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would epoxing my fretless's finger board help it?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Zanyman42788, Apr 17, 2004.

  1. Zanyman42788

    Zanyman42788 Guest

    Apr 15, 2004
    i have an ibanez blazer bass (1 p bass pickup and neck) with no upgrades. although im not thinking of changeing any parts seeing as how im happy with them, ide like to know if epoxying my finger board would help the harmonics come out (the harmonics are practicly invisible as it is) and what sound diffrences would there be. ide also like to know if there are other alternatives to helping my bass stay together without just kind of... dieing. currently, ide say my neck is pretty damaged seeing as how there are black/grey lines under my strings (i use round wounds).
    Thank you.
  2. Zanyman42788

    Zanyman42788 Guest

    Apr 15, 2004
    my current bass is a fretless ibanez blazer bass (very similar to a p bass) and i was wondering what i could do to my bass to make harmonics stronger. currently, my bass's harmonics are very super weak. The pickups have very strong output, almost too much (lol), thanx alot.
  3. I don't play fretless, so I may be way off beam, but many fretless player used flatwound or ground-wound (?) strings, and they have less top end.

    What strings are you using, and how old are they?
  4. Zanyman42788

    Zanyman42788 Guest

    Apr 15, 2004
    im useing rotosounds, theyre not toooo old. but yeah, even when i put on new strings, it dosnt give out much chime. ill try flats though, would epoxy help at all?
  5. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    I have no idea what you mean that "your bass doesn't have strong enough harmonics".

    I can assure you that going to flatwounds wont improve the harmonics on your bass.

    My initial thought is thatyou might possibly have a technique rather than an equiptment problem. Possibly some critical EQing?
  6. Zanyman42788

    Zanyman42788 Guest

    Apr 15, 2004
    well, i play alot of fretted basses... and i can get really good chime like harmonics out of basses. but this bass dosnt want to give me chimy harmonics, not even the 5th and 7th frets have very good tuneable harmonics because they are weak. thanx though
  7. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I'm just gonna merge these threads into one. ;)
  8. I think I get what you mean. There are lots of possibilities and the less expensive the bass the greater the chance that one or many of these will affect it's tone. The harmonic frequencies you are trying to achieve are very low energy sounds. Combined with each other (there are actually dozens of harmonic points along a string) and the fundamental note, they make enough energy to really activate a pickup. The problem as I see it is that your bass is dampening these low energy/high frequency components quickly and only allowing a clear fundamental to be heard.

    The first place to look for reasons this happens is in the body wood. If it's a softer basswood or acacia like is used for inexpensive imported instruments, then that can be a sponge for the highs needed to sparkle. Harder body woods won't absorb these vibrations and keep more energy in the string.

    The next place I would search is the neck joint. If the connection isn't tight and the clamping force substantial, then you loose what is called "sonic coupling" or the ability to transfer tonal vibrations between the neck and body. This will kill low energy vibrations as well. Remember the tin can and string walkie talkie? If the string was slack, no voice could be heard from the other end. It's the same with a bass neck and body. I like to use steel inserts and machine bolts in my own constructions to really put the squeeze on this joint. If I do it right, I get sustain and tone to rival neck-thrus.

    The next place I would consider is the bridge. A high mass bridge will keep more of the energy in the string making harmonics more clear and audible. Your stock bridge may send too much vibration into the body to be absorbed. The same goes for the nut. I like metal - brass or aluminum - because of this. Another detail in the nut and the bridge that can kill harmonics is the precision with which the saddle and nut slot are cut. A slightly deformed slot can mess with harmonics in very unusual ways.

    Since your bass has passive electronics, it's easy to make an improvement here too. You can experiment with different capacitor values as your tone filter. From what the experts say, stick with the mylar film capacitors as they bleed off less signal than other types. By getting the value that best works with the rest of your tonal package (body, bridge, etc.) you will get more harmonic response from the bass.

    Your strings are important too - as your primary sound making component. Your Roto's should be bright enough so I tend to think your problem is in the instrument itself. Going to flats is absolutely NOT the way to go. The flat windings press square against each other and limit string flexibility. Without flexibility, the smaller string vibrations that make harmonic sounds will be deadened completely. Just think here - that's why a thumping funk line from James Jamerson (flatwounds) sounds completely different from the clicky, hyper growl of a Chris Squire (rounds).
  9. you might need a bridge pickup to get the Jaco-style harmonics.

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