Just to CMA, I did several searches using various keywords but could not find any specific answers to my questions. A few days ago I stopped by the local "high-end" shop in inquire about a defret. After I asked about the various options, the luthier stated that the only way he does defret job are to grind the fret down to the tang, as that is "the only way to preserve the stability of the neck". That rather grand statement only made me fairly offput, as I've never heard that put so strongly, and would think the remaining metal (even ground to the board level) would impact the sound. He also made several extremely negative statements to even the idea of a poly coating on the board. He also quoted me $150 for the work, which from what I understand is extremely high. I had a pro-defret done in New York, capital of high labor charges that didn't come close to his price. Well, I do suppose when you consider how much labor is involved in dremeling every fret... What about his assertion of leaving tangs as the only way to stabilize the neck? Is there any merit to his method, or is he completely clueless? Poly vs. a softer coating? It's a fairly bright bass to begin with, so is it worth going to a softer coating/switching to softer strings and dealing with wear as it comes? Has anyone who has inlayed lines with styrene (as opposed to wood strips/filler) considered/had inlays that matched the bass color-wise? I have to admit, the "rock star" part of me is interested in this on a purely visual level. His price - outrageous, a touch high, or reasonable? I'd rather pay more for a *good* job, but not get ripped off in the process. Any recommendations as to a competent luthier in the Lexington, KY/Cincinnati, OH areas. I'm based in Kentucky, but in the in-laws are in Cinci and the travel isn't a problem. *Just to forestall the "DIY" posts. I've read up on the procedure a good deal, am reasonably confident I could handle it, but simply lack the tools to do a good job and am loath to spend a large amount on them when that money could go to a professional job. Were I at "home" (between them Dad and Granddad have a workshop of awe) it would be a different story.