Question - fretless convertion
Hi its my first post here (hope im posting on the right place).
im thinking about converting my Yamaha JM 2 to fretless did some one done it allready with this bass? if so how does it sound?
Its a job imo better left to pro luthier or repair person. Done by amatuer it destroys all resale value and generally looks amaturish when done. Being able to remove the frets correctly for no damage to fretbaord is a skill one doesnt develope overnight. And filling the fret slots is best done with wood not putty or wood filler.
I have gone through this. I is really best to NOT convert your bass to fretless.
1. It can ruin the finger board.
2. When you find you don't like it, it costs a LOT to re-fret it, and even more to do it right.
3. It looks ugly
4. It ALWAYS ruins the resale value of the bass. You WILL care about this at some point.
Best to just buy an inexpensive fretless to see if you like it, and go from there to a better one. I found a used SX fretless that was not bad for less than $100. An excellent Squier Vintage Modified Fretless is less than $300 new and $200 used.
Don't screw up your Yamaha.
Your best bet is to find a fretless neck to swap onto the bass. That way you can always go back.
I've modded 4 or 5 necks to fretless, and IMO if you have never played fretless before buy a cheapo and start there. You may not like it. I started playing on fretless 13 years ago in church on a borrowed bass. I fell in love, and modded mine. It looked like crap and played worse until I had my local guitar shop set it up. After that I started doing project basses and bought fretting tools, and bought set up manuals and things like that. It is very tricky.
Two more things, you can't trust a fretted fingerboard to be true once the frets are off (or even before), and you have to lower the nut to account for the missing frets.
I agree you should buy a cheap fretless first to see if you take to it, but don't let us scare you off if you've got reasonable woodworking skills. Assuming your Yamaha does not have an ebony fingerboard, you're best to put epoxy on it to prevent wear (use West Marine epoxy only). For the fret slots get some wood dust slightly lighter in color than the fingerboard and mix it with epoxy, fill slots, wipe excess & allow to set, easier than wood slats and looks fine provided you epoxy the whole fingerboard after. If the fingerboard needs planing you should do it with slots filled. You can have a luthier handle any step along the way, best to have one do any necessary planing.
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