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FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Considering converting a fretted bass to fretless

Next 20 Messages  
dg27

Long Island City, NY

Dec 30th, 2017 02:59 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have an '87 MIJ Squier Jazz (SD QPs, Gotoh 201B, serries-parallel switching) that I really like, but which is kind of obsolete since I got a MIM Fender Jazz.

Considering swapping in a (lined) Fender fretless neck. My tech says it's a no-brainer as it would give me another different option. (I started on upright, fwiw.)

My tech also said I should really plan on using flats (he knows I prefer RW).

Any recommendations for a fretless Jazz in terms of flats would be appreciated.

Thanks.



Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Dec 30th, 2017 03:29 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Your tech is right, flats are a must on fretless basses to keep from wearing out the fingerboard prematurely.

Thomastik-Infeld jazz flats are widely considered to be the best, but $$$.

LaBella Deep-Talkin' Bass flats are an excellent lower-cost alternative.

Rotosound trubass 88 black nylon tape-wounds are an intriguing alternative, with a unique sound closer to that of an upright bass.

PS It's also possible to convert a fretted bass to lined fretless by pulling the frets and inlaying the slots with plastic or wood strips. That's what I did to the one at the link.

click

(This message was last edited by Te 52 at 05:57 PM, Dec 30th, 2017)

dg27

Long Island City, NY

Dec 30th, 2017 05:14 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks, Te 52.

I'm familiar with Rotosound trubass 88 black nylon tape-wounds; I have those on my '69 Fender Mustang and my '69 Gibson EB-1. I want a deeper sound than I think those deliver. I like them particularly on the Mustang for certain things, but I want as much low end as I can get on this one.

I priced the Thomastik-Infeld jazz flats: Ouch $. Might still consider them.

Thanks for the heads up on La Bellas; I was considering those when I looked at Just Strings.

I'm aware that necks can be converted, but I have a good 20-year relationship with my tech and want to keep it that way :) ...I've given him some nasty work in the past and in this case I think I'll just swap the neck.

Great looking bass that you converted!

dg27

Long Island City, NY

Dec 30th, 2017 05:18 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

One weird thing about the Thomastik-Infelds: the 34" set is .043 - .100 while the 32" set is .043 - .106.

Do they not make a 34" set that's .106 on the E?

.100 is just way too light (I use .115 in RW).

(This message was last edited by dg27 at 07:20 PM, Dec 30th, 2017)

Jeff Scott

On a spinning rock

Dec 30th, 2017 06:54 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

TI Jazz Flats, for sure. The best sounding Jazz Bass tone I ever got was with those strings, especially, for recording.

Also, I have a set on my fretless Martin Keith Elfin 5. It makes that bass sing.

(This message was last edited by Jeff Scott at 08:55 PM, Dec 30th, 2017)

dg27

Long Island City, NY

Dec 30th, 2017 07:32 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks, Jeff.

Have been looking around online and apparently .100 is the heaviest E on the 34" sets.

matryx81

Kansas

Dec 31st, 2017 04:19 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Do Pressurewounds slow down fingerboard wear?

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Jan 1st, 2018 11:58 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I wouldn't write off a low E just because it's only .100" diameter. Remember that flats have a higher weight per inch than rounds because there's not any wasted space between the round wraps. So a .100" flat will run at higher tension than a .100" round, and will not feel as loose or floppy.

dg27

Long Island City, NY

Jan 1st, 2018 01:16 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks, Te 52.

>> a .100" flat will run at higher tension than a .100" round,

And I assume a .110 flat would run at higher tension than .100 flat, correct?

(The point is I would never use a .100 round.)

The only negative reviews I read about TI flats all concern low tension, which would definitely be an issue for me.

I'm also much more comfortable with thicker strings possibly because that's what I have always used since switching from upright ages ago.


Thanks again for weighing in.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Jan 2nd, 2018 09:18 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"...And I assume a .110 flat would run at higher tension than .100 flat, correct?..."

All else being equal, that's right.

