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#2874916 - 08/24/17 09:29 AM Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass
Desert Rat Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 354
Loc: Arizona, U.S.
After searching the forum, I couldn't come up with a thread about this so here goes:
I am a new bass player (many years on the keyboard and about 20 on guitar), but want to try my hand on the bass.

I purchased a Fender American Professional Fretless Jazz Bass from GC and took it to a luthier to have him check it out. He says the treble side is elevated slightly (more as you go down the neck towards the body) and thinks I should take it back. He says he can plane it, but thinks I should see if I can get a better product.

My question is: Is it worth the time and effort to return it and get a new one (which might have the same or similar problem)or just have him plane the fretboard and go from there?

The cost is no problem either way, but I want a bass that is the way it should be. Don't know if Fender is having the same problems keeping up the quality as Gibson, but it seems the mass produced guitars/basses are not what they used to be.

Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.
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#2874933 - 08/24/17 10:32 AM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: Desert Rat]
lug Offline
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Loc: League City,TX,UNITED STATES
Take it back, no question. Planing a fretboard is not cheap and it sure shouldn't be on your dime.
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#2874986 - 08/24/17 01:54 PM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: lug]
jeremy c Offline
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Registered: 02/01/01
Posts: 16428
Loc: Berkeley,CA,UNITED STATES
definitely return it and get another one.

unfortunately stores don't stock a lot of fretless basses.

what made you decide to get a fretless as opposed to a fretted bass?
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#2875007 - 08/24/17 04:12 PM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: jeremy c]
Paul K Offline
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Registered: 05/16/06
Posts: 3628
Loc: Ithaca, NY
+1 on J.C.'s fretless for a first bass question....(and this comes from an almost exclusively fretless player)
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#2875052 - 08/24/17 08:30 PM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: jeremy c]
Desert Rat Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 354
Loc: Arizona, U.S.
Originally Posted By: jeremy c
definitely return it and get another one.

unfortunately stores don't stock a lot of fretless basses.

what made you decide to get a fretless as opposed to a fretted bass?


Tomorrow I am returning the bass to GC and going to have their tech look at it. I am certain they will find the same fault which of course means the return process and keeping my fingers crossed that I don't have to go through this again.

As for my reason for going fretless: It comes from the fact that when I first started playing bass in high school some 40 years ago, (mind you there has been a 38 year hiatus since) I learned on an upright acoustic bass. I love having to know finger position, rather than relying on the frets for intonation. Further, two of my favorite bassists are Jaco and Steve Bailey. While I make no claims that I will ever be able to play at their level, I would like to try my hand on the fretless so that I may be able to mimic even a few of their chops.

Will update on tomorrow's trip to the store and the results. I agree that planing is both wallet draining and a procedure that should not have to be done on a brand new instrument. My hope is that Fender is not slacking off on their tolerances for quality. Perhaps I should complain to management, which is now only 6 miles from where I live.
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Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass & '62 RI Strat, "Doc" Severinsen trumpet

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#2875097 - 08/25/17 04:59 AM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: Desert Rat]
Paul K Offline
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Registered: 05/16/06
Posts: 3628
Loc: Ithaca, NY
Bailey is a monster. I did that "Bass at the Beach" bass camp once years ago.

So for fretless, I recommend one without the cheater lines. That's because the side dots on a line-less fretboard are at the frets instead of between them, so they're much more useful and easier to see when you need a reference. Plus they look way cooler. Don't know if the GC bass has lines or not....

