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Tobias Growler with black fret markers?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sahjine, Jan 28, 2003.

  1. sahjine


    Jan 28, 2003
    Hey everyone.

    I'm hoping someone knows the answer to this, as I am a little perplexed, and Gibson has yet to get back to me. I have a Tobias Growler "fretless" four string. I say "fretless" because after owning this bass for five years, someone just brought it to my attention that it was likely converted from a fretted model. I am not the original owner of this bass, but I got a lot of information from the original owner, and this idea was never mentioned. If this was done, it was a professional job (the fingerboard maintains a consistent 12" radius at every single fret marker, the markers are only 1/32" in width and depth, and there is no difference in finish or feel between the lines and the wenge surface of the fingerboard) The reason this has become such a question is not because the neck has lines, but because the lines are black, and the dot markers on the side reside between frets rather than at the lines like most fretless basses, something that had escaped my attention all this time. So, my question is this: does anyone know if there was a point with the early Growlers (the serial number of this bass is #4893, but I'm not sure on the exact year) where they were available with black fretlines as an option??

    Here is a photo of the fret markers:
    <img src="http://www.on-studios.com/schevling/cap_108.jpg">

    Any help anyone can offer on this question would be greatly appreciated as Gibson is taking their good old time getting back to me about this one. Thanks!!
  2. randomname


    Aug 12, 2002
    There's always a chance that the neck was made from a fingerboard blank that already had grooves in it for frets. If Gibson weren't making many fretless Growlers then it may have been more cost efficient to make them this way.
  3. Hey Jeremy!

    Welcome to TalkBass.com! I wouldn't worry too much about the markers. Here's a picture of my Growler (serial #4871), and the fingerboard looks very similar to yours.

    <img src="http://www.k1wd.com/music/bass/Tobias_Growler.jpg">

    The bass is light as a feather, plays beautifully, and I've never considered the black lines to be a problem. Don't worry, man! Enjoy the sound!


    - Wil
  4. sahjine


    Jan 28, 2003
    A-ha! So others DO exist! Good to know! Thanks for the replies!

    Actually, part of why I was so worried is that I have decided to sell this bass, and I didn't want to go into it not knowing an appropriate price (obviously if it had been converted, it would devalue it a bit). I had never considered the lines to be a problem either, until it was suggested that the bass was not originally fretless!

  5. gyancey


    Mar 25, 2002
    Austin, TX
    The fingerboard on your Growler is pau ferro, not wenge.
  6. sahjine


    Jan 28, 2003
    Well, according to the documentation I have on it, it's wenge. I know they were made with both options, but I also don't know my woods too well. I've never seen another growler in person, but the photos I've seen with the pao ferro fingerboards didn't ever look as outrightly purple as the neck on mine, so without knowing, I assumed the documentation was correct and the fingerboard was wenge. The manual also suggests that the fingerboard radius is 15" when it is 12", however, so accuracy isn't their strongest point when considering the printed materials supplied with these basses.

  7. Man, is that a cutie or what!!! Beautiful!!

  8. gyancey


    Mar 25, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I've had a fair amount of experience with both woods (building basses) and believe me the fingerboard wood on your Growler is pau ferro, not wenge. The same goes for the other growler posted in this thread.
  9. sahjine


    Jan 28, 2003
    Oh, don't worry, I believe you. I'm just letting you know where I came up with the idea that it was wenge.

  10. scubaduba

    scubaduba Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    I realize I'm posting to a very old thread but I stumbled on this thread doing a search and I suspect others night too. In looking at the images here from an old Growler catalog it appears black lines on a fretless were in fact an option.

    IMG_7617.JPG IMG_7616.JPG

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