Defretting an Acoustic?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Harmonik, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. Harmonik


    Feb 13, 2020
    Hello all,

    I’m an intermediate player, and I’ve started taking an interest in playing fretless. I don’t really have the money to dump on a decent fretless bass, but I do have an old fretted Dean EAB acoustic/electric that I’ve rarely used since I got my MusicMan, and I’ve been looking into defretting it this weekend. It’s practically a wall decoration at this point so it’d be nice to get new life out of it.

    I’m totally new to fretless so I was firstly wondering if it’s even worth defretting an acoustic. If anybody has experience with one, can a fretless acoustic still get that “mwah” unplugged? Thanks, I’d appreciate any feedback before I commit to taking up my Saturday.

    TL;DR: Advice for defretting an acoustic? Good idea/bad idea?

    (after writing this I realize I’m probably not the first to ask this on here, so my apologies if this is just clutter. :unsure:)
  2. dmt


    Apr 19, 2003
    Orbiting Sol
    Can a fretless acoustic still get the "mwah" unplugged? - Oh yes, absolutely.

    General advice: Go fo it if you want (after reading up on how to do it first, of course). Like you said, the bass is basically just a wall hanger at this point, so what’s to lose (besides the resale value - but it wasn’t very expensive new to begin with, so there’s not a ton of value to lose).

    Besides that, I’ll say that I rarely use my fretless acoustic. For one, it’s a bit of a big beast (an Epi El Capitan) that I hesitate somewhat to pull out. For two, it’s a bit specialized - doesn’t naturally fit with a lot of what I usually play. And then if I don’t play it, I fall out of fretless practice, which makes it both a bit less rewarding when I do pull it out and more of a project (‘cuz then I have to work on getting my fretless skills back up).

    That said, when I do pull it out, I usually like it a lot and get back into fretless for a bit day I just want to play "regular bass" and...I head back off in that direction, not to pick up my fretless acoustic for months again. Still, I’m glad I’ve had one (I was soooo curious). Had a couple of fun jams with it when I had the right minded guitar partner.

    I guess the thing is, it makes the basic act of playing notes more challenging, and there’s a real feeling of reward in getting that right. It makes me think about really committing to it, and then, like I said, I fall off the wagon. It’s just not my main sound, so the steady commitment to it hasn’t been there for me. YMMV.

    Anyway, I say go for it. Scratch that itch.

    Might want to order up a set of LaBella Low Tension Flats for it (to spare the fretboard from the wear and tear of rounds while still being easy on the hand)
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