ACG Fretless 5

Ok, so I’m not actually building it.. but I thought I’d do a thread here rather than in Bass, as it will mostly be build/spec content..

Having just acquired a fretted 5 from Alan (AC Guitars) I decided that I just had to get a fretless 5.

The Shuker has been a revelation - and although it’s in hospital at the moment (Urk!) I’ve realised two things. I love playing fretless, and 5 strings really do make a difference (for me anyway). 

The fretted 5 will get a thorough outing next weekend at the Quad jam session - and will probably become the main bass I use with my originals band. I’ve already adapted the bass lines for a 5 with some low B action sprinkled throughout. 

But it just seemed that the obvious thing would be to get a fretless 5. I’ve never had a custom made done before, so contacted Alan and started looking at the options for a fretless 5... we have agreed a spec.. and the quote is coming over tonight for deposit payment... 

Super excited! I’ll share the build pics I get from Alan here and obviously my thoughts on my first custom build.. 

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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3463
    This and other recent threads cause me to wonder whether the real Bridgehouse visited the Saudi Arabian embassy and went to pieces.
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 16152
    This and other recent threads cause me to wonder whether the real Bridgehouse visited the Saudi Arabian embassy and went to pieces.
    I thought you of all people would have embraced my new found adventurous side, and my newly acquired fretless 5 desires
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 16152

    Spec’ing out a bass for a custom build was a lot easier than I thought. 

    I have always essentially been a P bass fan, and I really like Alan’s take on it with the 5 string RetroB I have just got - so spec’ing a RetroB was choice one, with the P pickup in the usual place.

    Decided to go a bit different so also opted for the RFB pickup in the bridge position with cool switching for both.

    I’m a John East convert - but I also like the ability to run passive as well, so Uni Pre 4 was an obvious choice as well. 

    Ebony board - and decided on lines - not for playability, but just because I like the look of a lined fretless. To me, they look a bit more “stealth” and more like a traditional bass. 

    So that just left the aesthetics..

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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 16152

    A while ago, I bought a Strat guitar body from Warmoth in black limba. It was a beautiful looking body - but went when I decided guitar wasn’t my man chosen instrument and I flipped back to bass. 

    Since then, I’ve always thought a black limba bass would be a great thing.. Alan advises that the highly figured stuff can be very heavy, so I’ve gone for a lighter figured body with a more heavily figured top with a black veneer line. 

    Matching black hardware to complete and we are pretty much there! Can’t wait to see how it progresses!

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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3463
    I thought you, of all people, would have embraced my new found adventurous side
    I am equally fond of the versatility of active systems and the simplicity of the dear, old P Bass with flatwound strings, through a mildly overdriven amplifier.

    I have one five string bass guitar. I use it when it seems apt. Overall, I think that I play more inventively on a four string. 
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 3066
    edited November 18
    Wow, looking forward to this! FWIW I went from a 51P to regular Ps then made the jump to a MM style 5 string tuned DGCFBb.

    Been thinking for a while on a fretless 5 but options in the narrower spacing are limited.

    What specs? Wood, pickups etc?
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 16152
    Wow, looking forward to this! FWIW I went from a 51P to regular Ps then made the jump to a MM style 5 string tuned DGCFBb.

    Been thinking for a while on a fretless 5 but options in the narrower spacing are limited.

    What specs? Wood, pickups etc?
    Alan’s own P pickup in the P position, and a RFB humbucker (MM style) in the bridge position (both with series/parallel/split switches) 

    Wood will be maple and Wenge neck with ebony board and maple lines, and body will be black limba with a fancy pants black limba top and a black stripe veneer
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 16152
    I thought you, of all people, would have embraced my new found adventurous side
    I am equally fond of the versatility of active systems and the simplicity of the dear, old P Bass with flatwound strings, through a mildly overdriven amplifier.

