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Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
#2270335 02/04/11 03:34 PM
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Okay so while PM'ing with a fellow forumite, I mentioned that I want a decent fretless. He then reminded me that the Palmer I have is, indeed, a fretless. And it is a good bass. I was going to say: "considering what I paid for it (EUR 120, including delivery from Germany)" but in truth, it is a good bass. I have played a few gigs with it and did not get any complaints (probably because no one noticed it anyway).

Now, the thing is: the neck is not lined NOR are there any side dot inlays. It also came with round wounds and they have been eating at the fretboard a good bit. Pick-up wise, I am still at a loss as to which knob actually does what: they ALL seem to be volume for some reason. The signal is pretty weak and I have to rely on my amp to get good tone. I know, this does not sound like a good bass, does it? But despite its very narrow string width (it is a 5 string) it has low action and a very "fast" neck.

So I was thinking about some modifications, more specifically having the fretboard replaced by a lined or at least side-dotted finished fretboard (or an unfinished one and buying flatwounds) and have different pick-ups installed. But then I started wondering whether all this will really make "the" difference. With Squier pumping out good quality low price basses these days, I wonder whether it would not be cheaper to simply buy a new fretless, than to tinker with the one I have.

Any thoughts?


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Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
EddiePlaysBass #2270338 02/04/11 03:40 PM
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*Replacing* the fingerboard would be very expensive. It would be much easier to get side markers put in - in fact you cou;d do it yourself - quick tap with a hammer & punch & fill the hole with a good white enamel. Just need to get accurate measurements.

Go on flatwounds.

Sounds like your wiring needs sorted out. Know any techs?

If you were near here, I'd do it all for ya, but you insist on living abroad!!! grin

G.


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Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
The Geoff #2270342 02/04/11 03:45 PM
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Actually, both of you are "abroad"...

I like pimping stuff myself but have come to realize that by the time I am done pimpin...hell it ain't easy.....that I could have bought what I wanted from the get go plus some strings, maybe a new book or some other gadget. That is of course if we are talking about pickups and neck replacements, not with LED side markers and of course stickers.


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Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
fingertalkin #2270449 02/04/11 06:42 PM
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"Pimping the Palmer".... Is that like "Buffing the Bishop"? laugh


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Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
EddiePlaysBass #2270509 02/04/11 09:15 PM
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Since you have nothing to lose why not try pimping your bass.
Why not? idk If it goes bad you can try one of the other things or get that Squier.

Get a radiused sanding block, remove the nut and lightly sand the fingerboard smooth. Then glue the nut back on. Put some dots in. Geoff's idea sounds pretty easy so give it a try. As far as the wiring, if you're good with a soldering iron find a schematic and give it a go. Otherwise get a tech to help you out. You'll learn lots working on your bass and you'll get a lot of satisfaction when it turns out.


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Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
b5pilot #2270516 02/04/11 10:02 PM
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I never think it's a good a idea to throw money at an inexpensive bass, unless you have some extra money and want to practice your woodworking and electronic skills.

Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
jeremy c #2270522 02/04/11 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted By: jeremy c
I never think it's a good a idea to throw money at an inexpensive bass, unless you have some extra money and want to practice your woodworking and electronic skills.


I am actually with you on that one, Jeremy. For one, I have absolutely no woodworking or electronic skills - something I proved amply mid-nineties when I "threw away" a year in tech school, failing all tech classes and aceing all the language / history / general education classes grin

If anything, I would throw the money at it and have my dad do all the actual work. But I was looking around on the net and found that the price of 2 pick-ups to my liking would come very near to the price of a Squier VM fretless. Talk about an argument in favour of a new bass ...


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Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
jeremy c #2270528 02/04/11 10:28 PM
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I agree with Jeremy, though 120 Euro is nothing to laugh off, it's not that much money, you could spend that much on new pickups alone.

