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Another fretless conversion thread


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Originally posted by Ed Friedland 8-11-01:

Personally, I wouldn't bother. The epoxy is a mess to deal with, most luthiers hate doing this job, so maybe you shouldn't try it yourself. I have decided that for my taste, I don't care for the sound either. It gives the bass a glassy, trebly edge that I don't want. I like the warmer, woodier sound of roundwounds strings chewing up my fingerboard! Hey, it's a Mexi-Fender, when it gets worn out, buy a new one! Or at least have the fingerboard sanded down, you can do this a few times if you don't let the wear develop too much.


Bringin this one back from the archives . . .


I also have a Mex-Fender that I finally decided to turn in to a fretless w/ the help of a friend who knows what he's doing. He said he plans on using epoxy, but after reading Ed's views on the sound of epoxy (glassy, trebly), I don't want that. My sound on a fretted isn't like that, so I definitely don't want it when intonation becomes an issue on a fretless. I also saw this link that dbb posted in another old thread that doesn't involve epoxy in the process.


So basically what I'm looking for here is:


1) What differing sounds will be produced using differing methods? (i.e. - epoxy resulting in glassy and a trebly tone.)


2) Round vs. Flats on a fretless? And the difference of both w/ and w/o epoxy.


3) Good J pickups for fretless


4) Wishing me luck

Ah, nice marmot.
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If you want to know what that "glassy" sound is, listen to Jaco, Mark Egan, or Michael Manring.


If you want to hear what a bare wood fingerboard will sound like, listen to Pino Palladino.


They're both good sounds. They both will require maintenence.

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Yeah, I love the Pino sound. His sound on D'Angelo's stuff (as well as the little else I've heard) is exactly what I'm looking for. So no epoxy for me. Sweet.


Also, nuts. What type of nut works well w/ fretless? I love brass nuts on my brass fretted basses, but what will produce a good matching tone for a fretless w/o epoxy? And where should I look for one?


And finally, I don't want any lines on the fretboard from the fill-in wood. What works well to do this w/o compromising tone? I'll have to stain/dye to fretboard the way it is (to get rid of the fret markers), but wanna see what you guys suggest.

Ah, nice marmot.
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I just put a graphite nut into my fretless. I don't think it has had a significant effect on my tone. If anything my bass is a touch warmer (used to have a plastic nut). A brass nut might be more extreme in its effects. I have little guidance to offer here.


In terms of fretlines...why fight it on your own DIY conversion (or I guess it's a "have a friend do it" conversion)? If you're really concerned about it, you will need to stain or dye the board. Mike Lull puts strips of wood into the fret cavities once he's removed the frets. Then he saws and sands. If you take that route (I'm guessing you're not), you would avoid putty/filler, and could try to choose a wood that slightly contrasts against the color of your fingerboard. You would still have visible lines, but they would be subtle and probably a killer look.





Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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