I'd think that for the coin, Fender American series should only need to be tuned up right out of the box. If not, then why pay the extra coin over their imports?
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#2875174 - 08/25/17 09:14 AM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: Paul K]
jcadmus Offline
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Registered: 11/22/05
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Loc: Connecticut
Take it back. If they don't have another one, ask them to order you one -- they should be happy to do that for you to make up for the inconvenience.
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#2875339 - 08/26/17 08:57 AM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: jcadmus]
Desert Rat Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 354
Loc: Arizona, U.S.
Went back to GC. The tech and another guy, who has been playing bass for 40 years, look at it. Neither could see the same problem the luthier did. They did work on the action a bit and checked the truss rod, but in the end this is what they said:

We don't see anything wrong with the guitar. If you want, we will order another and trade it for yours. Or, you can take it home and play it until you find something wrong or find it doesn't play the way you want. At that time, you can bring it in and we will exchange it for another. Manufacturer's defects have a 5 year warranty so you have that amount of time to find one.

After watching and listening to the guys play it, I couldn't find any problems myself so decided to take it home and see how I do with it. I have 45 days to return it and exchange without reason. I have 5 years to find out if it does have a real defect.

The luthier I took it to originally told me that he was exceptionally "nit-picky" (to use his words) so I wonder if he was seeing something that most people would pass over and do fine with. One thing he did mention was that because this guitar had been shipped from another state, it might take 6-8 weeks to adjust to Arizona's rather dry climate.

We'll see what happens from here and I will update if there are any changes. Thanks for the suggestions and support and I hope I am going to be spending as much time in this forum as I have in the keyboard corner in the future. cheers
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Korg) ARP Odyssey Mk.1 FS, Roland JU-06 and Alesis DG-8 w/8 Q-Cards
Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass & '62 RI Strat, "Doc" Severinsen trumpet

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#2875371 - 08/26/17 11:56 AM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: Paul K]
Desert Rat Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 354
Loc: Arizona, U.S.
Originally Posted By: Paul K
Bailey is a monster. I did that "Bass at the Beach" bass camp once years ago.

So for fretless, I recommend one without the cheater lines. That's because the side dots on a line-less fretboard are at the frets instead of between them, so they're much more useful and easier to see when you need a reference. Plus they look way cooler. Don't know if the GC bass has lines or not....

I'd think that for the coin, Fender American series should only need to be tuned up right out of the box. If not, then why pay the extra coin over their imports?


Bailey is great and down to earth. I am thinking of possibly going to Berklee if things work out.

As for the lines, the solution for me is to play in the dark. So far I have had no trouble finding the right intonations so will see what happens. There are side dots on this one as well.

I completely agree on the cost/quality issue. If I am going to spend $1500 for the same quality as a $199, I won't waste the money. But, I am hoping this will all work out. I can't explain how much I enjoy the feel and sounds I am getting. Time will tell.
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Korg) ARP Odyssey Mk.1 FS, Roland JU-06 and Alesis DG-8 w/8 Q-Cards
Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass & '62 RI Strat, "Doc" Severinsen trumpet

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#2875557 - 08/28/17 02:12 AM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: Desert Rat]
EddiePlaysBass Online   content
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Posts: 5961
Loc: Belgium
Welcome! I see no reason why you should not start off on fretless. Or 5-string. It's just a different kind of difficult grin
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#2875645 - 08/28/17 12:27 PM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: Desert Rat]
Paul K Offline
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Registered: 05/16/06
Posts: 3628
Loc: Ithaca, NY
Originally Posted By: Desert Rat

As for the lines, the solution for me is to play in the dark. So far I have had no trouble finding the right intonations so will see what happens. There are side dots on this one as well.


So this bass is with the fretlines or without?
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#2875943 - 08/30/17 08:06 AM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: Paul K]
Desert Rat Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 354
Loc: Arizona, U.S.
Originally Posted By: Paul K
So this bass is with the fretlines or without?


It has lines. http://shop.fender.com/en-US/electric-ba...0194100748.html
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Korg) ARP Odyssey Mk.1 FS, Roland JU-06 and Alesis DG-8 w/8 Q-Cards
Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass & '62 RI Strat, "Doc" Severinsen trumpet

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#2876086 - 08/31/17 05:25 AM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: Desert Rat]
Paul K Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 05/16/06
Posts: 3628
Loc: Ithaca, NY
Originally Posted By: Desert Rat
Originally Posted By: Paul K
So this bass is with the fretlines or without?


