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- Inspecting a fretless
Inspecting a fretless
I'm looking at a used fretless, and am wondering if there is anything different I should do from inspecting a fretted bass. Naturally, I'm not worried about how the frets are seated, but there are probably some things unique to it being fretless I'll want to check. Thanks!
No difference really, like you say, no fret buzz to fret over, (sorry), check the neck isn't twisted and it's nice and straight with a little light relief around the fifth fret position, but other than that, nada. I'm thinking of building a fretless, with a maple neck and fingerboard and ebony inlays at the fret positions, I've already got a body that I built a while back, and a headless bridge and top piece
I'm new to fretless having built one a while ago.
But seeing that you're looking at a used one, make sure you examine the fingerboard real close.
Depending on the type of wood used and strings that were played, there may be some wear and tear on the fingerboard.
If it's ebony, you don't have much to worry about. But if it was maple, make sure roundwounds weren't the string of choice. You may notice some pits and scratches in the fingerboard.
Apart from that, there isn't much to it.
Maple fingerboard. Definitely worn, mostly under the A and D strings. Strings are roundwounds, but not nearly as textured as I have on any of my other basses, but definitely not flatwounds. There is a laundry list of issues with the bass, but for $50 I'll see what I can do with it.
The poor thing definitely needs some love. It's filthy, all of the metal parts are corroded, there are a couple of spots on the fretboard where the maple has little tabs lifting up, the neck pickup is non-functional, the output jack is NOISY. So it's a project.
It was apparently stored in an attic for a while, then more recently in a garage, so hot/cold humid/dry and everything in between.
First step is cleaning it up, then I'll look at the electronics and get them happy. Then some new strings (tapewounds??) and a setup, and I should have myself a nice fretless for not a lot of money.
I would use flatwoods or half rounds on a fretless maple fingerboard.
But go with what you like.
50 bucks? Nice project bass. I bought my Chinese P-Bass copy for $80. For about $25 I made it a playable, good looking bass.
Cleaned up, new strings, lots of adjustments on the neck to fix the action, fixing the wiring, and I'm now convinced this was a fretted bass when it was born, and got converted at some point. Still a steal, and sounds great now, too.
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