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De-Fretted Rock Bass


tabdog

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Hi folks,

 

I came across an old Epi Rock bass. It had

some real issues.

 

2-23-10.jpg

 

Someone glued the neck on with what looks

like Liquid Nails. I had to tear the old

plywood body up some just to get the neck

off,

 

2-23-16.jpg

 

I had to totally re-wire it. I wired it

with 500K pots and an Orange Drop just

like this,

 

2-28-2.jpg

 

The fretboard had a hump and a ramp on

the end. So after I got the frets off,

I took that out,

 

3-6-1.jpg

 

Put lines on and Tru-Oiled the fretboard,

 

2-25-1b.jpg

 

2-25-2.jpg

 

It's a nice sounding and playing, cheap

fretless Jazz bass. I have less than

$40 invested,

 

Tabdog

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Nice Job! Most people would have just threw a bass in that condition in the corner a forgot about it. Thats probably why there was a hump in the neck in the first place. Is there a scarf joint on the neck where the hump was?

 

Thanks RTH,

 

No, there is only a joint in the headstock.

 

I didn't give up on it because I have discovered

fretless. I wanted to know how a Jazz bass would

work fretless. My funds are sorely lacking, so I

have to do it on a budget.

 

I have defretted 3 basses so far in my sonic

search,

 

2-28-3.jpg

 

Tabdog

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OK, thanks. I was just curious. Usually, when you find a hump in the neck in that area, there is a scarf joint underneath that has warped. A scarf joint in the 1st -3rd fret area was pretty typical of the Korean Epiphones as well.

 

Its good to see an old bass like that back in business. Now you just need to put in a set of Fender Jazz pickups!

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Were you using flatwound strings? You GOTTA GOTTA GOTTA use roundwounds to get the 'mwah'

 

I was using pressure wound in the beginning but they gave too much of an upright sound. I put roundwounds on it after and it would get it a bit on the G string but the others still sound like an upright. I gave up on it after a while but still get the urge to buy one every now and again because I spent so much time learning how to play the thing in tune. [biggrin]

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Nice job and diagram! Do you know what years these were made and the model name? I just got the exact one and it needs some work. I am surprised how good it sounds and plays. I have fenders, g&l's, a music man. None get the funk out like this, the output isn't as big but it reaks tone. Thanks for any info on this bass. [thumbup]

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Our 'Unofficial Epi-Wiki' is the labour of love of Epi-Brethren 'RTH', who responded above, & 'Sjael', & improves every time a member, like yourself, spots an error, omission or possible addition & lets the lads know [thumbup]

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Actually, I am already aware of this error. The Rock Bass, along with the Accu Bass, Power Bass and the S-300/310 were made from either maple, alder, laminated maple/alder or "mystery tonewood" that resembles mahogany depending on the year it was made. Epiphone seemed to have changed body materials for these guitars quite a bit in a relatively short period of time. I need to list the materials in a different way to relect this somehow.

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  • 2 months later...

Hay WoodFixer,

 

Sorry it took so long to get back to you.

 

Thx eggs...says the Rock bass is a maple

body but this one (tabdogs)sure is plywood?

Anyway can't believe plywood sounds this good.

If someone told me I would be selling some

beloved basses for this, i would never of

believe it.Damn great funk machine!!!

 

Technically, plywood is laminated wood. I do

believe this bass is laminated alder/maple.

It is obviously not what we normally think

of plywood. Also, that stuff is really dense

and strong.

 

I totally agree with you. This bass is a tone

and funk machine.

 

It's not that limited though. You could play

what ever you want and sound first class doing

it.

 

Amazing sound for what is considered a cheap

bass,

 

Tabdog

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  • 2 weeks later...

if you want to get the mwah sound, look to the nut. the string slots should be considerably lower than what a fretted bass uses. uprights have string slots that are very close to the fingerboard. my son has a fretless j bass and didn't get any mwah until the strings were almost right on the fingerboard.

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  • 4 weeks later...

if you want to get the mwah sound, look to the nut. the string slots should be considerably lower than what a fretted bass uses. uprights have string slots that are very close to the fingerboard. my son has a fretless j bass and didn't get any mwah until the strings were almost right on the fingerboard.

 

Yes, low action and a nearly flat fingerboard are necessary, and a little "encouragement" by using a slightly lighter left hand touch can help. Finally, using some medium speed horizontal vibrato (in the direction of the fingerboard, as you would on an upright bass or violin) will make it even sweeter.

 

I have several fretless basses, see at My Eclectic Bass web site with a variety of setups and strings. DR Sunbeams are a favorite mwah string, for a more modern mwah, also like Fender vinyl coated strings and their now discontinued nylon thread wrapped strings. Thomastik Jazz flats are also sweet, a flat with a lot of life and sustain.

