wood for fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tyburn, Aug 23, 2001.

  1. i'm after some suggestions for the top wood for my fretless 6

    i'm going to use english walnut for the tone wood and i am also looking for a wood to use as the cap,

    what suggestions do you have to compliment the walnut, it's going to have a 5 piece maple and walnut thruneck

    and i'm hoping to use black hardwear as i have black schaller harwear on my 5 fretted and i'm not a big fan of shiney.

  2. Dirty Road Cola

    Dirty Road Cola Guest

    Sep 8, 2000
    Gainesville, FL
    well depends on the tone you're after..
    I'd actually suggest the wal fretless tone formula as I really like their tone :)

    Its a Honduran Mohagany body with American Walnut Facings (back and front). They sound warm and supple, but if you ride the bridge they can funk like no ones business.

    for a slightly "glossier" tone, go with the Mohagany or Walnut body with Maple Caps.
  3. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com In Memoriam

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    My custom Hoyt 5 string fretless is walnut capped with maple on front and back. Mine has gold hardware. If you visit my personal bass web site at http://www.eclecticbass.com and click on the image it will take you to a Photopoint page with closeups.

  4. Somebody is spending far too much time on Saturday afternoons playing Wal basses and not working, it would seem......;)

    ...fear not, I won't bust ya! :D

    And yeah, that is a good combination of woods, but I'll stick with bubinga over swamp ash for my favorite.
  5. yeah, i was looking at maple, i have birdseye on the front and back of my 5 fretted, but for this one i think i'm just going to do the front so that the battery and pickup compartments belnd into the darker wood.

    thanks bob, when i looked photopoint was down, but i'll be back to look later, i love the chamfered top edge, revealing the walnut, perhaps i'll be experimenting at sanding time :)

    i really live interesting grained woods, something less uniformed, spalted timber and heavily grained darker maple, the stuff a lot of people down want because it's not book matched or AAAAA

  6. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com In Memoriam

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    Photopoint seems to be back up and running - after you check it out, click to go to the index and check out the Hoyt 5 fretted bass, a bass I asked Karl to make me. The album is at http://albums.photopoint.com/j/AlbumIndex?u=410013&a=7092362

    It's a very similar design, minor changes other than the frets, but the core is mahogany and the front is Mango -- I'd never seen anything like it- be sure to click to get the max view of the front-- it is deceiving, the very fine lines in the wood look like a flame, and there actually is quite a bit along with the tiny lines. There are a couple faults in the wood, but it still looks (and sounds) quite wonderful.

  7. Tyburn, if I were in your shoes, I'd go for maple. I have a 1979 Ibanez Musician, that's mahogany with I think an ash or maple top. It's a great sounding bass, but a little on the dark side. I think walnut is just to the dark side of mahogany, so depending on how bright or not so bright you want the sound, I'd say go with maple. How thick will the top be?

    Let us know what you decide.
    Mike J.
  8. RS


    Aug 27, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Nice bass Bob! I'll give you $20 for it.
  9. fretless5

    fretless5 Guest

    Nov 28, 2000
    Blue Ash, Ohio, USA
    I wish I had that problem at work!

    But to the subject, mine is solid walnut with a 5 piece walnut and maple neck thru with strings running thru the body.
  10. oak_roberts

    oak_roberts Guest

    Sep 17, 2004
    would English Walnut be any good as the body, neck, and headstock wood? ive just not often come across it
  11. hoytbasses


    Mar 30, 2003
    Cape Cod
    I build stringed instruments.......
    That wood choice would be very similar to an american walnut in terms of sound and workability. In point of fact, I believe that our walnut trees came from english roots, having been brought and propagated here across the pond. I may be mistaken on this point , but I would feel comfortable that you could make a very nice (and beautiful) instrument from that english walnut......

    If you want more midrangy bark from the bass, use ash or maple core, for a more solid low fundamental note, use walnut or mahogany as the core. to my eye there's nothing more beautiful than hand-rubbed walnut:

    have a great weekend

    Karl Hoyt

    p.s..... hi Bob... e-mail sent your way
  12. Tom Howland

    Tom Howland Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    My Stambaugh fretless is Hondorus Mahogany body, with birdseye maple top, full sound with very good mids.
  13. matthewfoote

    matthewfoote Guest

    Sep 18, 2002
    Somerset, England
    Re walnut body,

    I had a fretted Wal made of solid Walnut finished with a white paint job. It was a little too bright to my ears and I found the Mahogany body with maple facings of my fretless Wal to be a more balanced tone. If I was getting a Wal I would go with that fretless combination again as the woods + pickups and electronics were a match made in heaven.

  14. My fretless is African mahogany - quite unusual and surprisingly light in weight:

    <img src=http://www.munkio.com/music/basses%20&%20ting/webready/fretless_back_sun1.jpg>

    <img src=http://www.munkio.com/jeffchapman/basses/burr_pickups.jpg>

    <img src=http://www.munkio.com/music/basses%20&%20ting/webready/fretless_sun_full_small.jpg>

    Ebony on the finger board is definitely recommended too - lovely tight grain and really punchy tone - I'm no expert but I like what these two sound like together.
  15. hoytbasses


    Mar 30, 2003
    Cape Cod
    I build stringed instruments.......
    Personally, I try and use less and less ebony as I'm concerned about it's sustainability. also, with a dark wood core and maple or whatever top, the ebony can sound a little 'sizzly' for lack of a better term.

    My favorite fretless fingerboard wood is Cocobolo Rosewood: beautiful looking, a bit harder than Indian or Brazilian rosewood and good sounding wood. Also, it's harvested in mexico under pretty strict guidelines.

    have a great weekend

    Karl Hoyt
  16. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Gee, I wonder what wood Karl will be suggesting for the fingerboard on the fretless he is building for me. ;)