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Defreting or not defreting ?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by NJXT, Mar 13, 2001.

  1. NJXT


    Jan 9, 2001
    Lyon, FRANCE
    I still want to enter the fretless owner club (I'll seek the fretless player club later ;) ) but I haven't got many bucks for that matter.
    I've got 2 choices :
    - asking a luthier/guitar tech to defret my old Ibanez SR405 which I don't use anymore. It has already been modified with a mediocre neck from a SR305 (the original neck was broken). A good luthier I called told me that it will cost me from 1200 FF to 1800 FF depending on the actual quality of the board (~170-260 $)
    - selling the Ibanez (I think I can get ~1800 FF / 260$ from it) and buy a new Yamaha BBN4 Fretless for ~2500 FF (~360$)

    The second hand market on fretless is totally dead in my town, I won't defret myself and I can't spend more than the price of the Yamaha.

    So what would you do ?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Defretting is not that hard to do.

    Just heat the frets with a soldering iron, for example and pull them out.

    Use wood putty or glue to fill the gaps and sand it down smooth.
    You might want to put some finish on it afterwards for protection.

    Since that neck isn't that good/expensive you can't do that much damage.
  3. I would say buy the Yamaha fretless. I defretted an old no name P bass and while it wasn't that hard to do it just dosen't feel right and made the bass pretty unplayable. That alone turned me off to even picking up a fretless for awhile, but playing them in stores now feels great. So I would say buy something that is made for the job, afterall if you needed to cut your grass you'd buy a lawnmower not strap a blade to the bottom of your 1963 Mustang right ?

    Just my $0.02
  4. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    I'd say your options should be defretting yourself or buy a fretless. (Eh, that would be defretting *by* yourself, wouldn't it?)
    Defretting is not all that hard - Bob Gollihur posted a link to a real informative site about this, here in TB a while ago. I fella I know did according to that, and it was much easier than it looked - even...
    The price your luthier takes seem heavy...though it's probably appropriate to the time it takes.
    But I'd add some FF to get a purpose-built, rather than paying someone to defret.
    ....another 2c...
  5. NJXT


    Jan 9, 2001
    Lyon, FRANCE
    Thx guys for the answers.
    As I said, I won't defret it myself because I've got no time to do it ... and no hability too ;)
    I manage to find cheaper luthiers but not much cheaper, and I'm not sure about how good they are compared to the first and expensive one (who has great reputation in town).
    Finally, I think I'm gonna sell the Ibanez and buy a "real" fretless (not necessary the Yamaha, but in that price range).
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Nathanael - Check out www.bassplayer.com If you click on the "Gear" link, they have an April `00 article I was looking at yesterday, titled something like "Fretless Tech" which is all about defretting your bass "the right way."

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