Author Topic: Fretted to fretless, wise move or.....  (Read 450 times)

jazzyvee

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Fretted to fretless, wise move or.....
« on: July 05, 2017, 08:25:01 AM »
Whilst Im dreaming for now, I have two alembics that I use least of all. One is a 5 string Bocate Europa and the other a 4 string all maple Elan 4 with Europa electronics and dual P-style pickups. Is it a big job for a luthier to convert either of these to fretless basses? I assume cheaper to pull and fill the frets compared to putting a new ebony board on?



Who has done it and what is the verdict?
The sound of Alembic is medicine for the soul!

adriaan

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Re: Fretted to fretless, wise move or.....
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2017, 09:24:05 AM »
My Epic got defretted a good while ago. Went to a luthier with a good reputation, he pulled the frets and inlaid some darkened maple strips.


Only problem really was what to do with the adjustable nut, which is much too tall if you take the frets out of the equation. In the end I had the nut shaved down a few millimeters from the top, and the slots recut. The strings sit a hair above the fingerboard now.


For a while, I had the nut mounted without the base plate, but that way you risk damage to the front of the headstock.


Funny thing is the tone of the bass doesn't change much - just the articulation.

edwardofhuncote

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Re: Fretted to fretless, wise move or.....
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2017, 02:41:10 PM »
Jazzy, if going with fret-lines in place of frets, *definitely* go with wood instead of plastic or fibre purfling... get something as close to ebony in density as possible. The fingerboard will expand and contract seasonally at a different rate than the inlay, which can cause some buzzing issues. I'm pretty sure (and if she can, please correct me) Mica said they used white holly for the sidelines on my Custom.

Be aware also, pearl inlay is problematic on fretless basses... the notes will land between the inlays, and that little bit of string travel is going to sound odd as the string oscillates against something other than wood.  I'm having a hard time remembering your Bocate Europa, but I seem to remember the double-P Elan did have pearl (oid?) oval inlay.

If you're set on a fretless bass (and I loudly applaud the idea, especially for you...  8)) perhaps a trade may be in order. 

Good for you, man. Frets... pfft. Who needs 'em?   ;D

jazzyvee

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Re: Fretted to fretless, wise move or.....
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2017, 04:16:25 PM »
Interesting I never thought about the inlays which as you say that could be a problem. I'm not dead set for it just something that crosses my mind now and again. But now you mention that I have a non gigging non alembic bass that I use for practice away from home or the occasional rehearsal which has no inlay markers so that may be a less problematic way of doing it. However that one is 35" scale and I usually play 34 and 30.75 so I wonder if swapping between fretted and fretless 35" scale length might make it harder for me to find notes accurately on a 35" scale.
The sound of Alembic is medicine for the soul!

edwardofhuncote

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Re: Fretted to fretless, wise move or.....
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2017, 04:57:10 PM »
If you can switch between short and long scales, I'd say the extra inch won't matter much Jazzy. I can tell you from experience, you'll be amazed at how quickly you'll adjust to fretless, especially with the visual aid of fretlines. I grew up playing upright, so it was never completely foreign to me, but the first time I ever got to play a lined fretless bass guitar was quite a revelation.

Good luck, however you decide, but I think someone of your skill level would find fretless bass very rewarding.   ;)

slawie

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Re: Fretted to fretless, wise move or.....
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2017, 11:42:15 PM »
Hey Jazzy,

I will swap you my Series I fretless for one of your 5 string series I fretted basses.

slawie
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jazzyvee

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Re: Fretted to fretless, wise move or.....
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2017, 11:58:59 PM »
PM me with your bass pictures let's see what you have.
The sound of Alembic is medicine for the soul!

slawie

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Re: Fretted to fretless, wise move or.....
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2017, 09:31:17 PM »
Jazzy, sent you a couple of emails with links

slawie
“Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.”
Abraham Lincoln

jazzyvee

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Re: Fretted to fretless, wise move or.....
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2017, 11:24:38 PM »
Thanks for contacting me Slawie. :-)
The sound of Alembic is medicine for the soul!