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Fretless neck - same note across half-steps

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by stale facet, Dec 14, 2020.

  1. stale facet

    stale facet TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    Working on a tele with a fretless neck (please hold your complaints).

    The issue is a spot where the same note spans across half-steps.

    What it should play is:
    C-C#-D-D#

    Instead what is plays ;s:
    C-C#-D#-D#

    Is this cause by a spot on the fretboard that's too low, too high? Or something else entirely?

    Stop me before I sand again (unless I, in fact, do need to sand again).
     
  2. wabashslim

    wabashslim Friend of Leo's

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    Any of those, yes.


    You have eyes, right? You can see the guitar in front of you? Well, we can't. So guess who's the best candidate to figure it out?
     
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  3. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    E6558FCE-A1E9-45EA-AE6D-9AB6F8C8FDB0.jpeg It might have something to do with the intonation. I just finished a fretless Tele thinline. I used a $50 Chinese neck though. Surprisingly it is pretty decent quality. It was actually a Strat neck but I reshaped the peg head. The rest of the parts were spares except for the body. I shaped my own f-hole which turned out a little unconventional but I didn’t want to scrap the body so I went for the fretless project. Here’s a pic.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2020
  4. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    You have summed up my fretless bass playing.. i cover the errors up with a deep chorus effect.

    Re. Tele If you slide up the depressed string you should spot any note that jumps pitch or buzzes due to a hole or hump.
     
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  5. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    yes it's a fingerboard level issue. You can fix it by raising the action, or possibly by tweaking the truss rod, but surely by leveling the fingerboard
     
  6. Matthias

    Matthias Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    If it’s high up the neck, it can also be a pickup being too high.
     
  7. stale facet

    stale facet TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    Is there a general rule of thumb for an issue like this? Such as "if note stays flat when playing a descending line (away from the body), the fretboard is too high/low and should be lowered/raised" - if any expert opinions are out there, this board is the place to ask.

    Action is pretty high already, area appears level, threw out truss rod adjustment as a solution before, but will look again, thanks.


    Guilty, I do have eyes. Everything else looks right, which is why I'm posting in a forum for people who have more building experience—in order to get more insight to fix it. And that that answer could then help others in the future. Otherwise, I wouldn't be posting, would I?
     
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  8. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    I would still check the intonation first.
     
  9. ctmullins

    ctmullins Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Intonation has nothing to do with anything on a fretless.

    It’s either a high spot on the fingerboard, or a technique issue. Can you take and post a short video?
     
  10. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    Intonation is related to the length of the string between the nut and the saddle. It makes a difference.
     
  11. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Straightedge?
    Maybe even some straightedges of varying lengths that you can use as a rocker, like with frets.
    But I think a long straightedge and looking for daylight would be best.
     
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  12. wabashslim

    wabashslim Friend of Leo's

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    I don't believe you understand the problem. "Intonation" is not the only problem a guitar neck can have. Besides, this is a fretless!
     
  13. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    I know it’s not the only problem a neck can have. However, if you want to play notes in tune on all six strings in one position the strings will have to be intonated properly. In other words, if you imagine that you are fretting at the fifth fret on a fretless you should want all of the strings to play the notes at that position neither sharp nor flat. If a string is intonated improperly it will be sharp or flat.

    Furthermore, it could be something else besides the intonation that is causing the problem for the OP. But if you are going to take a scientific approach to finding out the problem and solving it you should start by setting up the guitar properly. My 2 cents.
     
  14. ctmullins

    ctmullins Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    The concept of intonation, as it relates to all of the strings playing all of the notes in tune, is only relevant to fretted instruments.

    I take your point about wanting each “position” to play in tune across all of the strings. But that’s a convenience, and not a necessity, for a fretless instrument.

    Anyway, intonation deals with very small adjustments to pitch, and wouldn’t explain why the original issue deals with one note being an entire semi-tone off.
     
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  15. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    Fair enough. Except if it were me (and I actually just did this) I would set it up properly and then trouble shoot.

    BTW, did the OP say that they made the neck themself?
     
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  16. wabashslim

    wabashslim Friend of Leo's

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    There's either a dip at the D note or a lump at D#. Should be plainly visible when you hold the string down along there. Sheesh, why is this so hard?
     
  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Most likely the spot on the board that is where the D# sounds, is high, thus when "fretting" in the spot that should sound D, the high spot at the D# is what the string sounds off of.
     
  18. stale facet

    stale facet TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    OP here, checking back in. I appreciate all the feedback. It's also clear there's some missing info, so let's fill that in.

    Good point: It's a Fender neck that I am converting into a fretless neck...with a catch.


    To all the posts about leveling, or checking with a level: it does seem straight, and there doesn't seem to be daylight.

    Why it's so hard: because I'm converting it into a partially-fretted neck. Similar to half-fretted bass, and the kind where there's a fret at the body-end of the neck. The neck is fretted from the nut to halfway, then fretless, then another fret after the fretless part.


    This is what I suspect. The problem is: to work as a fretless instrument, the fretboard needs to be level between the frets.

    If the D part has been sanded too low, it would need to be built up. If the D# ISN'T too high, and I sand it down, then that could ruin D# as well—it would be too low in relation to the fret, and no longer play correctly.


    I had a similar reaction to @lammie200's point at first, but it stuck with me. Even though the intonation was starting from a correct point, more or less, I decided to crank the saddles up to see if the neck could reach a playable point. It did.

    After roughing in the action, the guitar is playable and intonate. But the action has to stay high for this issue to not happen again. Making the action lower causes it the problem note to go sharp again. Based in that, it seems like the problem spot is too low. Any other opinions welcome!

    If you've gotten this far and are wondering why I'm doing this...well, why not?
     
  19. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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  20. stale facet

    stale facet TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    It can happen across strings, but primarily on the low E .048 and A .036.

    Forgot to mention: the neck is also shimmed on the headstock-side of the neck pocket, which helped.

    Yours looks really nice. I may take up one of those necks in the future. Like probably a lot of us, this project happened because of what happened to be in the house. A new, actual, fully fretless could happen in the future.
     
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