely there. I asked the store's top bass guy if they ever brought in playable fretless basses.... he said no.... but they can order them...

    I am a huge Fender guy and I'm really disappointed but i guess it is a squier. The fretted VM series I tried all had horrible fret jobs with sharp edges, I figured these would have no issue in the fret department. I have e-mailed Fender customer relations to ask them what the factory nut height is and is the raised fret lines are a defect or to be expected. I'll keep you posted.

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