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Defretting a cheapie - what to look for?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by IM Wombat, Jun 21, 2003.

  1. Fascination has got the better of me and I'm thinking about getting a cheap second hand bass and defretting it to see how much I like going fretless. Anyone got any suggestions on what characteristics I should take into consideration for the bass I buy to do this with? (If, in fact, there is anything I need to worry about!!)



    Jun 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    biggest thing i can thing of is make sure its something you won't miss if anything goes wrong ;) also look for one thats easy to remove the neck, as this makes the whole proccess a LOT easier (At least for me it did) plus you dont run the risk of messing up the body with any tools of anything... =]
  3. Antonius


    Nov 26, 2002
    I defretted my first bass after buying a better one (years ago). I never played it much though afterwards. It didn't sound nice before and after defretting. And most of all: I found out that I preferred a broad and thick neck, as opposed to the narrow thin neck of my now defretted Westone. Some ten years after the defretting I bought my first GOOD fretless bass. I've been sorry ever after for not going fretless way earlier, but I guess the first one just didn't light the fire.

    So basically: start with a bass that is well balanced, comfortable to your playing, with good enough pickups and electronics, and a basic sound that you like. Make shure you really like the feel of that neck. If you were to start with something you basically don't like, you won't like it any better after pulling the frets out :)


    Jun 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    good advice! if you dont like the bass before you defrett i seriously doubt you will after you defret
  5. I am thinking of defretting my Squire P-bass Special, but if I do that I won't have a fretted 4 string in case I need one lol... :oops:
  6. Ben Mishler

    Ben Mishler

    Jan 22, 2003
    San Jose
    This is a great site for defretting info when you decide to go through with it.
  7. geezer316


    Jan 26, 2003
    i defretted a japanese copy p-bass,and though i did a "DECENT" job,its still not like the real thing.i filed down the nut slots,put lines for frett markers before sealing the neck,you name it i did it.i'm not sorry i did it because at least now i play it.:bassist:
  8. If you don't think you can do it there are ussually techs around that will do good jobs on it. One of the guys here could defret mine for $100. He did a job for a friend of mine and put the markings down as well, and it feels great.
  9. mjw


    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    I had my five-string Carvin done not too long ago by a local tech as well, and it turned out fantastic. I probably could have done it myself, but really didn't have the time. Price was right too, (I believe $80 or maybe $100), and I had it back in about 10 days.

    Personally, I think you'd really like it.
  10. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Unless you're also interested in learning how to defret a bass, why not look for a cheap secondhand fretless? That way you save yourself the time of doing the job yourself and you even get to try it out before you part with any money?


  11. What the hell is the fun in that? ;)
  12. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Depends whether your hobby is bass-playing or bass-building... :D

    Touche! ;)
  13. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    As others have said, you'll have to find a bass that you like as a fretted instrument to make a fretless that you'll enjoy as well.

    I would recommend a two pickup instrument. The Jaco sound relies heavily on a bridge pup.

    I defretted my Squier P Special 5 and it's wonderful!!! I use Elixir strings to go easy on the fingerboard that I left uncoated.

    The only real set up change was to flatten the relief and to slightly shim the neck's heal to be able to get the action low enough to dial in some yummy mwah.

    It was easier than I had anticipated...enjoy!!!!
  14. Ben Mishler

    Ben Mishler

    Jan 22, 2003
    San Jose
    Actually my hobby is both, hence my decision.;)
  15. I took the frets outta my beginner bass, which was an Austin P-bass, and at first, I did the polyeurathan coating, which I learned sucked, and took it off, slapped half rounds, and damn man, that whistle does a lot to the bass, I actually enjoy playing the bass now, it has really low action and I don't have to hear its fret buzz.