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pietzouille
New
Username: pietzouille

Post Number: 7
Registered: 8-2007
Posted on Tuesday, January 01, 2008 - 3:06 pm:   Edit Post

Hey there, would need help, usually people are very nice here..

I'm planning to ask a professional luthier to take the frets out of my orion, do you guys have any advise?? or opinions?? do any of u guys have alembic frettless?? do any of u have track with alembic frettless on it on myspace ??

I'm planning to tune it with a high C, i guess it shld not be a prob.. but if so.. tell me

been playing frettless for a long time, just a bit affraid of how it's gonna sound...
davehouck
Moderator
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 5905
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Tuesday, January 01, 2008 - 3:55 pm:   Edit Post

A lot of members here own set neck fretless Alembics. If, like most Orions, yours has a Mahogony body and Maple neck, you should have a nice low-mid growl with high end bite.

Personally, if it were me, I would buy a fretless Orion and then sell the fretted bass. But that's just me. I'm sure you'll be happy with it.
keurosix
Advanced Member
Username: keurosix

Post Number: 221
Registered: 10-2005
Posted on Tuesday, January 01, 2008 - 7:27 pm:   Edit Post

Hello Pierre,
Welcome to the club.
Dave hit it on the head. I have a fretless Epic 5 string with 5 piece maple laminated neck, mahogany body core, and Wenge top. It is one of the best sounding fretless basses I've heard. Very playable, easy to play in tune, and has a growl that keeps it in my hands. I added the optional AE-2 filter and 3 position Q switch available from Alembic to get the most of the classic Alembic sound. When you have your bass defretted, you will have fret lines that should help you play in tune and faster too. You may notice a slight sound difference as you slide over the lines, but it should be minimal. Some luthiers prefer plastic as inlays, and others prefer wood. You should talk this over with your luthier to make sure you get what you want. a hi-C will work really well with a fretless. Good for melodic playing. My Epic is a low-B 34" scale, and it has a strong low B. Just have your luthier replace the nut with the proper blank filed to the string gages you will be using. If you have the adjustable nut, Alembic can provide a blank nut for your luthier to file.
Good luck, and happy playing.
Kris
davehouck
Moderator
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 5906
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Tuesday, January 01, 2008 - 7:33 pm:   Edit Post

When changing from B - G to E - C, in addition to changing the nut as Kris suggested, you may also want to change the bridge saddles.
811952
Senior Member
Username: 811952

Post Number: 1286
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, January 01, 2008 - 8:06 pm:   Edit Post

I'm with Dave on selling it and buying a fretless Orion. The set-neck basses are alleged to have a really nice growl, compared to the neck-throughs which to my ear lack that midrange that's so wonderful on a fretless...

Happy New Year, btw...

John
jbybj
Intermediate Member
Username: jbybj

Post Number: 125
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 01, 2008 - 10:19 pm:   Edit Post

I don't understand the above advice. Sure, buying a new fretless Orion is a great idea, but why should you sell your current one? Keep as many basses as you can store/afford. How many people can you name who look back and say, oh yeah, I'm really glad I sold that Alembic...... I mean really....... come on..........

Oh yeah, happy new year, JBY
adriaan
Senior Member
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 1732
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Wednesday, January 02, 2008 - 12:54 am:   Edit Post

As much as I would have liked to buy a fretless companion to my Epic, at the time funds were lacking, and a defret job was an affordable option - check the link to the Showcase section on my profile.

If it is done properly, you'll find the instrument has pretty much the same voice, just with a different way of articulating the notes.

Remember to tell the luthier to keep the base plate under the nut, and file off excess height from the underside of the nut itself. You should also point him/her to the FAQ section here on the club, which has lots of info on setup specific to an Alembic (because there are lots more options than on most instruments).

Edwin van Huik in Hilversum is the Benelux importer, perhaps he can recommend a luthier in Belgium.
pietzouille
New
Username: pietzouille

Post Number: 8
Registered: 8-2007
Posted on Wednesday, January 02, 2008 - 3:17 am:   Edit Post

thx for your kind answers... I just don't get why i should sell it to buy a frettless... do you really think i can afford another alembic??? huhu...

