Defret a graphite neck?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Skeld, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. Skeld


    Feb 27, 2004
    Amiens, France
    I am looking for a Modulus Q6 fretless unlined, but it's quite hard to find. So that I was wondering if it is good idea to buy a fretted one and then defret it. I've read here and there that it was not advisable, what's your opinion? :help:
  2. Tryxx

    Tryxx Sputnik Forums: Bass Mod

    Jun 1, 2005
    Hurst, Texas.
    The only way I'd consider it is that it'd have to have something other than the phelonic board and an professional do it. I really don't know the properties of the material, but I like the way it sounds. :p
  3. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Unless you've got experience, you probably shouldn't do it yourself. Phenolic fretboards tend to chip easily. It's probably easier to repair a chipped phenolic board and have it come out looking really good, though......but considering the value of the bass you're talking about, I'd have a pro do it.

    This guy does great work...........

    HG Thor at GuitarLab

    .......but it ain't cheap, and he's got a pretty long line of customers waiting ahead of you. I had him rework the board on my Q6 TBX lined fretless about 7 months ago; removed the top dots, painted the white lines dark brown, leaving 1/4" of white on the B string edge of the neck, leveled and epoxy coated. Came out beautiful.

    At that time, he had a 5-6 month wait. That doesn't mean he keeps your bass that long, he holds your place in line and let's you know when to send your bass.

    Before and after..............
  4. Have the frets planed down to fingerboard level, and you won't even need to fill the slots.
  5. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Ehhhh..............that sounds pretty risky. You'd have to use some pretty heavy duty methods to grind off the frets, and the second you hit the board with that kind of tooling it's gonna go through it like butter. It'd be nearly impossible to get the board as level as it should be on a fretless because of the huge difference in hardness between the board and the frets.

    I might try that on an $199 SX, but not on a Q6.
  6. I hear ya, but it's been done. You can wear down frets in no time with sandpaper. coarse paper, appropriate radius black, voila!

    Not for the uninitiated.
  7. JDGA fan

    JDGA fan

    Oct 9, 2003
    Still a bad idea though, because the wood and remaining fret tang wear unevenly, particularly if you like to give it a lot of vibrato.
  8. of course. I was simply saying it's been done, and in this case, we are talking high-wear composite materials...aren't we? Just presenting another option.
  9. Andy Brown

    Andy Brown Supporting Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Founder: Wing Bass
    Wow... incredible job.

  10. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Email Jerry Dorsch (modulus co-founder, now runs Graphite Guitar Systems) at and see what he thinks. He just did a full refret and fingerboard leveling on my Q5 and it turned out great.

    Also, I think Moses can make you a neck that will fit the body, then you'd be able to swap back and forth.
  11. FenderMustang45


    Jan 29, 2005
    If you talk to a Modulus dealer I'm sure they could order one for you. It would be better to have a little wait and get the exact bass that you want in my opinion.
  12. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA

    I've tried it. Modulus doesn't sell replacement necks at all. Even through dealers.

    Personally, I think that dumping $2k in a bass that is not EXACTLY what you want, is a bit obtuse, but with said, there's no good reason why you couldn't defret it as you would any other bass.

    I have done a half-dozen defrets and own a Q5. It'd work just fine with a little extra care.
  13. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    That fascinates me... I'd almost consider having that done on an older 4-string that I no longer play.
  14. Skeld


    Feb 27, 2004
    Amiens, France
    Thank you for the answers. :smug:

    BruceWane, a beautiful job indeed! very nice!

    Finally I think I'll wait for a Q6 FL used. So if you have some ideas that could help me to find such a bass..

    Thanks! :)
  15. strummer


    Jul 27, 2005
    It chips like crazy, so you will need to be very careful when defretting a Modulus. When the tangs reach the fret board surface you can use a veneer between the board and the pliers. Or even better, a steel plate (as thick as you can get under there). That way you will have something pressing down the fret board. But it's not easy, and I wouldn't do it on a Modulus if I didn't own it myself. So if you decide to defret, get a well known luthier to do it.

    IMHO, you should just watch the 'bay for a while and a fretless Q6 will pop up. They don't seem to reach the high prices the fretted ones go for either.
  16. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    Don't even think about it! Buy a fretless. EVERYONE I have talked to who has tried this regretted doing it. I've actually seen 3 people try and only 1 was successful. Pulling the frets out alone will be a big problem.
    Maybe you can call Modulus and they me be willing to "trade" necks with you for a small price
  17. phishaholik

    phishaholik Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2005
    Portland, Oregon
    I have a defretted Modulus Deluxe Jazz that is incredible. The only problem I see is not being able to adjust the truss rod, since mine doesn't have one, after I get the fretboard refinished. It was heavily used by the previous owner and has round wound grooves under ther strings. That, and the area behind the nut is very high. There are already grooves in it since the nut was lowered so much to compensate for no frets. I keep hearing people say that Modulus doesn't sell replacement necks, but they do.

    It's at the very bottom. $699 for carbon fiber and $599 for Genesis.

  18. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Those are replacement necks made by Modulus for use on a bass with a standard P or J heel. They are not the necks that they use on their Quantum basses.