New FrankenJazz Bass - Mister Natural

Khromo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,462
This is a parts bass I cobbled together. I wanted to keep everything as simple as possible. I also wanted to keep to a few simple ingredients that always seem to work. 34" scale flatsawn maple bolt on neck, ebony fingerboard, ash or alder body, Bartolini pickups, Hipshot hardware.

uI3qIzA.jpg


aryZmt9.jpg


The Allparts neck is one piece flatsawn maple, with a slab ebony fingerboard. The lined fretless 34" scale fingerboard is about 0.21" thick at the center, fair enough for a reasonably priced neck. It has a straight 10" radius. The neck is 0.90" deep at the nut, and 1.02" at the twefth position. It's a comfortable "C", and it adjusts very evenly. I keep it a couple of thousandths shy of straight, so if it decides to move back just a hair on the way to a gig, it will still be playable!

The neck has a vintage tinted finish. I polished the fingerboard on this one up for myself, but it was very good out of the box. There were a few traces of brown in the board, which suggests to me that is real, undyed ebony.

aTh3P0Y.jpg


The Allparts body is two-piece ash, with a clear gloss natural finish. I would have preferred a one-piece body, but that would not have been simple to source, or cheap.

loLQpzY.jpg


The pickups are Bartolinis. The smooth top end and meaty bottom are perfect for a fretless. CTS 300K ohm pots with treble bypass networks on each volume, a 0.0223 Orange Drop on the tone control, and a stereo jack to provide a little more security.

l3YUdNz.jpg


Hipshot string-through or top load aluminum bridge, ferrules, lightweight tuners, and string retainer. The neck plate is a thick one from Philly Luthier. Dunlop strap buttons. A bone nut, some boxwood knobs, and D'Addario XL165BT strings.

It weighs 8 pounds 10 ounces. I have the action set at exactly one hair over 4/64" on the G at the seventeenth position, and two hairs over 4/64" on the E at the seventeenth. It is speaking clearly at this height, and I can play it a little harder before it starts to squeal. It would give up loads of mwah at lower settings, but it lost a little clarity, and for me it lost some versatility, so this slightly higher action works great for me.

The pickups are adjusted to just short of warble level. These are fairly low output pickups.

The quality of the Allparts neck (made in Japan) and body is fine. If you can find an Allparts dealer who discounts heavily, this is a fairly inexpensive instrument. Fretless means no fretwork is necessary. The nut is the only element that requires any real skill.
 
Last edited:

fretless

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,996
This is a parts bass I cobbled together. I wanted to keep everything as simple as possible. I also wanted to keep to a few simple ingredients that always seem to work. 34" scale flatsawn maple bolt on neck, ebony fingerboard, ash or alder body, Bartolini pickups, Hipshot hardware.

uI3qIzA.jpg


aryZmt9.jpg


The Allparts neck is one piece flatsawn maple, with a slab ebony fingerboard. The lined fretless 34" scale fingerboard is about 0.21" thick at the center, fair enough for a reasonably priced neck. It has a straight 10" radius. The neck is 0.90" deep at the nut, and 1.02" at the twefth position. It's a comfortable "C", and it adjusts very evenly. I keep it a couple of thousandths shy of straight, so if it decides to move back just a hair on the way to a gig, it will still be playable!

The neck has a vintage tinted finish. I polished this one up for myself, but it was very good out of the box. There were a few traces of brown in the board, which suggests to me that is real, undyed ebony.

aTh3P0Y.jpg


The Allparts body is two-piece ash, with a clear gloss natural finish. I would have preferred a one-piece body, but that would not have been simple.

loLQpzY.jpg


The pickups are Bartolinis. The smooth top end and meaty bottom are perfect for a fretless. CTS 300K ohm pots with treble bypass networks on the volumes, a 0.0223 Orange Drop on the tone control, and a stereo jack to provide a little more security.

l3YUdNz.jpg


Hipshot string-through aluminum bridge, ferrules, lightweight tuners, and string retainer. The neck plate is a thick one from Philly Luthier. Dunlop strap buttons. A bone nut, some boxwood knobs, and D'Addario XL165BT strings.

It weighs 8 pounds 10 ounces. I have the action set at exactly one hair over 4/64" on the G at the seventeenth position, and two hairs over 4/64" on the E at the seventeenth. It is speaking clearly at this height, and I can play it a little harder before it starts to squeal. It would give up loads of mwah at lower settings, but it lost a little clarity, and for me it lost some versatility, so this slightly higher action works great for me.

