#1
Hey guys,
my bass teacher/tutor came earlier today and left me his Carvin 4 string fretless bass...He said that exploring all different aspects of bass would help my understanding/knowledge of it and it would help my ear and intonation, etc....And hes really cool so he let me borrow the bass indefinitely....

So, I've got a few questions about the fretless for all you fretless owners/players out there...I've attached some pictures of the bass with the slight damage on the neck and the stains/scuffs on the body...See, my teacher bought this bass used from some genius who used Roundwounds on the bass and evidently didnt take much care of it cosmetically...My teacher has around 9 basses and doesnt play this fretless much (he has another fretless 4) so he didnt really bother to clean it up either...





I'm wondering what to do to get rid of those scuffs and little scum stain-like things on the body...And also, are those lines on the fretboard removable?...they seem like stains and not indentations from the damage from the strings though they may be...I was wondering what to use to clean the fretboard as well as the body...Like a wet paper towel?...Will any household cleaners work for this?...I dont have access to much other than that...

Thanks
"All matter is merely energy condensed into a slow vibration and we're all one consciousness experiencing ourselves subjectively, theres no such thing as death, life is just a dream and we're the imagination of ourselves."
#2
I remove dirt on my fretboard with a damp paper towel. Do that first, and then I would put coats of varnish to protect the fretboard from any further wear.

This thread should have some useful information
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-191903.html

BTW, you must have one hell of a bass teacher


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#3
Thanks inky, I'll look into that varnish...Any thoughts on the damage to the neck?

and about my teacher, lol yea he's a great guy, he was actually my music teacher in Elementary school (grades 1-5) and I've known him since then...So when I decided to get bass lessons I thought "Who better than my old music teacher who just happens to be a bassist first and foremost!" (after piano, sax, etc)...So we're pretty close since we've known each other so long and he's very generous with his gear...He even brings his GK Head sometimes to my lessons!
"All matter is merely energy condensed into a slow vibration and we're all one consciousness experiencing ourselves subjectively, theres no such thing as death, life is just a dream and we're the imagination of ourselves."
#4
I can't really pick out what's wrong with the neck from the pictures... all I can see are the marks in the fretboard from the roundwounds and a few dents and scratches on the body.


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#5
yea, I dont think its that bad, but then again I dont know much about fretless basses...the neck doesnt feel too damaged either so I guess its in OK shape...
"All matter is merely energy condensed into a slow vibration and we're all one consciousness experiencing ourselves subjectively, theres no such thing as death, life is just a dream and we're the imagination of ourselves."
#6
Quote by XeNoCiDe730
Any thoughts on the damage to the neck?

The problem is, I can't see where that damage is. If there isn't visible damage, it should be fine.

It looks like it will be a sweet bass once its fixeed up though


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#7
As far as basic paint scuffs, careful useage of a buffing tool may take many of the marks out and polish the finish. You have to use a very fine grit buffing polish and a soft buffing attachment.

See if your local shop has supplies for cleaning dirt off of the bass (I personally use Dunlop 65 cleaner/polish). With the fretboard, once it is cleaned up (I think Dunlop 01 is what you would want to use for the fretboard cleaning), use some lemon oil to perserve the fretboard (can be easily bought at a local grocery store... usually in housewares.)

As far as the neck, I cannot see enough detail for me to tell exactly what damage it is. if its very bad denting, you could either get a new neck (Which would be difficult as it looks like you have a non bolt on neck), or you could strip the paint off, use a wood putty to fill in the spots, then use a fine sand paper to remove the excess and shape the neck. Then of course, repaint/revarnish.
Spyder F-16

Lead Vocals/Guitar II of NameLess Children
#8
^Thanks man thats a lot of help...but what exactly does lemon oil do to preserve the fretboard?...like how does it do that?...Sorry, I'm kind of clueless about this kind of stuff...

and my brother has a buffer that he used after he painted my other bass so I'll definitely look into that as well...