It has lines. http://shop.fender.com/en-US/electric-ba...0194100748.html


So the side dots are between the frets, not at the fret.
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Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.
www.home.roadrunner.com/~kempkes/fundus.html

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#2876126 - 08/31/17 08:34 AM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: Paul K]
Desert Rat Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 354
Loc: Arizona, U.S.
Originally Posted By: Paul K
Originally Posted By: Desert Rat
Originally Posted By: Paul K
So this bass is with the fretlines or without?


It has lines. http://shop.fender.com/en-US/electric-ba...0194100748.html


So the side dots are between the frets, not at the fret.


Yes. This is not my bass, but shows what it looks like:
http://cdn2.bigcommerce.com/n-zfvgw8/6yx8ld/images/stencil/1280x1280/products/751/3936/$_57__55129.1484312431.JPG?c=2
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Korg) ARP Odyssey Mk.1 FS, Roland JU-06 and Alesis DG-8 w/8 Q-Cards
Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass & '62 RI Strat, "Doc" Severinsen trumpet

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#2876607 - 09/02/17 11:18 AM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: EddiePlaysBass]
jeremy c Offline
10k Club

Registered: 02/01/01
Posts: 16428
Loc: Berkeley,CA,UNITED STATES
That means that you will have to look at the front of the neck and not the side. Or just use your ears.
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#2876685 - 09/02/17 07:21 PM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: jeremy c]
Desert Rat Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 354
Loc: Arizona, U.S.
Originally Posted By: jeremy c
That means that you will have to look at the front of the neck and not the side. Or just use your ears.


You are right Jeremy. In my 3rd post I gave my present technique of playing with limited lighting so I develop my "feel" for position (something I had to do when I was playing upright). Landmarks are not as available on the electric, but proper position has shown to be very effective and I am now feeling comfortable with the intonation most of the time. Practice, practice and more practice and I think I will get the hang of it back.

I took the bass in to another shop I have dealt with for my Stratocaster since '97 and they couldn't find anything wrong with it so I think the first guy just was being too picky and perhaps thought since I was a newbie, he could make an extra buck or two. After I have been playing a few months, I may take it back to have it set up to match my playing (and put some RotoSound Swingbass 66s on it if I get the courage - fear of grooving the fretboard, you know). But until then, I am loving this incredible instrument.

Again, thanks all for the support and advice. Hope I can post some sounds in the future. rawk (They should have a right hand version of this emoji.)
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Korg) ARP Odyssey Mk.1 FS, Roland JU-06 and Alesis DG-8 w/8 Q-Cards
Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass & '62 RI Strat, "Doc" Severinsen trumpet

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#2876876 - 09/03/17 02:04 PM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: Desert Rat]
Paul K Offline
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Registered: 05/16/06
Posts: 3628
Loc: Ithaca, NY
Originally Posted By: Desert Rat
Originally Posted By: jeremy c
That means that you will have to look at the front of the neck and not the side. Or just use your ears.


You are right Jeremy. ........................ (and put some RotoSound Swingbass 66s on it if I get the courage - fear of grooving the fretboard, you know). But until then, I am loving this incredible instrument.



Indeed, I am also a big fan of the side dots at the fret instead of between......

Strings: I have had great success with groundwound or half-round strings, and prefer them. GHS brite flats, and D'Addario half rounds are a little less zingy and help keep the grooves in the music and not in the fretboard. More gentle on your fingertips also.
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#2877343 - 09/05/17 11:27 PM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: Paul K]
EddiePlaysBass Online   content
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Registered: 06/24/04
Posts: 5961
Loc: Belgium
Originally Posted By: Desert Rat
(and put some RotoSound Swingbass 66s on it if I get the courage - fear of grooving the fretboard, you know


God, I hate Rotosound strings. With a passion. I went with TI Jazz flats on my (fretted) Jazz bass and it was a match made in heaven. Til I broke an E-string - I only ever break E-strings for some reason. I need to get me a new set, cos the Dunlops I have on there now are severely meh...

