I can go on talking specs all day but the most important thing is how the customer, Jonny Trobro reacted to when he got the bass. A new bass is always an adventure. No matter how well you have speced it, it´s still a period of breaking the bass so it sings. For me, this bass sings already thanks to the slowbuild method i use to get all tensions out of the bass. But I´ll let jonny get on with it and tell it like it is. No marketing, no endorsement money, no BS.
Me and my bassguitar
So it has arrived, the custom made fretless 5-string bass by luthier Christian Olsson at UNICORNbass.
Some of my custom ideas for this bass, 19mm spacing, recessed strap locks, pickup placement and of course no stacked concentric knobs!
Of course I like it, of course is sounds awesome, of course it’s beautiful. So let’s cut the crap and get to three points that is mind blowing.
Wide spacing vs. Thin neck
Since I got the Smith back in the 90s I’ve been a fan of wide string spacing. Actually I don’t get the idea of tighter spacings at all. It’s just not for me, it doesn’t suit my playing at all. If I slap my fingers starts to bleed. It might be right for others but definitely not for me.
The Watson bass I got a couple of years ago had even wider spacing, a full 4-string spacing of 19mm. Fantastic feeling for the right hand. So when ordering this bass from UNICORNbass, I went for the 19mm spacing.
Something that I never really have given much thought is different neck shapes. I just thought that different basses just felt different and adapted to that. For instance the Watson bass has a neck the sports the baseball bat feeling, just like the dreadful P-basses.
So when Christan asked me to come by the wood shop to try out the neck shape I just told him that I had complete confidence in him knowing what I wanted better than myself.
A genius move!
So now here’s a bass with a full 19mm spacing at the bridge, with a thin, easy and fast playing neck. It reminds me of my old Warwick fretless Thumb 5 that used a 16.5mm spacing! Except the detail that the Unicorn neck is feeling light years better. Christian have told me how he did this, but I still can’t comprehend how this combination is possible.
My previous fretless basses both had natural fingerboards with no finish. Giving a very wooden tone. With heavy string wear as a big trade off. And that was also my plan for this bass. But late in the process Christian talked me into going with a poly-urethane coated fingerboard. Giving it a harder and glass like surface. A "Mirror of Glass". You know, a bit like the polyester coated fingerboards Pedulla uses on the Buzz series, but even harder, even more mirror like. It both looks and sounds absolutely fantastic! Best of all, the wooden tone is retained and the string wear is kept to a minimum. Once again Christian knew what I needed more than me.
The exclusion of a belly cut
When asked if I wanted a belly cut I questioned myself: The Smith doesn’t have one, so why would this bass?
Much later I realised that all my other basses do have belly cuts. It got me a bit worried, was it the right decision?
And yes it was. The bass does feel good to the body in booth sitting and standing position. It actually feels better than basses with cuts.
I sincerely from my heart can recommend UNICORNbass!
Taken from his Blog at http://ghost.jonnytrobrobass.com/the-fretless-wonder/