    I have one five string bass guitar. I use it when it seems apt. Overall, I think that I play more inventively on a four string. 
    I think it’s the fretless that makes me play more adventurously 
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3463
    Work on your hammer-on and pull-off strength. Before you know it, you'll be ready to play Chapman Stick. ;)
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 16152
    Work on your hammer-on and pull-off strength. Before you know it, you'll be ready to play Chapman Stick. ;)
    I’ll never have that level of talent, or insanity. 


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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 16152

    I thought it might be useful for some (mainly those that have never done a custom build) to see what's involved and what the process is like. Plus it's a good excuse to post lots of pics of stuff 

    I have to say, of course, that this is the process with Alan, and not necessarily representative of every builder, but I think it would be good to share just how interesting and exciting it can be working with a builder like Alan. I also know this is old hat for some of you - just look at the pics instead :)

    First stage is the Spec Sheet. Essentially it's a big list of options that you work through - with advice, to get the final solution. Here's my final spec sheet so you can see the various options:

    390461173_Fretless5thumbjpgabe8b3b028581e828698290fc2763eaajpg

    The RetroB is the core body shape - and Modern means it's a 24 fret (as opposed to a classic 22) 

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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 16152

    First up in the process is picking some wood. Alan found a nice light piece of Black Limba for the body - I didn't want it to be too heavy, so he advised a less figured piece as the figuring and darkness can make it very heavy.. Here's the piece he selected:

    o6KyuBSjpg

    Looks like a nice piece! And it's a good balance between figuring and plainness to keep the weight down. 

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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 16152

    Next up is the top. There was a lot more choice here. Alan suggested a choice from the following:

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    and the one I finally selected - this one:

    6BDIoHZjpg

    I went for this one as it's got a nice balance between grain, light and dark, and figuring generally. Here's the reverse side of it:

    JKaKayQjpg

    Alan will now do some wizardry on it and take a cut from it to deliver a few options for the final piece..

    He also has a neck blank in my chosen wood combo ready to go - so here it is:

    L2OVVbqjpg


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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1864
    I love ACG basses :)  One of the top builders in my view 
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 16152
    I love ACG basses :)  One of the top builders in my view 
    That’s quite something coming from you, Andy ;)
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1864
    I love ACG basses :)  One of the top builders in my view 
    That’s quite something coming from you, Andy ;)
    You flatter me, @Bridgehouse :)

      Now admittedly, flattery is always gratefully received but trust me...builders like Alan are in a whole different league ;)
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 16152
    I love ACG basses :)  One of the top builders in my view 
    That’s quite something coming from you, Andy ;)
    You flatter me, @Bridgehouse :)

      Now admittedly, flattery is always gratefully received but trust me...builders like Alan are in a whole different league ;)
    Yes, but when you build to the quality you do, it means you have an eye for the very best building which is a different league from those of us who can’t do what you can ;)
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  • DrBobDrBob Frets: 1775
    I love ACG basses :)  One of the top builders in my view 
    He’s on here isn’t he ?
    Or at least he was 
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 16152
    DrBob said:
    I love ACG basses :)  One of the top builders in my view 
    He’s on here isn’t he ?
    Or at least he was 
    @skelf ;
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2174
    Yes, Skelf is on here. He lives near my brother-in-law. I’ve met him, and seen his workshop. I’m very impressed with him and the way he works. We had to disagree about some aspects of woodworking. I like turning bowls, and discovering grain patterns inside the wood. He thinks it wastes wood which would be better used making guitars and basses. I admire that l3vel of dedication.

    Skelf chooses not to join in with general conversations, partly because he doesn’t have the time to spare that we keyboard warriors have. He’s too busy making excellent guitars and basses. If I ever wanted someone to make me a guitar or bass I know who I’d speak to. 
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  • skelfskelf Frets: 179
    Andyjr1515 Thanks for the kind words much appreciated. However I would have to say you do stuff I would not even try so kudos for the work you are doing not in my skill set.

    I am happy to answer any questions on anything I do but I generally don't get involved in the usual forum type discussions mainly because I don't feel I have much to add. I don't gig I don't play very much anymore mainly due to time constraints and being knackered of an evening so there are better qualified people total about these things. So I usually stick to what I know which is my own work.
    Cheers
    Alan
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