Best of luck!
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#2877407 - 09/06/17 09:02 AM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: EddiePlaysBass]
jcadmus Offline
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Registered: 11/22/05
Posts: 4963
Loc: Connecticut
I learned to play fretless the same way I learned how to drive a stick: I bought one.
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#2877555 - 09/06/17 08:22 PM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: jcadmus]
Desert Rat Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 354
Loc: Arizona, U.S.
Originally Posted By: jcadmus
I learned to play fretless the same way I learned how to drive a stick: I bought one.


It's odd you should mention this. I just bought a stick two months ago. 2017 Toyota Corolla SE 6 speed manual transmission. Reminds me of my first car: A 1977 Toyota Corolla 5 speed manual. Some things never change, I guess. cool
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Korg) ARP Odyssey Mk.1 FS, Roland JU-06 and Alesis DG-8 w/8 Q-Cards
Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass & '62 RI Strat, "Doc" Severinsen trumpet

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#2877625 - 09/07/17 07:01 AM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: EddiePlaysBass]
The Geoff Offline
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Registered: 11/05/04
Posts: 8839
Loc: Near Glasgow
Originally Posted By: EddiePlaysBass
Originally Posted By: Desert Rat
(and put some RotoSound Swingbass 66s on it if I get the courage - fear of grooving the fretboard, you know


God, I hate Rotosound strings. With a passion. I went with TI Jazz flats on my (fretted) Jazz bass and it was a match made in heaven. Til I broke an E-string - I only ever break E-strings for some reason. I need to get me a new set, cos the Dunlops I have on there now are severely meh...

Best of luck!


I now have EB Cobalt Flats on all 4 basses - fretted & fretless. If you can afford them - they're not cheap - then I recommend you give them a go.

G.


Edited by The Geoff (09/07/17 07:02 AM)
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#2877768 - 09/07/17 08:51 PM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: The Geoff]
Desert Rat Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 354
Loc: Arizona, U.S.
Originally Posted By: The Geoff
I now have EB Cobalt Flats on all 4 basses - fretted & fretless. If you can afford them - they're not cheap - then I recommend you give them a go.

G.


Sounds like they are worth trying. And the price is reasonable for the sound they seem to produce (watched a couple of YouTube reviews) so will give them a go. Thanks for the suggestion.
cheers
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Korg) ARP Odyssey Mk.1 FS, Roland JU-06 and Alesis DG-8 w/8 Q-Cards
Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass & '62 RI Strat, "Doc" Severinsen trumpet

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#2878217 - 09/10/17 02:18 AM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: Desert Rat]
The Geoff Offline
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Registered: 11/05/04
Posts: 8839
Loc: Near Glasgow
like

G.
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The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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#2878325 - 09/10/17 11:07 PM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: The Geoff]
EddiePlaysBass Online   content
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Registered: 06/24/04
Posts: 5961
Loc: Belgium
Thanks G, they are actually around EUR 10,- cheaper than the TI Jazz which I like so I may give them a go. Right now I am not in a gigging band so I am somewhat reluctant to spend money on strings, but I prefer the sound of flats on my Jazz bass ...

How do the EB Cobalt flats compare with the TI Jazz flats in terms of tension?
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#2878331 - 09/11/17 02:36 AM Re: Fretboard elevation on new Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass [Re: EddiePlaysBass]
The Geoff Offline
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Registered: 11/05/04
Posts: 8839
Loc: Near Glasgow
I've never used TI's so I can't answer that, but they seem more flexible than the brands I've previously used - mainly D'Addarios and Fender.

I really like them. Turn up the treble and there's a bit of zing if you want it, or turn it back if thump is needed.

I'll be writing to you to get new sets - the 5 string set (all my instruments are 5ers) is over 40 here.

G.


Edited by The Geoff (09/11/17 02:38 AM)
_________________________
"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix
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The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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