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De-Fretting a Fretted Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bassplayer5115, Jan 8, 2005.

  1. Has anyone ever done this?

    I have been thinking i might do this to my Ibanez Soundgear 5 String...

    anyone got any good/bad stories or outcomes while doing this
  2. Lots of info in the Setup forum.
  3. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    What?! You speak crazy talk! Who would ever do a thing like that. Oh, there was that one crazy dude named Jake-o or Jack-o or something, but what does he know. He's probably some annoying kid anyways.
  4. Nadav


    Nov 13, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I thought Jaco bought his bass from someone who had already defretted it, but I could be wrong :confused:

  5. unity bass

    unity bass

    Dec 15, 2003
    Modesto, Ca.
    I did it. It came out ok. I followed the steps in an article from Bass Player magazine. The problems I had are as follows; I chipped the finger board a little when I pulled the frets, the super glue ate through the finish where it dripped and ran, and I had to switch to flatwounds because my rosewood fingerboard was getting chewed up.
    The only thing I would say is that you may want to do this on a old beater bass or at least something where if you totally ruin the neck or hate the modification you won't be too bummed. I defretted an old Hondo P-bass copy. I like it but if I ever want to go back, I can easily find a replacement neck.
    If you want to go fretless and have some woodworking skills but don't have much cash, do your research and go for it. It's cheap, it's easy, and it puts a fretless in your arsenal. Good luck!

  6. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    No. He defretted it.
  7. 00soul


    Jan 4, 2005
    seal beach, ca

    yeah, he yanked them and then coverd the frettboard with some marine epoxy or something.
  8. MMiller28


    Apr 27, 2003
    if i can offer one piece of advice, its dont use a pliers, use a nail clippers. works beautifully.
  9. _Unregistered_


    Nov 3, 2004

    Now, to help keep from chipping the fretboard when pulling the frets, use a soldering iron to heat the frets up first (sometimes there's a bit of glue, which will release more easily with heat), and use a sharp wood chisel to more easily get up under the fret ends, to pull them up. "Curling" them out is better than "yanking". If you work carefully, any little pulls of endgrain can be held down, and carefully glued back into place.

    I think Jaco used thin strips of maple, but I have successfully used filler (some fillers are even epoxy based, and will dry harder than wood).

    You can use the marine epoxy to coat the board once you're all done, if you intend to use roundwounds...or you can perhaps take your bass to Mike Pedulla for the application of his "buzzbass" polyester coating, which he claims has 80% the hardness of glass, and withstands the repeated abrasion of roundwounds.

    According to his site, Mike worked with people like Mark Egan to help develop the polyester buzz finish, as a natural extension of Jaco's experiments with marine epoxy.
  10. I did it to my GSR200 and it came out pretty well. Only thing I regret is NOT heating up the frets first with a soldering iron to melt the glue holding the frets in. Since I didn't do that it made a couple small chips in the fingerboard, but nothing the woodfiller didn't fill in so it still plays fine. It's a pretty easy project but just be careful and take your time. I recommend checking out this thread before you start.