Set-Up?

Set-Up?

Postby Sloom » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:28 am

How do you fretless players set up your bass? String heights at the nut, that kind of thing?

I'm not really trying to get an abundance of that 'mwah' sound- not that I don't like some of it, but I find myself easily annoyed by it: I think It sounds kind of contrived when it's always there, ready to jump out at the lightest touch- I only want that when I have to dig for it! I just mostly want a good fundamental tone, not-too-low action, and my intonation as close to 'great' as possible (just speaking about the instrument here...). My Squier frankenbass has a Mighty-Mite unlined fretless neck with TI Flats on it.

My general style has changed; I'm playing my right hand way up near- or on top of- the neck nowadays, bass angled closer to vertical than standard much of the time. Right hand still runs down to the bridge for snappier sounds... The bass hangs pretty low on the strap, quasi-lazy-arse-junky-punk-rocker style [smilie=music-smiley-005.gif] .

I tend to build to a heavy approach for a guy who doesn't have huge mitts- though I'm getting better at a using a more 'judicious' right hand after several years of playing reggae gigs. But still, when the action is very low I feel as if I'm cheating. I have an upright in the house I bang on when I can, so anything less physically challenging than that is great!

Thanks for your time.

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Re: Set-Up?

Postby davelowell » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:36 am

I don't know anything about fretless. I plan on getting into it in the next year, but I wanted to say "wow" at your bass there! How do like the Mighty Mite neck? I have one on my Fenderbird that I like. Sorry to derail!
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Re: Set-Up?

Postby ghiadub » Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:15 am

I set mine up with little to no relief, nut cut pretty low, almost to the fb. Or if the neck breaks right, into the fb.

Basically the set setup I do for my fretted basses but minus the height of a fret when I cut the nut.


IMO fretless setup is about as personal as you can get, everybody has thier own way.
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Re: Set-Up?

Postby Father Gino » Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:56 am

Is that the bass you brought to the bassaholics meeting? If so, I personally thought your nut was cut too high. You can cut it almost to the level of the fretboard but you might find that too low. Yours is set so high as to make it hard to finger the money notes IMHO. If you don't make a firm connection of the string to the fretboard when fingering a note, you will inadvertently get mwah. I like a fair amount of relief on the neck and I am also not after excessive mwah. A flat board to me seems "choked" and the strings can't be dug into when you want. Action is where you want it, same as any bass. I've come to like more relief and higher action over the years. Don't ask me to measure any of this crap though :)

I love TI flats but I'd say this about them. They are low tension and take some getting used to. I find you can only pluck them so hard before they sound like crap. OTOH, finding that limit and being able to use it is wonderful. You can pluck them lightly and they sound great with good sustain. You can thwack 'em just hard enough for a lovely snap. Plucking them at their limit for me yields a percussive snap and loss of sustain in an agreeable uprightish sorta way. If you really pluck aggressively, you might try some tighter strings, like Chromes maybe.

Just for hahahs someday, try some real light roundwounds like TI jazz rounds. They'll mwah like crazy if you want them to. Keeping them from doing so is educational. They will also point out your intonation (or lack thereof) with alarming alacrity. Even if they do not make the sound you're after, it might be fun to play with them.
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Re: Set-Up?

Postby kennans » Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:45 am

I personally like a fairly flat board - not totally, but close. Lately I've been raising my string height a tad, and on my main bass, just went from TI Flats to the Ernie Ball Group III flats. Some of the same characteristics but just a bit higher tension, so you can spank them occasionally.

Of course, I'm not as much a 'mwah' guy as a 'ka-blam!' guy.
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Re: Set-Up?

Postby Funkster » Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:50 am

I'm new to the Toothless world but mine is set up with the nut cut right down to the board and very little relief and the action is low,, Mwahahahahahaha I'm diggin the Mwa,, Man I wish I had the balls to take it to a gig! I am getting better on it though..
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Re: Set-Up?

Postby throckmorten » Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:54 am

I just tweaked my Lakland HB. Took of the TI flats and re-installed the LaBella tapes, gave the trussrod a crank down to nearly flat - you have to look damn hard to see the relief but there is just a tad till I see how the weather will affect it.

