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Small-scale fretless bass?


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#1 Ojo

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 03:20 PM

Hi folks, newbie here. I've long wanted to play a fretless bass, but I just don't have the fingers for it - my hands are small enough that some parts of the guitar aren't easy. :)

Anyway I've been looking at this, which seems to be the smallest-scale bass I can find:

Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro Short Scale Bass

with a 28.6" scale.

I'm trying to decide whether to buy this and try the whole ripping-out-the-frets thing, or if anybody knows of anybody that makes a short-scale fretless bass??

Any help/advice greatly appreciated!
Thanks!
Ojo

#2 Newbie Brad

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 04:21 PM

Ashbory

These basses are obviously from another planet but I've seen one up close and they do sound good.
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#3 Desecrated_Production

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 07:13 PM

The ashbory basses are pretty cool, I had a chance to try one out once.
I'm sure it takes some time to get used to, but the sound is really cool.
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#4 Ojo

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 10:33 PM

The ashbory basses are pretty cool, I had a chance to try one out once.
I'm sure it takes some time to get used to, but the sound is really cool.


Yeah I had an ashbory for a short while - no pun intended - and oddly enough I found the scale to be too small! I found the rubber strings to be too imprecise somehow - it was hard to keep my finger in exactly the same place. Weird, I know.

So I guess no one that you guys know of makes a small-scale fretless? I suppose I could try to find someone to custom-make one, but that'd probably be a good bit pricier! :)

#5 jahloon

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 10:44 PM

The ashbory basses are pretty cool, I had a chance to try one out once.
I'm sure it takes some time to get used to, but the sound is really cool.


Yeah I had an ashbory for a short while - no pun intended - and oddly enough I found the scale to be too small! I found the rubber strings to be too imprecise somehow - it was hard to keep my finger in exactly the same place. Weird, I know.

So I guess no one that you guys know of makes a small-scale fretless? I suppose I could try to find someone to custom-make one, but that'd probably be a good bit pricier! :)

Use a standard size fretless guitar and an octivider.

or

A standard size fretless with a new nut, bridge and winders. (remember you will have to compensate your string guages)
Play the blues guitar with your soul, but play the fretless guitar with your spirit.
Author of the book "Fretless Guitar The Definitive Guide" fretlessguitar.co.uk

#6 Kai

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 11:21 PM

The closet thing I can think of (and that I've had my hands on once*) is the Gibson EB-3 Bass (not fretless, though), also known as the SG Bass. They made two versions, a short scale neck (30.5", still longer than the one you're looking at) and a long one. THe short version seems to be being made these days, not 100% sure.

*While at Berklee, at one point I had not one but two cellist housemates, and one of them had this SG bass (the original 60s model), tuned with lighter bass strings to cello tuning. I fooled around with it a bit, and the bit about the headstock being so heavy relative to the body that it dipped towards the ground when you weren't holding the neck is true, even for this shorter-necked version. But I liked the feel and sound of it otherwise. Could be a good candidate for detwelvulation (defretting.)

Epiphone also makes a very similar model, as is typical for them, but reports I see on the Web indicate that the electronics are sub-par.

There's also a Fender 6-string bass (30" scale), the Fender Bass VI, I once saw played by Klaus Fluoride (of Dead Kennedys fame) in a San Francisco band called Five Year Plan one night... (on my 39th birthday, actually, which is why I remember it.) They may be hard to find and/or expensive, though the wiki states that Fender recently reissued it as a "custom-shop model."

I was amused to see in the wiki about it that

During the guitar collection scene of This is Spinal Tap, Nigel's extremely special guitar is actually an original sea foam green Fender VI that has never been played and still has the price tag on it.


Must be the one he said "no, don't even look at it!" about...
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#7 Desecrated_Production

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 12:17 AM

You can always get a custom neck, if you have a bass or guitar at home already and just order a fretless baritone neck, they usually go around 300 dollars.
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#8 jahloon

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 09:24 AM

The closet thing I can think of (and that I've had my hands on once*) is the Gibson EB-3 Bass (not fretless, though), also known as the SG Bass. They made two versions, a short scale neck (30.5", still longer than the one you're looking at) and a long one. THe short version seems to be being made these days, not 100% sure.

I've got a 1961 Gibson EB0 - that is 30.5 inches (Missus!) and basically a single pickup version of the EB-3. It can be a bit boomy and looses definition on the bottom couple of notes, you must use short scale strings or suffer.

