De-fretting a 5 string bass
I've got a few basses, but my very first 5 string - which I played about 15 years ago never gets used, because an idiot tuned it up to E, not realising it was BEADG tuning, and bent the truss rod. It's quite a narrow neck, and the truss rod either touches the cavity, or has split the glued neck inside. It buzzes, and squeezing the neck hard around the 5th fret stops it. It never sounded the best, and the long scale meant the B string was a bit 'flappy'. My plan is simply to pull out the frets, and fill the gaps with white epoxy resin. The fingerboard is rosewood - so not too hard.]
Has anyone done this, and if so - what did it sound like fretless. It is strung with wound strings, no flats, so I'm guessing with lots of use I'm going to wear the neck - but occasional use vs no use means I'm not to worried about lifespan. Have I missed anything important?
Have you considered replacing the neck, if possible?
This whole thing is wrong, wrong, wrong.
Tuning up did not bend the truss rod.
Long scale is LESS likely to sound 'flappy' than regular scale.
Making it fretless will not solve anything.
Buzzing truss rod is just a crummy thing that sometimes happens. Proper adjustment will sometimes fix it.
If not, fixes exist, such as removing a dot marker in the vicinity of the buzz and injecting RTV.
replace the fingerboard with a fretless one of choice and fix trussrod/ loose fingerboard issue at same time...
I'm assuming the truss rod is bent, as in when relaxed again it didn't straighten. I can't see any sign of delaminating from the outside, but squeezing hard stops the buzz. The B seems to have always been 'loose' when at pitch. E is fine. A neck replacement could be done - but I see it as wasted money, as it's my least favourite in my collection.
So is defretting the bass that bad a thing to do? and why?
Because de-fretted basses have the side dots in the wrong place. Do you want to play music or spend all your time thinking about playing music?
There is no such thing as a "regular" scale; there's short, medium, long, and some also use super-long these days.
Rosewood will be fine, it will wear a bit faster than say ebony but it will last years anyway. When it wears just dress it again and continue using..
However, it might not solve the problems of your your bass, as was mentioned above. You will need to solve these first.
If the neck is that bad, you have nothing to lose. But at the same time, pulling the frets isn't going to do anything about the buzz issues. A new neck or some intensive care time with a luthier are your better options.
from being over-tensioned. Was it over-tensioned for a lond period? And what effect does adjusting the truss rod
squeezing it. Does anything seem to actually give when squeezing? The difference between something buzzing or
not buzzing can be minute.
However, if you were to switch to flatwound strings, or heavier gauge roundwound, the B would be higher tension,
and should be less flappy. Also the higher overall tension would require a bit more tension on the truss rod. That
might be all it needs to stop buzzing. You might find someone with an old set of strings that you could try just to
see if it helps. Flatwounds would also cause less wear on the board.
First though, I would make sure there are actually no cracks or separations in the neck. Also you will need to have
enough adjustment range in the truss rod to get the relief you need. If you can't get the neck straight enough now,
higher tension strings will only be worse.
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