The nut slots were filed out to accomodate the fatter tapes (I had Roto 88s on there for a while) but they were not filed down any lower.

The bridge saddles are set low. The E saddle is nearly touching the plate.

The strings are not dead even with the freatborad all the way up, they raise slightly as you'd expect. I haven't really tried for that dead-even height but playing a fretless set like that can be very nice. The only one I ever saw that way was a Godin A4

I have feeler guages but I haven't bothered to measure the releif-to-string height. I'm not that fussy though it's not a bad idea, just to get a number to use as a base line.

I share your opinion on mwah. A little goes a long way. And even with the low action I'm not getting more than I want. I'd rather suggest it than put it in your face.
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Re: Set-Up?

Postby Freddels » Fri Nov 06, 2009 11:30 am

I just play. [smilie=icon_biggrin.gif]
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Re: Set-Up?

Postby Sloom » Fri Nov 06, 2009 2:45 pm

That's great, Fred. [smilie=cheeky-smiley-025.gif] J/K!! I did dig the setup of your Jazz by the way.

Seriously though, thanks guys for the responses! Gino, I'm in no way no-how ready for that much honesty in my playing (chronic faker). But when I'm ready, I'm analytical and secretly picky enough to do that TI rounds thing.

I will however git out my file set and bring the nut down a good bit, first chance I get. It all sounds gratifyingly organic to me, and I'm all about it! What I like most about fretless is the primitiveness of it- real 'base-line', if you will. Sorry.

Dave, the only other fretless neck I've had previous to this was a Warmouth, which I remember being very nice in retrospect: The sound was warm and huge. Rally liked it, and was easily fooled into thinking I could actually play fretless for a while. The Mighty-Mite is slick though, the board looks dark and tidy. I do think there's just a tad-bit of 'ripple' in the surface. I won't sand it, as I don't want to lose the finish! [smilie=tosser.gif] I know... Anyway, I think if I change the strings back to the black LaBellas that'd be less of a threat. But I like the TIs. And thanks for the kind word on my shade-tree-jigged bass.

I'll be back, thanks again all.
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Re: Set-Up?

Postby Freddels » Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:29 pm

Roger, that fretless of mine that you played had a Warmoth neck and they did the nut before it arrived. I just bolted it on the body, put on the tuners, strung it up and played it. I didn't mess with the nut at all. That bass sounds huge with the Dimarzio model J's in it.
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Re: Set-Up?

Postby Sloom » Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:32 pm

In the limited way I got to play it it felt real good. I'd like to hear it at gig volume (mine!).
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Re: Set-Up?

Postby Father Gino » Sat Nov 07, 2009 12:45 am

Sloom wrote: I'm in no way no-how ready for that much honesty in my playing (chronic faker). But when I'm ready, I'm analytical and secretly picky enough to do that TI rounds thing.


Pussy! [smilie=cheeky-smiley-025.gif] Anything that doesn't kill or seriously maim you makes you stronger. Seriously, it's real educational and it would sound pretty neat on that phenolic board methinks.

Funkster wrote: Man I wish I had the balls to take it to a gig!


Pussy! [smilie=cheeky-smiley-025.gif] Like some bunch o' drunken yahoos in some slimy bar would know the difference! Take that @#$%^& thing out there man!!! Where would the Rolling stones be if they worried about such trivialities like intonation and shit?
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Re: Set-Up?

Postby Freddels » Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:49 am

Sloom wrote:In the limited way I got to play it it felt real good. I'd like to hear it at gig volume (mine!).


You can borrow it for a gig or two if you want. You just can't mod it. :hid:
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Re: Set-Up?

Postby Sloom » Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:49 am

Well there we go Henry. Don't be a pussy! [smilie=food-smiley-004.gif]

Those strings're expensive... my flats were! I'm currently dirt-po', but I'll keep your reproof in mind. [smilie=music-smiley-005.gif]
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Re: Set-Up?

Postby Sloom » Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:51 am

Freddels wrote:
Sloom wrote:In the limited way I got to play it it felt real good. I'd like to hear it at gig volume (mine!).


You can borrow it for a gig or two if you want. You just can't mod it. :hid:


[smilie=grinning-smiley-003.gif]

Might be fun to A/B it with mine. I'll PM you later on, thanks Fred.
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