For the neck, I'll ask the obvious question. The neck on your URB is not dotted or lined, but you still manage to find the correct notes and intonation, right? Use some stickers on the side of the neck if you must, but don't waste the time with the neck lines or dots, that's time you could better spend practicing, using your ear to tell you when your on the sweet spot. After playing fretless for a while I found myself listening rather than looking at the neck.

+1 for Flatwounds.

For the electronics, have someone check them out for you if you can't do it yourself, it could be dirty/corroded pots that are hindering the output.


"Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.'-Hamlet

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Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
EddiePlaysBass #2270538 02/04/11 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted By: EddiePlaysBass
Originally Posted By: jeremy c
I never think it's a good a idea to throw money at an inexpensive bass, unless you have some extra money and want to practice your woodworking and electronic skills.


I am actually with you on that one, Jeremy. For one, I have absolutely no woodworking or electronic skills - something I proved amply mid-nineties when I "threw away" a year in tech school, failing all tech classes and aceing all the language / history / general education classes grin


The things I mentioned would have cost almost no money but if it's not something you're prepared to do the I would just sell it off and get that Squier you mentioned. I've tried a couple very nice fretless models that were not that expensive.


Lydian mode? The only mode I know has the words "pie ala" in front of it.
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Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
b5pilot #2270572 02/05/11 01:14 AM
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DIY side dots: I had a thread about that, but it's over two years old. Easy to do, easier if you hunt out the appropriate size forstner bit. I got the side dots on eBay for cheap. Spring for the glow in the dark ones. I have stick-on glow in the dark side dots, but they move around when the weather gets hot and humid.

I don't know if you'll really have to re-plane the fretboard as it is. It sounds like you really didn't play the bass much; the wear might be acceptable. Put some flats, half wound, or nylon tapes on it and see if you can get it to play just right. If you can, then Ixnay the sanding part. Make sure the nut is cut down to the appropriate height; they all come way too high from the factory. If you can get it to play the way you want, then buy some EMG's and be done with it.


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Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
EddiePlaysBass #2270603 02/05/11 03:33 AM
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Originally Posted By: EddiePlaysBass
Now, the thing is: the neck is not lined NOR are there any side dot inlays.

Sheesh. So just get yourself an Alembic:

Problem solved. Duh.

(OK. So it's fretted in the picture. But still...)


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Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
Groove Mama #2270610 02/05/11 04:40 AM
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or for $14.99, glue these suckers on.

Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
jeremy c #2270611 02/05/11 05:09 AM
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I used to buy sheets of stick-on lettering for making band posters. One time I used the periods (dots) to mark the side of a fretless maple board. They were this size --> o <-- and made good side markers. Doing this didn't permanently alter the neck either.


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Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
jlrush #2270613 02/05/11 06:32 AM
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My URB is a WAV4, it has side and neck dots smile I have odd little star shaped stickers stuck to the side of the bass for the moment to help me find positions on the neck.

I guess I should just buy a set of flats for this bass (still undecided about what strings I should use on the Fender) and have my dad look at the wiring of the pups (I know nothing, and I mean nothing about wiring, electricity and all that other stuff).


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Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
Groove Mama #2270945 02/06/11 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted By: Funkslap Mama

Sheesh. So just get yourself an Alembic


Well, I DO (proudly!) own an Alembic. an Epic 5. No LED's though. To add to it, it has no fretboard inlays whatsoever, and the side dots are small brass ones. Eventually, they tend to get darkened, and in some situations are VERY hard to see. In the end you have to get accustomed to not using them, or you would spend much precious time watching your fingerboard, instead.