Happy new year to you all!!! :-)
dfung60
Advanced Member
Username: dfung60

Post Number: 291
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Wednesday, January 02, 2008 - 7:09 am:   Edit Post

The conversion from fretted to fretless isn't too painful, but there's a little more to it than just pulling the frets and filling the slots.

The thing you have to take into account is that the loss of the height of the fret wire is non-trivial in setting the playing action - pulling them out is a bigger change to your neck geometry than any kind of normal wear. To maintain good playability, you have to lower the string heights a LOT at both ends of the string.

People have already mentioned that you will need to replace or rework the nut. If it's an adjustable one, you'll need to redo the top for the change to high-C, and you'll have to redo the bottom to lower the playing action at the lower range of the neck. This may be a little harder with your Alembic than most basses since the nut is brass instead of plastic or bone. You could route the nut slot a little deeper, although personally, I'd probably prefer to have the nut milled down (maybe it's easiest to order a new nut from Alembic!).

You should be sure to take a close look at how high your bridge is right now, as you'll have to lower it a LOT to maintain good playing action, possibly as much as 1/4" (5mm). On a bolt-on instrument, this adjustment would be trivial by shimming the neck, but for a through-body or set-neck this may involve changing bridge parts or inlaying the bridge deeper into the body.

Normally, you'll want the action low for more fretless "mwah", so you want to make sure you can create enough adjustment range in the hardware that you can do routine adjustment without major surgery. This also means that you'll need to have a major fingerboard levelling (you'd need to do that anyway to finish the fret line inlays). A lot of fretless basses are cut with a "ramp" between the 5th fret and nut for lower action at the low range of the neck, but you may not need this if the nut is done properly. This sort of ramp wouldn't exist in the fingerboard of a fretted bass (although it might have been milled into the fret tops).

Finally, one other consideration for conversions... if you have marker inlays on the fretboard, I think they're normally shell on Alembics. If you play with roundwound strings, the inlays will probably get chewed up pretty seriously, as the inlays would be much softer than the wood. I notice the picture of the Orion on the product page doesn't have inlays, so maybe this isn't a consideration.

All in all, I don't think the conversion will be horribly painful, but it will be more complicated and expensive than if you decided to defret a Jazz Bass.

David Fung
adriaan
Senior Member
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 1736
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Wednesday, January 02, 2008 - 8:21 am:   Edit Post

David - there was plenty of clearance under the bridge on my Epic before the defretting, so that went down without any problem. And even when I went to low-tension TI Jazz Flats, there was no need for levelling the fingerboard - there is plenty of room for adjustments on a setneck too. Well okay - the luthier probably did level the fingerboard after inserting the fretlines - there was lots of ebony dust under the trussrod cover.

I spent 150 euros on the defretting (including darkened maple for the fretlines) then 60 euros for the work on the nut - not exactly expensive.
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 410
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Friday, January 11, 2008 - 7:27 am:   Edit Post

pietzouille - leave you orion alone..buy a fretless bass and put some decent pu's in it..Alembic Acitvators then it would sound good but to pull the frets out of your Orion...ooh no thank you.
Take David's advice on his last sentence
longhorncat
Advanced Member
Username: longhorncat

Post Number: 244
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Friday, January 11, 2008 - 8:12 am:   Edit Post

Just from a financial standpoint, used fretless Alembic basses sell for less than their fretted counterparts (smaller market/less demand). Thatís a $300-$400 difference on a nice Orion. Add to that the $300 it will cost you to defret you bass and you can see why itís been recommended that you sell your current bass and buy one that is already fretless.
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 417
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Wednesday, January 16, 2008 - 4:55 am:   Edit Post

Again I say leave your fretted Orion alone..longhorncat has the right idea, get one already done and set up and ready to play 'Donna Lee'

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