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Thread: Mwah City: EBMM Fretless Conversion :-)

  1. #1

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    Mwah City: EBMM Fretless Conversion :-)

    Good Afternoon Gang,

    So about a month ago I made my mind up to fully commit myself to fretless. I went ahead and e-mailed Kevin Brubaker @ brubaker guitars to get the custom work done. After some discussion, I opted to go with a coated fingerboard. I wasn't sure about getting it coated since I play EBMM Cobalt flats exclusively but I really wanted to do everything I could to make it easier to go MWAHHHH :-). So glad I went with the coating.

    So after getting it back and playing it for a bit I have some initial thoughts. First, Kevin's work is just breathtaking and first class all the way. Second, I was genuinely surprised about the tonal changes after the coating. I fully expected the bass to have more treble pop...which it does. I never thought the coating would just make everything sound more focused and tighter! It almost sounds like its accenting the high midrange as well as the treble. Everything just sound more even and focused across the entire tonal spectrum. Now this is an EBMM Sterling so even before the coating it already sounded incredibly focused...the coated just "kicked it up a notch" :-).

    Here are some before and after shots.

    Before:

    After:
    Last edited by GregP; 07-19-2018 at 11:26 AM.

  2. #2

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    Beauty! Enjoy!
    Balls are Best!!

  3. #3

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    Very very nice!

  4. #4

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    Very nice! Looks like my Sterling fretless, except mine was born that way. A previous owner sent my bass to Mike Lull to do a coated fingerboard, and I'm a big fan.

    Mwah City: EBMM Fretless Conversion :-)-ce724188-0969-4abd-8616-46c72b671e47-jpg

    1998 Sterling 4H honeyburst lined fretless
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    2014 Bongo 4HSp neptune blue w/roasted maple neck
    2014 Big Al 4SSS inca silver w/full rosewood neck

  5. #5

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    NICE!! I've always been curious about those coated fretboards. Kiesel/Carvin offers a "hard as nails" treatment that I think is similar. Do you know what they coated it with?
    2007 Stingray 5 HS Cherry Burst / Maple FB / 3 Band EQ / Ceramic Pickups
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  6. #6

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    I had a p bass coated once and it was so durable I strung it with rotosound rounds. Never wore thru.

  7. #7

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    None of my MM FL are coated nor even converted.

    With a conversion and considering your desired tone
    the coating is the right choice. I do have a couple of
    coated boards, non-MM, and so I know the effect. A
    converted rosewood FB cannot do all that you want
    tone-wise/voice-wise without coating.

    OTOH, the pau ferro MM factory boards DO go far in
    the direction you prefer. Not as far as the coating but
    about 1/2way there compared to defretted rosewood.
    Play a MM factory FL if you ever get the chance.

    As I'm not after some other player's sound, for many
    acoarst it's Pastorius, I'm not focused on a certain FL
    voice. I enjoy variety, and I just don't like the sound
    of frets, so bye-bye with them ! Fretted bass was an
    innovation, and not everyone hasta like it.

    I've got FLs that stay strictly in the sonic background
    and FLs that sound like The Gates of Hell slamming !
    [Guesstimating the latter]. And a variety in between.

    Even if you later find the hard coating too "forward"
    you can soften the effect by EQ and if the mwah gets
    to sounding intrusive after the novelty wears off you
    can increase the relief a bit and that will tame it. If
    initially you want insane mwah, just set the relief to
    a nearly flat FB and lower the action to just before it
    kills the playability of the upper positions. Mwah city,
    but to such extreme degree that I can't imagine any
    FL fanatic playing that voice for general purposes.

    The emphatic mids of a coated FB are gonna school
    you intonation-wise. I make sure to play my hotter
    voiced FLs often enuf to prevent my getting sloppy
    about intonation. Not that FL actually calls for every
    note to be at the scientifically correct frequency. It's
    really about well tempered notes, especially passing
    tones which can be easily shifted a bit closer to the
    "destination" note, freedom that frets deny to you.

    Enjoy !
    Last edited by Golem; 07-25-2018 at 09:14 PM.
    S.U.B. SL4 - SR4p FL [x2] - SR4HH FL [Moses neck]
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    "Too many basses is never enuf"

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  8. #8

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    Golem,

    Your right about being schooled in intonation. For me just starting my fretless journey that's actually quite a blessing. I have an ElectroHarmonix Freeze pedal which is quite helpful in creating an infinitely sustaining drone note to work with. It's not that I dislike fretted basses...they have their place for sure. But with a fretless it feels like the bass has been "unlocked" so to speak. Their is so much expression in the way that it responds to the slightest nuance. It feels like your dancing a slow dance with your significant other. :-)

    Best,
    -Greg P

    P.S. Another fascinating effect of the coated board is increased tonal consistency across the entire neck. No matter where I'm playing the tonal character sounds very uniform. I would assume this has to do with playing on a uniform surface as opposed to playing directly on the wood itself(which has varying degrees of density, pore structure, etc).
    Last edited by GregP; 07-23-2018 at 09:27 AM.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbonesullivan View Post
    NICE!! I've always been curious about those coated fretboards. Kiesel/Carvin offers a "hard as nails" treatment that I think is similar. Do you know what they coated it with?
    It's a polyester clearcoat that is sprayed on. :-)

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Golem View Post
    mwah
    I've never heard or seen this phrase used in musical context but I absolutely understand what it means. FL's do have a whale song kind of sound, definitely thinking of the fills in Boys of Summer as an example of mwah.
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaseyBall View Post
    I've never heard or seen this phrase used in musical
    context but I absolutely understand what it means.
    FL's do have a whale song kind of sound, definitely
    thinking of the fills in Boys of Summer as an example
    of mwah.
    I certainly didn't create that term. It's well established.
    If anyone wants to waste their life researching it, I bet
    it originated on the Talk Bass forum.
    S.U.B. SL4 - SR4p FL [x2] - SR4HH FL [Moses neck]
    SL4p FL [x2] - SL4HS FL - SL4HS FL [Moses neck]
    SR5HS alnico - SR5p FL ceramic [x2] - Bongo4Hp FL

    "Too many basses is never enuf"

    Golem is NOT engaged in social networks.

  12. #12

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    Very cool. Fretless bass is so much fun to play.

    I'm wondering if they pulled your frets out and replaced them with metal that sits flush with the wood?

    2018 Axis - BFR - Buckeye Burl
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tollie View Post
    Very cool. Fretless bass is so much fun to play.

    I'm wondering if they pulled your frets out and
    replaced them with metal that sits flush with the
    wood?
    I have one of those. However they don't remove
    the frets but instead grind them down flush with
    the FB. I'm unsure if it limits future maintenance
    or perhaps makes it very expensive when needed,
    so that ax is strung with nylon covered strings :-)

    `
    S.U.B. SL4 - SR4p FL [x2] - SR4HH FL [Moses neck]
    SL4p FL [x2] - SL4HS FL - SL4HS FL [Moses neck]
    SR5HS alnico - SR5p FL ceramic [x2] - Bongo4Hp FL

    "Too many basses is never enuf"

    Golem is NOT engaged in social networks.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tollie View Post
    Very cool. Fretless bass is so much fun to play.

    I'm wondering if they pulled your frets out and replaced them with metal that sits flush with the wood?
    The frets were pulled and maple blanks installed. :-)

  15. #15

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    Fretless conversions I have seen have all involved pulling the frets. Ends up looking like a lined fretless. Is it possible to replace the entire fretboard? So it would be an unlined fretboard after? Thinking this is a more expensive option if it is possible, since have not seen a discussion of anyone going that route.

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