One other little wrinkle: When people talk about strings being too low or high in tension, or how "stiff" or "floppy" the string feels, they generally are referring to how hard it is to push the string sideways, such as when you bend a string. That stiffness is dominated by the diameter of the core wire, not the overall diameter.

It is perfectly possible to have two strings with the same outer diameter but have one feel much "softer." Manufacturers generally don't tell you the core wire diameter, so the only real test is to try a set and see if it has the feel you are seeking.

dg27

Long Island City, NY

Jan 3rd, 2018 05:26 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Te 52,

Thanks for your informative post.

MJB
Contributing Member
**********
**

Who's we sucka?

Smith, Wesson and me.
Jan 3rd, 2018 03:48 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

TI string gauge is optimized for the way they make their strings. It's pointless to compare them to other manufacturers as it's apples to oranges.

dg27

Long Island City, NY

Jan 4th, 2018 05:26 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks, MJB. Points noted.

LeonB
Contributing Member
**********

North of Philly

Solid state = solid sound+light weight
Jan 12th, 2018 07:47 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

DG,

Buy a neck with an ebony board and run your rounds, or epoxy a rosewood board. Lots of options, including a bit extra maintanance with a radius block.

Lots of different rounds, some even eat frets for breakfast!

If you want some zing, try the LaBella white nylon tape wounds, the originals with the tape over stainless rounds. These are on four of my five fretless basses, and may be on 5 out fo 5 soon.

By the way only one out of 5 is factory fretless, the others I defretted myself.

rwb
Contributing Member
********

Canada

The Plankster of Love
Jan 12th, 2018 10:49 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I went from using LaBella "Jamerson" strings...heavy flats, can't recall but around .109 on the E to TI flats... quite a change, and at first I thought I'd made a mistake. They take a lot of getting used to, but for my money are one of the best playing flats out there. They are indeed quite a lot softer feeling, but they are very responsive, after breaking in. (Be patient!) And they last forever... which helps rationalize the cost. I have a '65 P bass that has the same TIs on it for close to ten years now, and it plays great. I am currently using quite a variety of strings, even going back to rounds on a couple of basses. I'm trying to vary my touch and right hand attack accordingly, rather than being stuck in one. Some nights I'll feel like playing a shorter scale flatwound bass, other nights I bring along a Telecaster bass that you could use for archery class, super high and rigid flats. Life is too short for boring strings!

(This message was last edited by rwb at 12:51 AM, Jan 13th, 2018)

HeavyDuty
Contributing Member
**********
********

Northeast IL

Not very bright but does lack ambition
Jan 13th, 2018 07:11 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I’m a big fan of LaBella Jamesons too - I have them on several basses.

Don’t write off rounds on your fretless, though. Coat the board with epoxy or CA, and you should be fine.

dg27

Long Island City, NY

Jan 14th, 2018 03:19 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks, LeonB, rwb, and HeavyDuty for these latest replies. I had no idea about coating with epoxy and running rounds...this is all informative stuff.

dg27

Long Island City, NY

Feb 13th, 2018 07:47 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've been in the search for a fretless MIJ Fender Jazz neck (the destination is an '87 MIJ Squier Jazz).

One has been on and off eBay for the past month. I like it, but I'm concerned about the string wear the owner mentions (which can be seen in the pictures).

No matter what neck I get I will be using flats, but the previous owner did not.

I know it's impossible to know for sure based on photos. But I'm hoping someone would be so kind as to look at this and tell me whether they believe this wear is too much.

Thanks.

jazz neck

(This message was last edited by dg27 at 10:06 PM, Feb 13th, 2018)

dg27

Long Island City, NY

Feb 23rd, 2018 08:00 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Ended up deciding against the neck mentioned above. Instead went with a '99 MIJ Fender '62 RI Precision fretless neck.

Went with LaBella "1954" flats. This is the first time I've used traditional flats in about 30 years.

Like buttah...

Jeff Scott

On a spinning rock

Feb 24th, 2018 11:21 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Went with LaBella "1954" flats. This is the first time I've used traditional flats in about 30 years.

Like buttah..."

Don't get caught saying that over at Talkbass, you'll get shunned over it. LOL!

Next 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Considering converting a fretted bass to fretless




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