OTOH, when I bought my fretless (an Alvarez), I was not totally pleased with its -passive- original electronics. Also, I disliked the sound of flatwounds on it (maybe because of the electronics). So I installed old, worn-out thin roundwounds, and loved them!. There are Epoxy coatings that can help you with the fretboard wear if you decide to keep the rounds, but be aware than switching to flats will also change the sound, in various degrees depending on the gauge and maker. I finally installed a pair of EMGs (40-J) on it, and got the sound I was after ON THAT BASS. I still want a fretless (or defretted, can also do for me) old, beaten Jazz Bass... razz

Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
Juancarlin #2270952 02/06/11 10:27 AM
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I mentioned pimping this bass to my dad, and he was totally into the idea. So maybe we will fool around with it. At any rate, right now I do not use the bass unless for "emergency" situations or gigs where I do not want to bring my other basses. If all else fails I will still have a set of pickups that I can put to use elsewhere smile As for the side markers, I want them there just in case.


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Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
EddiePlaysBass #2270956 02/06/11 11:00 AM
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A lot of good answers here..my humble opinion..just buy another bass, the benefits will far exceed any results from working on a cheap fretless

Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
jeremy c #2270960 02/06/11 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted By: jeremy c
I never think it's a good a idea to throw money at an inexpensive bass, unless you have some extra money and want to practice your woodworking and electronic skills.

I agree with Jeremy's assessment here David. Look for a Squier VM Fretless Jazz (new or used) I can all but guarantee you will be very happy with it. I've played a lot of the VM and CV Squiers and my main complaint with them was the fretwork. No worries with this one! wink


Last edited by kenfxj; 02/06/11 11:55 AM.

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Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
kenfxj #2271025 02/06/11 04:57 PM
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My Alembic Orion six also has side dots and they are not easy to see. When I played it regularly I use to use fluorescent paint on the dots to help when playing stages with minimal lighting. It does wear off and would need to redo it occasionally.

Wally


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Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
Wally Malone #2271253 02/07/11 06:37 AM
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Another thing you can do is to bore very fine holes at the position-marker points, then cut down some dome-headed pins to a shaft-length of about 2-4mm & knock them in.

G.


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Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
The Geoff #2271439 02/07/11 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted By: The Geoff
dome-headed pins


You're a dome-headed pin.

But really, I like that idea a whole lot: it supplies tactile as well as visual feedback if you only countersink half way up the pin head. And no need hunting down a forstner bit, since you really do want a round bottomed hole.

Yes. I know....


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Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
Paul K #2271529 02/07/11 06:15 PM
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You're tactile as well as visual feedback.

Bet you didn't see THAT one coming wink


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Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
EddiePlaysBass #2271532 02/07/11 06:17 PM
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You're a halfway countersunk pin head.


Push the button Frank.
Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
kenfxj #2271541 02/07/11 06:23 PM
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I thought I was gonna be a round bottomed hole.


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Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
Paul K #2271547 02/07/11 06:31 PM
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Keep working at it, Paul, and maybe someday you will yet achieve your goal and become a round bottomed hole!

grin

Last edited by EddiePlaysBass; 02/07/11 06:32 PM. Reason: Good one, Ken!

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Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
EddiePlaysBass #2271572 02/07/11 07:12 PM
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All of our bottom holes are round. Except President Obama's. His is oval. Because of his orifice.


Push the button Frank.
Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
kenfxj #2271573 02/07/11 07:12 PM
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That one was for Capasso.


Push the button Frank.
Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
kenfxj #2271706 02/08/11 01:04 AM
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Because of his orifice?

Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
jeremy c #2271707 02/08/11 01:05 AM
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The Oval Orifice.


Push the button Frank.
Re: Pimping the Palmer vs new fretless?
EddiePlaysBass #3020876 12/25/19 09:20 PM
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Bumping an old thread of mine! I bought a fretless Tony Franklin a while back, and love it to death. Today being Christmas, it was a family day with my ex's family (it's complicated) and I was talking with her second cousin, who is 14 and into metal. He mentioned he wanted to save up for a bass, but hadn't got far yet, budget-wise. So I told him I have a cheap fretless at home, and he's welcome to have it. So he is now the proud and enthousiastic owner of a Palmer FB05 smile

I told him it needs new strings and I am more than happy to help him set it up once he gets a set. It's a shame I sold my Peavey amp a few years back, or I would have thrown that in with the bass.


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