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Username: lowphatbass

Post Number: 1
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 1:10 pm:   Edit Post

Greetings, this is my first post here. I thought I would go to the "source" for some advice I've been seeking. Thanks in advance for your time..
I have a Elan 5 that I purchased new (#92h7167). Some years back the bass was taken by a family member and was subjected to drug induced trama. The finish was sanded off, the bass was stained black, electronics removed, etc. I have most the electronics. I have contacted Alembic a while back and am relatively aware of what I can expect to pay for a refinish.
My question is: I could use a fretless, this bass' body is maple/q-maple with walnut trim, the neck is maple/p.h. w/ an ebony fretboard. One sticking point is the Oval fret marking inlay, although it would not effect tone or playability the bass still wearing these markers would not look "correct" to me as a fretless, but I may be able to "deal with it". The bass spoke very brightly and clearly and would seem to have great fretless potential, to me. Do you think having it defretted while bieng refinished/rewired at the factory is advisable..I know this will likely cost more than the resale value of the bass but I will never sell it so...cost aside, is this a good idea??

(Message edited by lowphatbass on April 12, 2005)
Username: valvil

Post Number: 679
Registered: 7-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 3:00 pm:   Edit Post

Hello Lowphat,
welcome to the club.

Converting a bass to fretless is no problem, although we are fairly expensive; any competent luthier could do the job no sweat and would likely cost you less. Still, if you feel more comfortable with us doing it, that can be arranged, of course.

Username: lowphatbass

Post Number: 2
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 4:16 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks for the quick response valvil, much appreciated!! I was editing-in some additional info to my original post as you were responding, I probably should have done a second post. I'll check back later after work to read any additional comments any club members have..
Senior Member
Username: bob

Post Number: 402
Registered: 11-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 4:56 pm:   Edit Post

Welcome. I did a quick search on whole words 'replace' AND 'fingerboard', and found at least a couple of discussions I vaguely remembered:



In short, if you have Alembic do it you would most likely be getting a whole new fingerboard (but of course you should confirm that and get a current price estimate).

As a benefit, the side dot marks would also end up in the right place - personally, I would find ovals, filled fret slots, and "wrong" dot mark positions to be a real distraction.

Interesting note about the nut height in the second thread above, hadn't thought about that. Better yet, you could consider switching to an ebony nut.

If you're going to send it back for the other work, and can afford it, I'd say it's the only way to go.
Username: valvil

Post Number: 680
Registered: 7-2002
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 5:12 pm:   Edit Post

Hello again,

after reading your edited post, I'd say that replacing the fretboard would be the way to go; if you have any non-wood inlays in a fretless fingerboard, the sound would change pretty radically the moment you fret or slide over them.

Advanced Member
Username: kungfusheriff

Post Number: 304
Registered: 8-2003
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 8:25 pm:   Edit Post

Very true, which assumes the inlays are completely flush to the fingerboard.
I once had a toothless five "of another make" that had this problem, and it was disruptive to say the least.
Username: lowphatbass

Post Number: 3
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - 12:23 am:   Edit Post

Thanks Folks!! I really feel that if this is something I am going to do, I should do it RIGHT(this bass has been through enough already, I would post pics but many would greatly disturbed, it took me almost a year just to open the case again after I got it back). Not to say that a fantastic luthier couldn't do the job(I know a great one) but I would rather have it done to "factory specs"if, like Bob said, if I can afford it. I think I will request a price estimate and go from there..
Thanks again everybody!! My Alembic and I will "be back"!!
Username: petiteblonde

Post Number: 15
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - 8:08 am:   Edit Post

Perhaps you wouldn't mind posting the "before" shots along with the "after". It is uplifting to see what miracles can be performed on abused basses.
Intermediate Member
Username: wayne

Post Number: 120
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - 10:15 am:   Edit Post

Go ahead and post before and after pics. Anything you've got can't be worse that the plight of The Dark and The Light....


Username: lowphatbass

Post Number: 4
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - 6:42 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks again everybody!!! Due to financial reasons it will probably be a while before I have any "after" photos to share...I'll make sure to fully document the process when the time is right for it to happen. Here's a quick tast of the horror to satisfy the curious, can believe this was done to "camoflage" the bass, like spray painting a stolen bike or something!?!?!

Violated Elan Pic

Violated Elan#2

(Message edited by davehouck on April 15, 2005)
Senior Member
Username: palembic

Post Number: 1983
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - 10:47 pm:   Edit Post

Anyway ...I love the looks of this bass. It will be very worthfull to restore it in his original/playable shape, fretless or not.
She just "got the looks".

Paul TBO

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