I am expecting to be acquiring a new (used) bass fairly soon that will need some minor work, probably including buying some new pickups. I'm planning to get bass this because the total cost of the bass + minor repairs will be under $500. I cannot afford much more than that, and will get a lot more of a bass I like by taking this route than by buying a new (or used) one. The bass was de-fretted unprofessionally (ie. with a swiss army knife). I will very probably be able to get this bass for under $200 (canadian), maybe even as low as $100, partly because I am buying it from a friend, and partly because he never plays it. I installed EMG split-pickups in my other $300 (used) 4-string bass. So I do have some experience installing pickups. The new pickups almost cost as much as the guitar. This was a move that I do not regret in the slightest. It revived the use of the bass a LOT and I will keep it for a long time. I had a lot of fun doing this, and feel that I learned a lot. My first concern is: will the neck develop problems from being de-fretted and not having the empty spaces filled in? Should I adjust the truss rod at all? It has been de-fretted for well over two years now and seems fine; the neck is not a single peice, but rather has a thinner peice of wood on top that used to have frets in it (very common design), I think this may have helped it retain its shape, but I am not really qualified to say for sure. I like the way the fretlessness of it looks, rather than white lines that can easily be mistaken for frets, there are dark lines where frets used to be that will easily not be noticed by the untrained eye, hence making me appear to be a much better bass player than I actually am. If, however, filling in the fret-space will make a significant improvement in the life of this guitar I will fill them in, but otherwise I won't bother. All I know about the wood in the guitar is that it's dark, I do not know which species. The guitar is a Yamaha (something) from around 1997 or 1998 if that helps at all (probably not, eh?). The wood is not painted, and has a natural wooden look to it. Please, please, if you can avoid words like: bright, dark, punchy, dull, etc in describing tone I would be very thankfull. To me these words all describe visual things and will not help me understand what you mean at all. I have tried to supply you with as much information as I can. Any and all advice will greatly be appreciated. Thank You. PS. talkbass.com is most definately the best bass forum I have ever come across. Pretty soon I would like to become a supporting member to support this AWESOME website.