Fretless sub-bass conversion!

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by Winspear, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Hey guys :wavey:

    So my fretless GAS has been sky high lately. I searched around for a cheap/used fretless 5 or 6, but the string number coupled with wanting a 35" for extreme down tuning made it kinda hard.

    Then I stumbled across a Dean (shh!) Edge Q5 (fretted) for £200 (£550 new). I already own a Q6 which is a real nice solid bass with the best B string I've ever played personally. 35", EMGs, had to have it.

    [​IMG]

    I got the bass from ExpressMusic, with a nice cheap softcase - they included all allen keys and a free cable too :)
    It came in damn good shape. Barely any damage just a few blemishes in the finish. Very playable setup, upgraded heavy duty barrel jack of some sort - nice!

    Let's go! Soldering iron on the frets and fret pliers to remove
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Tada!

    Then came the woodfiller - I didn't use any tape - I knew this could lead to some chips showing with lighter coloured filler but it isn't bad at all!

    [​IMG]

    On second thoughts I probably shouldn't have tried to apply it straight out of the tube, what a freaking mess :lol:

    30 minutes with some course paper, medium paper, and 0000 steel wool and here we are! Checked throughout with a straight edge for a nice flat board

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    This photo you can see how the chips show up.

    Had to wait a few days for my bridge suspension cables to arrive...

    [​IMG]

    And here we are!

    One more very dark pic because my camera is awful and you can't get a good idea of the quilt with this flash on.

    [​IMG]



    Either the guy who owned this before me was tuning with an extra low string or the nut was way overcut - barely had to do any work to fit my Circle K 190's on there - just lowering the slots to get that low fretless action :hbang:
    Gauges and tension:
    F .190 39.9lb
    Bb .136 37.1lb
    Eb .098 35.1lb
    Ab .073 34.9lb
    Db .053 33.6lb

    Got it set up nice and it's perfect! Plays like a breeze and sounds absolutely wonderful. No dead spots in the board and no buzz, the progressive lighter tension is wonderful for fretless. These are roundwound strings by the way to get a tone like my favourite bassist Yves Carbonne :D

    When the Q6 comes back from the shop with some mods I will make a double NBD thread with more details, good reviews, better photos, sound clips etc :)

    Thanks for looking :D

    Oh I forgot! The hardest part of this conversion was fitting that gauge through the bridge lol! I forgot to bring a drill here and had to scrape a way a good few mm of metal with a knife :D
     
  2. WaffleTheEpic

    WaffleTheEpic Banned

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    What, no demos?
     
  3. AxeHappy

    AxeHappy SS.org Regular

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    I love everything Fretless! Awesome job!!

    I'm a fan of using epoxy as a filler personally, but it is ridiculously time consuming and any that lands outside of the fret slot is like sanding down a little fucking fret! Haha!

    I absolutely love that dark shot. I would rep the post more if I could.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
  4. Dead Undead

    Dead Undead New again

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    That's awesome, man! Congrats. Looks like it turned out nicely. Do you plan to ever mirror coat the board?
     
  5. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Clips in the double NBD thread hopefully late next week :D

    Nah - I love the look of mirror coated/epoxy etc but I think I want to stay with just some nicely oiled wood on this :D Maybe one day!
     
  6. axxessdenied

    axxessdenied Arium Addict

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    Wow, that bass has a lovely rosewood!!! :D


    Awesome job. Makes me want to do this as well!!!
     
  7. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd has left the building

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    Is this that bass you were talking about in my fretless conversion thread?

    You did a damn good job. :yesway:
     
  8. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Thanks bros! :D
     
  9. BlackMastodon

    BlackMastodon \m/ (゚Д゚) \m/ Contributor

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    Hmmmm think I may end up doing this to my Ibanez 5 string. Will probably epoxy mine, though. Great work!
     
  10. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    That's cool you went for an inverted tension set, feels weird at first but i'm finding so many advantages.
     
  11. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    :agreed:

    I go for 41lbs every string on my fretted but I plan to have a fretless bass with a high F in the future so I thought I'd best get used to the light tension on top. I really like it, makes for sweeter expressive melodies on the top whilst keeping the low F solid :yesway:
     
  12. Rustee

    Rustee †The Skyrim Bard†

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    Would love to be able to do shit like this, unfortunately I am pretty much retarded when it comes to all things wood. Really wish I listened during tech in high school. Awesome job.
     
  13. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Seriously it was easy haha I have no experience either :D Thanks man!
     
  14. Nemonic

    Nemonic SS.org Regular

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    Hello there. Do you have any clips of this?
    I have played fretless (Cort, 4 string) for the frist time today. I am seriously considering defretting my Cort T bass (35" scale), so I want to be sure if it is the sound I am looking for. I will be using roundwounds and I am going for something like F Ab Eb Ab Db. Possibly low Eb, buw it might be overkill and I would probably spend too much time in the lowest register.
     

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