De-fretting a Conklin Gt-7?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by danpanus666, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. danpanus666


    Apr 4, 2016
    Hello all, I recently purchased a fretted Conklin gt 7 string bass and it's awesome. The best sounding and most comfortable extended range bass I've ever played. I like it so much that I'm toying around with the idea of buying another one of the same bass and defretting it, so I can have a fretted and fretless model. So my questions are:
    1) Has anyone else tried defretting a Conklin gt 7?
    2) Was it successful?
    3) What would the process of doing so be like?
    I understand that defretting basses are generally a straightforward process, but this is something I've yet to try and I wouldn't want to mess up such a nice bass
    Thanks in advance to anyone who can help!
  2. I've played a few ...

    My "favorite" was where someone sanded off the frets (not quick or easy)... He then had a cool inlay.

    To "really" do this, youll end up correcting the neck, nut etc...

    They do pop up for sale on occassion... they have bad resale value.

    I do see some GT-7 that come up for sale in the $500 range periodically.
    TolerancEJ and danpanus666 like this.
  3. Before buying my BDGT7... I had a GT7.. I"ll see if it's still for sale.
  4. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Why not buy a fretless one? They make those, you know.
    el_Bajo_Verde likes this.
  5. danpanus666


    Apr 4, 2016
    True! Could you post a link?
  6. I have read in the documentation that fretless GT-7FL's were supposedly available but I've never actually seen one available for purchase.

    This link is the .pdf document on the Conklin website.
  7. They apparently did make them in fretless versions. You can see a few pictures on google and a few guys on here posted about them in the early 2000's. They must have been pretty rare though.
  8. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    I own Bill Dickens Conklin 7 string but I'm not so sure I'd go for a fretless conversion. Here are some of my random thoughts on it. First, If you ERB interest is in playing chords going fretless is something to have second thoughts about. Frets allow multiple notes in tune without precise finger positions. Just thought. However, fretless for solo expression is something I dig. I have converted a 4 string, 5 string and 6 string bass. They were mostly SX basses. The 4 was a defret and it didn't go especially well. The major problem is pulling the frets can also pull chips of fingerboard wood out too. You then have to carefully glue them back in. Also you need to fill the grooves with hardwood or something that doesn't compress to maintain neck rigidity. And on top of that you are stuck with whatever wood the old fingerboard was. I much prefer ebony for a fretless fingerboard so for the 5 and 6 string I simply replaced the old fretboard with a nice preradiused ebony fingerboard (blanks relatively inexpensive from luthier supply companies. You use a steam iron to unglue and pry off the old board. (instructions found on INTERNET). Glue on the new board and trim it up. it worked out absolutely great.

    I think a 7 string fretless would be an absolute dynomite solo instrument. I would't convert the fretted Conklin I own though, but like you, I"d be looking for a second fretless one. My first choice would be a factory fretless Conklin, but not finding that my next choice would be to try to find a cheap used fretted on with say badly worn frets or the like and do the fingerboard conversion.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
    gebass6 likes this.
  9. Trouztrouz


    Feb 6, 2013
    I have a factory fretless GT-7. I bought it used from a guy who had a fretted GT-7 and a factory fretless GT-7 neck. I swapped the necks as soon as I got it. I don't know for a fact which neck was on the bass when it left the factory, so maybe it's factory-ish.

    Let's see if I can get a picture to work:

    el_Bajo_Verde likes this.
  10. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music. Supporting Member

    Tools needed to defret a bass
    1.A pair of end nippers.With the nipping face ground flat so that they can get under the fret.
    2.A soldering iron.
    3.A Three foot level.
    4.A Hobby Razor Saw.
    5.An 8"Radius Sanding Block(you will need to know the radius of you fretboard)
    6.Various grades of sandpaper.
    Your choice of what you want to fill the fret slots.I chose styrene plastic strips..062 as I remember.
    7.Crazy Glue.
    8.An Exacto knife.
    9.You will need to deepen the nut slots.Personally I sanded the bottom of the nut to lower the slot height.
    10.Howards Feed-N-Wax Wood Polish and Conditioner.And a polish cloth.
    No power tools.

    My self defretted Tune TWB63WN. Snapshot_2014617.jpg
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  11. danpanus666


    Apr 4, 2016
    You wouldn't happen to know where I can get just a factory fretless neck, would you?
  12. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    If you do defret, do your home work and do it right! Sanding the frets flush and leaving the tangs in place is the worst possible approach, hopefully that's off the table.
    gebass6 likes this.
  13. Trouztrouz


    Feb 6, 2013
    Sorry, I do not. I considered myself lucky to find the one I did, and that was 13 or 14 years ago.

    Frankly, it might be too much bass for me. I've never been quite as comfortable with it as my others. Every so often I toy with the idea of putting the fretted neck back on... but then it would be just another GT-7 and not the elusive fretless!