I seem to remember the short scale was specifically for guitarists that swapped between lead and bass, so there wouldn't be too radical a stretch for them.
Play the blues guitar with your soul, but play the fretless guitar with your spirit.
Author of the book "Fretless Guitar The Definitive Guide" fretlessguitar.co.uk

#9 Ojo

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 03:30 PM

You can always get a custom neck, if you have a bass or guitar at home already and just order a fretless baritone neck, they usually go around 300 dollars.


If I can order a custom fretless bass neck that's 28 or so inches, I'm in. Who should I talk to? I don't know the first thing about having anything custom made. :)

#10 jahloon

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 07:15 PM

You can always get a custom neck, if you have a bass or guitar at home already and just order a fretless baritone neck, they usually go around 300 dollars.


If I can order a custom fretless bass neck that's 28 or so inches, I'm in. Who should I talk to? I don't know the first thing about having anything custom made. :)

Talk to Warmoth and tell them what you want, they are pretty helpful.
Play the blues guitar with your soul, but play the fretless guitar with your spirit.
Author of the book "Fretless Guitar The Definitive Guide" fretlessguitar.co.uk

#11 Ojo

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 11:17 PM

You can always get a custom neck, if you have a bass or guitar at home already and just order a fretless baritone neck, they usually go around 300 dollars.


If I can order a custom fretless bass neck that's 28 or so inches, I'm in. Who should I talk to? I don't know the first thing about having anything custom made. :)

Talk to Warmoth and tell them what you want, they are pretty helpful.


Okay, pardon the newbishness here, but I've never built an instrument or had one built before. If I understand this right, I could go ahead and buy the Ibanez short-scale, and then just ask Warmoth to custom-make me a short-scale fretless neck, and just plug that one back into the Ibanez? Or is it more complicated than that?

I am trying to do this on the cheap, and I'm not that great of a player (yet :)), otherwise I would plunk down some serious money to have a whole thing custom-built.

Thanks for any input!

#12 Desecrated_Production

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 01:56 AM

Okay, pardon the newbishness here, but I've never built an instrument or had one built before. If I understand this right, I could go ahead and buy the Ibanez short-scale, and then just ask Warmoth to custom-make me a short-scale fretless neck, and just plug that one back into the Ibanez? Or is it more complicated than that?

I am trying to do this on the cheap, and I'm not that great of a player (yet :)), otherwise I would plunk down some serious money to have a whole thing custom-built.

Thanks for any input!


The best thing you can do is to ship the entire bass to a luthier and let them install the neck for you.
With the necks from warmoth and allparts you sometimes have to grind them a little to make them fit.
Warmoth are great, they are cheap and fast.
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#13 Brock

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 07:00 AM

Yeah I had an ashbory for a short while - no pun intended - and oddly enough I found the scale to be too small!

I just posted a recommendation for the Ashbory and then noticed the above! Nevermind! As I had mentioned, Ashborys aren't for everyone and there's a serious love or hate with them.

-Brock

#14 Ojo

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 06:56 PM

Yeah I had an ashbory for a short while - no pun intended - and oddly enough I found the scale to be too small!

I just posted a recommendation for the Ashbory and then noticed the above! Nevermind! As I had mentioned, Ashborys aren't for everyone and there's a serious love or hate with them.

-Brock


No problem. I don't hate the Ashbory, it was just too small. Isn't that weird? It'd be nice to have something in-between an Ashbory and a regular bass, in terms of neck length.

I really, really, really wanted to like the Ashbory. And the sounds you could get out of it really were amazing - the lower strings sounded like rock bass guitar, while the upper strings sounded exactly like an acoustic bass. Also, it possible that mine was defective or something - even tuned properly, the lines on the fretboard did not line up at all with where the notes actually were.

Anyway just wanting to point out that I'm not intending to disparage the Ashbory. It's a cool little piece of work.

Thanks again for all the replies and help. I'm going to email Warmoth and see what they can do.

thanks.
ojo

#15 Brock

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 06:35 AM

No problem. I don't hate the Ashbory, it was just too small. Isn't that weird? It'd be nice to have something in-between an Ashbory and a regular bass, in terms of neck length.

I really, really, really wanted to like the Ashbory. And the sounds you could get out of it really were amazing


Yeah, that's the Ashbory. Quirky with a kick ass sound.

Also, it possible that mine was defective or something - even tuned properly, the lines on the fretboard did not line up at all with where the notes actually were.


Pretty normal. You had to play back (towards the nut), yes?


-Brock




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