Steinberger L2 Fretless #461


Anyone can help with this one.... Fretless L2 and I think its original. There is a thin graphite laminate over the board. You can see the lines and dots under it from what was the original fretted version. The Bass is in Excellent condition with some finish chips down the side of the board where the fret positions are normally.

History of the bass from original owner below.......Hi Brian--Forgive the length of this e-mail, but there's a lot to say...

In September 1982 I pre-ordered the bass from Friendly River Music in Cornish ME (the only Steinberger dealer north of Boston--I was living in Portland ME). They were quite backordered at the time. I picked it up in late October 82 at Ned Steinberger's shop when he was still at the Woodworker's Collective in Brooklyn. Original price was $1200 plus tax. I'm sure I still have the receipt and paperwork somewhere in a box in my attic.

I used the bass a lot while living and gigging in NYC during the '80s. The original knee rest was lost on a gig in '86. I was and still am a very experimental sort--if you take the top off you'll notice that the area under the pickups (especially the neck pickup) has been sanded down to allow me to lower the pickups even more (of no use, but I wanted to try it).

Around '89 I started wishing I had a fretless, but had no money to buy a second bass, so out came the pliers. Having no experience at defretting an instrument, and no resources like the Internet to find out how to do it, I just dove right in and started yanking. BIg mistake. A lot of graphite chips came out on both the fretboard surface and sides, but it was too late to stop. (I still have the frets.)

I filled the gaps with Bondo (just like Jaco) and quickly gave up all hope of having a lined fretless--it looked pretty hideous. So I painted the fingerboard black and put several coats of marine epoxy on top of that. Best I could do. I redid it a few years later, but with no better results.

In December 2000, the neck joint on my Kay upright bass popped. My regular luthier was on vacation and I needed the bass for some upcoming Christmas gigs; a fellow upright player recommended The Music Shop in Boonton NJ. He was happy with some repair work they had done for him. So I called and took the bass in. A guy named Michael looked over the Kay, gave me an estimate, and ultimately did the work. While I was there I asked him if he did any work on guitars and basses. He said he did, but couldn't do it through the shop--he could do it at home. When I came back a few days later to pick up the Kay, I brought the L2 for Michael to work on. I was never happy with the fingerboard after I had done it--it was pretty buzzy because it wound up so flat, so what I wanted him to do was re-epoxy it and try to sand some relief into the middle.