And I'm pretty sure the neck is just fine, there doesnt seem to be any denting or anything like that on the fretboard, it has a fews slight grooves and the denting is VERY VERY slight, almost unnoticeable...its probably from the original owner using the roundwound strings on it...
"All matter is merely energy condensed into a slow vibration and we're all one consciousness experiencing ourselves subjectively, theres no such thing as death, life is just a dream and we're the imagination of ourselves."
#9
If you brought it to get it professionally set up and fixed up, I'm sure it would play like a dream! It only costs me $25 when I need to get it done.


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#10
Yea maybe I should do that...I've got some Rotosound RS 77LD Jazz Bass Flatwounds that I've had stashed away since forever because I dont like the sound of flats on a fretted bass, but now I've got a fretless to put em on, I'm sure it'll sound great...

And it was wondering, when I played the bass before I took off the original strings, there was a kind of buzz whenever I played particularly on the G string...There are no frets so it cant be fretbuzz, lol, and I was pressing down as hard as I could when I played on the G...Is this weird honky, buzzy sound normal for a fretless bass?
"All matter is merely energy condensed into a slow vibration and we're all one consciousness experiencing ourselves subjectively, theres no such thing as death, life is just a dream and we're the imagination of ourselves."
#13
Don't use oils on an ebony fingerboard. It causes the wood to get softer at the surface, so further marring can occur. Keep the ebony fingerboard as dry as possible. If you have wear from roundwound strings, it's normal. You can take some real fine steel wool and buff them out--wear a mask, as the ebony dust is an inflammatory to your lungs. If you want to keep the fingerboard surface from further damage, switch the strings to a nylon tapewound string, like La Bella's Deep Talkin' strings. They are black nylon tapewound over round wound strings. You still get a good "mwah" tone out of them, and they save wear and tear on your fingerboard (and fingers!).

If you don't want to change string brands, go to your local sport shop and get some gun stock finish. Apply it in layers and let it dry as the directions recommend. Then polish it with the finest steel wool to a mirror like finish. This will last a lot longer than the bare ebony wood.

If the fingerboard is rosewood, you can apply lemon or orange oil to it and let it dry, but ebony loses its tight-grained hardness when oil is applied. Keep it as dry as possible.
Last edited by jaco de lucia at Jul 25, 2006,
#14
By the way, that is a passive Carvin LB-20F bass. If you want better passive tone, upgrade the pickups to Fender Lace Sensors, or if you want to go active, get the active circuitry through www.carvin.com. You will have to drill two extra holes to accomodate the extra controls.

Once the action is set up properly, that bass will play like buttah. I own a Carvin LB-70F, which is the active version of that bass--and I love it. You can also add a fifth saddle to that particular Wilkinson bass bridge by sliding the existing saddles over after loosening them with an allen wrench. You can get tuning gears from many places online, and www.Carvin.com sells nut blanks, which you can use to Dremel out grooves to accommodate the fifth string. I recently did this to my Carvin bass, and now I have a narrow necked 5 string bass!
#15
Quote by XeNoCiDe730

And it was wondering, when I played the bass before I took off the original strings, there was a kind of buzz whenever I played particularly on the G string...There are no frets so it cant be fretbuzz, lol, and I was pressing down as hard as I could when I played on the G...Is this weird honky, buzzy sound normal for a fretless bass?

Fretbuzz is caused by a warp in the neck. Check the neck for warps, and adjust the truss rod as needed. It is fretbuzz, even though there are no frets.


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#16
whoa thanks a lot jaco!

I wish I would have read that earlier though, I already cleaned out the whole bass with wet paper towels!...i hope that wont affect the ebony fingerboard too much...I think its ebony, its too dark to be rosewood I think...I'll keep all that in mind, and yes it plays great now, even with the old strings and the not-so great setup...I'm sure it'll be better when I put some new strings, I'll look into those LaBellas...

I dont think I'll do too much customization to it though, unless I fork over the cash to buy the whole bass!...And thats a little out of my price range right now I think...

<EDIT> Ah, it seems it IS fretbuzz, my mistake...I cant really tell about warps though unless they're really bad and really noticable...I'll take the bass to my music store asap though for new strings and a proper setup...
"All matter is merely energy condensed into a slow vibration and we're all one consciousness experiencing ourselves subjectively, theres no such thing as death, life is just a dream and we're the imagination of ourselves."