The pickups are adjusted to just short of warble level. These are fairly low output pickups.

The quality of the Allparts neck (made in Japan) and body is fine. If you can find an Allparts dealer who discounts heavily, this is a fairly inexpensive instrument. Fretless means no fretwork is necessary. The nut is the only element that requires any real skill.
Absolutely awesome! I love everything about that.
 

Khromo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,462
Absolutely awesome! I love everything about that.

Thanks, fretless! I am going to learn to post sound clips. This one is singing. I have been playing it at home, with a couple of Genzler BA 110's and a Magellan 350 head, so I can hear some of the woody detail. The nickel plated roundwounds sound excellent with just a little EQ.

I could live with about half a pound less, maybe a hair over 8 pounds or 3.8 kilos. That has seemed to be a sweet spot, for me, over the years.

The control plate bugs me, as it weighs about four ounces, it might be made of brass, might be steel, but that is a nice chimichanga of a quarter pound. Someday I will have to fabricate a replacement out of something a lot lighter. Saving two ounces would matter to me!
 

fretless

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,996
Thanks, fretless! I am going to learn to post sound clips. This one is singing. I have been playing it at home, with a couple of Genzler BA 110's and a Magellan 350 head, so I can hear some of the woody detail. The nickel plated roundwounds sound excellent with just a little EQ.

I could live with about half a pound less, maybe a hair over 8 pounds or 3.8 kilos. That has seemed to be a sweet spot, for me, over the years.

The control plate bugs me, as it weighs about four ounces, it might be made of brass, might be steel, but that is a nice chimichanga of a quarter pound. Someday I will have to fabricate a replacement out of something a lot lighter. Saving two ounces would matter to me!
Maybe someone makes a control plate in aluminum? That would certainly be lighter.

On another note I’m digging those Bergantino cabs with the Mesa head. It’s funny in that I’ve played bass since 1984 and have lots of amps but didn’t get a Mesa head until a few months ago. One of those “where have you been all my life?”moments.
 

Khromo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,462
Maybe someone makes a control plate in aluminum? That would certainly be lighter.

On another note I’m digging those Bergantino cabs with the Mesa head. It’s funny in that I’ve played bass since 1984 and have lots of amps but didn’t get a Mesa head until a few months ago. One of those “where have you been all my life?”moments.

I looked around, and found an ultra cheap single ply plastic plate from China. I could tell it was not going to work for Mr. Natural. I'll just have to apply myself, and cut a control plate out of wood. I need to find a piece of ebony for this job.

I think some of the older Mesa heads had kind of a baked in sound, that didn't work for everybody. The Subway 800 amps are pretty versatile. I can find any sound I am looking for in there, after a little work. I set the tone controls flat, and use the voicing control to find something close. Then I use the tone controls to fine tune everything. This amp is close to perfect, for me!
 

wraub

Member
Messages
2,172
OP, that is a very fine looking bass. Very fine.

Which Barts did you use? I put some in my Jazz bass, which I wasn't really in love with, and the Barts made it really satisfying, it has "the sound". I used the 9J1, very pleased.

Enjoy your new fretless. :)
 

Khromo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,462
My thought was “lovely rig” too !
Are those HDN cabs ?

Yup, those are HDN112 cabinets. One works alone, much of the time, two of them are always enough. Fat bottom end, strong, clear mids, and all the treble I need. Loud, and good!!! I keep the tweets around 12:00.

They don't sound better than the old ceramic HT/EX-112 stack I used for many years, but they save some weight and sound just as good. I use an HDN210 most of the time, as it packs easily and sounds great, but if I expect volume issues, I like this lightweight stack of 12's!
 

Khromo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,462
OP, that is a very fine looking bass. Very fine.

Which Barts did you use? I put some in my Jazz bass, which I wasn't really in love with, and the Barts made it really satisfying, it has "the sound". I used the 9J1, very pleased.

Enjoy your new fretless. :)

The Barts are 9J1's. They have what I once heard described as a "pro sheen", everything you want, and nothing you don't need!

The low output turns some guys off, but I have no problem dealing with it. I just adjust them just short of "warble level height", and take a little extra care dialing in the preamp gain. I wouldn't want to pair these pickups with a weak amp, as they could sound lame if they weren't set up right. They record beautifully, they work great live, they work very well for me!
 




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