 

Great work on the bass! I have a pair of Epiphone Expert (AKA EBM6) basses, one of which is defretted, both are shown on my bass page linked above and a larger photo I just took that is attached. Both are a little heavy but quite nice, and the most narrow, 3/8" string spacing, I've ever seen on a bass -- that's what caught my attention.

post-45245-010306000 1342023206_thumb.jpg

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Great work on the bass! I have a pair of Epiphone Expert (AKA EBM6) basses, one of which is defretted, both are shown on my bass page linked above and a larger photo I just took that is attached. Both are a little heavy but quite nice, and the most narrow, 3/8" string spacing, I've ever seen on a bass -- that's what caught my attention.

Hi, Bob. I ran across your website several years ago while looking for information on my Expert 6. In the long term, mine ended up being a closet queen and I traded it in earlier this year. Great bass, though. It was just too heavy and didnt get the play-time it deserves. Anyway, I was just reading your site as I see it has been updated since the last time I visited and I have a little bit of anticdotal info on these basses I thought I might share with you.

 

According to Epiphone catalogs, the Expert 6 was produced from 1994-1998. However, every Expert 6 that I have come across has had a serial number from 1994, indicating that these basses were actually only made for one year. And though I've heard mention of the word 'prototype', these basses were made in seemingly high numbers for that one year of production, which would indicate that it was more of a limited run or a test of sorts. The mention of being a prototype, from what I understand, was in reference to the electronics and preamp. Though I dont know the specifics, the electronics were different from the EBM 4 & 5 range. One issue with the 'guts' of the EBMs were the mini pots that were prone to scratching even almost immedialty after a good professional cleaning. The Expert 6 had slighter scratching problems, but seemed to appear moreso after long periods of inactivity. Once cleaned, the pots seemed to retain their integrity as long as the bass was in relative constant use. Not so much for the EBMs. I currently own two EBM 5s and they both have this potentiometer problem...and one of them is in 'like-new' condition with very little play time.

 

There was a rumor floating around for a while that there was an American run of the Expert 6 basses. Upon dilligent research and a bit of luck, I found that there was in fact no American run, but one particular Expert 6 that made its way to Nashville prior to final delivery to have a set of EMGs routed and installed by Gibson. Apparently this was a custom order that somehow ended up in the hands of Guitar Center on a trade-in and thus the rumor began.

 

So that about it. Nothing major. Just some fun facts. Nice to see someone such as yourself around these parts. I hope you decide to stick around.

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-- snip -- So that about it. Nothing major. Just some fun facts. Nice to see someone such as yourself around these parts. I hope you decide to stick around.

 

Interesting stuff, I had seen the prototype story and wondered about that being true given how rare they seemed to be. I owned a fretless EBM5, below, that I really respected and enjoyed, only sold it after Karl Hoyt made me a custom fretless fiver. My Experts have also been closet queens, I only acquired them as a narrow string spacing/small hands hedge against a possible six-string future need; I play fivers almost exclusively these days. The electronics do need attention especially on the fretted Expert, a rainy day project after I determine replacement pot values.

 

It's good to have found these boards, being a longtime (early seventies) Gibson guy; I'm repairing a cranky old Epiphone Olympic guitar for a bandmate and found the Epi board while searching for info.

 

Bob

Eclectic Bass page

Gollihur Music and 1000 Upright Bass links

 

epi-ebm5a.jpg

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Interesting stuff, I had seen the prototype story and wondered about that being true given how rare they seemed to be. I owned a fretless EBM5, below, that I really respected and enjoyed, only sold it after Karl Hoyt made me a custom fretless fiver. My Experts have also been closet queens, I only acquired them as a narrow string spacing/small hands hedge against a possible six-string future need; I play fivers almost exclusively these days. The electronics do need attention especially on the fretted Expert, a rainy day project after I determine replacement pot values.

 

It's good to have found these boards, being a longtime (early seventies) Gibson guy; I'm repairing a cranky old Epiphone Olympic guitar for a bandmate and found the Epi board while searching for info.

 

Bob

Eclectic Bass page

Gollihur Music and 1000 Upright Bass links

 

 

 

Your EMB 5 is a beauty, Bob. Make sure and give it some love from time to time. I've been hooked on the EBM 5s for 20 years now. I have "guitar-size" hands, and I love the narrow string spacing. That and the nut width being only a milimeter or so different from a typical Gibson/Epiphone guitar nut, switching back and forth doesnt require any real adjustment period for me.

 

I found that I didnt have much use for the high-C on the Expert as well. I think that I only ever put it to good use maybe twice. Once for a solo I wrote (and the C only came in to play on the last two notes) and when my former band was doing a cover of Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd. I would do the acoustic solo at the beginning of the song and then switch to bass afterward. A few times I decided to just use the Expert 6 instead for something a little different. I even tuned the C down to B because I typically played the solo on guitar.

 

Anyway, If you need info or advice on your Olympic project, I'm sure that there are some great folks around here that are willing to help out. Probably not much I can offer personally. I'm more of a general specs & ID guy. My forte when it comes to details are the EBMs, S-Series super strats and some random low-budget guitars from the 1980's & 90's.

 

Good luck on your project.

 

 

@ Tabdog - Sorry for the thread hijack. [blush]

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