defretting...any regrets??

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by basseddie, Jul 27, 2001.

  1. Ok i am poised over my mim jazz with a soldering iron and small screwdriver, ready to yank out the frets. But. what i need to know has anyone that has done this regretted it after. Is fretless worth it.??
    I wanted to try out a fretless at my music store before i did the surgury, but they no have fretless basses, none in a while and dont know when they will get one in.
    so i can not wait any longer
    any opinions out there>>>
  2. alx564


    Jul 31, 2000
    Emmaus, PA
    After I defretted my bass I had no regrets. Having a fretless bass is definetely worth the time and energy spent on doing it yourself. The sound is so unique you just have to love it. Plus you are using a fairly cheap bass and as long as you have another one I so go for it.

    Good luck.
  3. TheFrizzleFry

    TheFrizzleFry Guest

    Nov 21, 2000
    Stinktown, Pa, USA
    I've taken this under consideration, how would one go about doing this? Are there any pages on how to defret a bass... I don't wanna accidentally destroy a perfectly good (kinda) bass.
  4. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
    I am in the process of defreting, refinishing and hot rodding my Fender "Photo Lame". Yea that's right "LAME". That's what I think of that cheap excuse for figured wood. I just sanded all that crap off the body. The neck will be next. For defreting be careful with the iron. I got a few of my frets a little too hot and sort of got the wood extra dry at those frets. I would modify the heating process next time, (I really wasn't that careful). Be real gentle and ease the frets out. I used a small wood chisel with the bevel side towards the neck. It was easy to get under the fret and you can pry them up with a lot of control. Be careful, the bevel on the chisel provides you with a lot of leverage. Put something between the chisel and the fretboard to protect the fretboard. The chisel is hard and will dent it. Next time I would use two small chisels simultaneously on opposing sides and ease them out very gently. Some say to slide them out side ways instead of up. Sounds like a great idea, but I think almost impossible to do. If you really want to do it right, Stew Mac sells a tool for removing frets. Or ideally you want something that will push the wood down under the fret as you pry up on the fret. If you can come up with something that will do that, great! That will keep the fret from taking any wood with it when you pry it up. Here is an example of someone defreting. LOL ;)
  5. TheBassPreacher

    TheBassPreacher Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    White Deer, TX
    Yea, I have 1 regret... one time the screwdriver slipped and well sliced a gash in my thumb.... it hurt like hell
  6. Jimbo


    Dec 4, 2000
    Philadelphia, PA
    i have an old bass and the sound is boring me. i really want to get a fretless but i don't have that kind of money. i've heard about defretting and it might be a good way for me to go. but i don't trust myself, is there like a place that will do it for me? and how much would that cost?
  7. alx564


    Jul 31, 2000
    Emmaus, PA
    You can take it to your local luthier. It will probably cost around $100. This price is a guess though since I have never had it done by a luthier.
  8. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Defret, defret, defret, dereft, drefter,,,,it's heard so often, I can't even spell it anymore!
    Hey, guys, why not go all the way, and make yourself a bass, that's intended to be fretless? Or, if you are a bolt-on fan, at least make you own neck?
    Instead of ripping up a working bass that some newbie might want.
  9. Too late to talk me out of it now, the deed is done. My mim 5 jazz is now a fretless. Turned out better than i thought it would. Looks ok too. Seems to play ok, to me anyway. I am pleased with it.
    Fretless forever!!!
  10. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
    I am still in the defret process as I am refinishing the bass and adding a pup. A complete overhaul.
  11. MypartnerStinks

    MypartnerStinks Guest

    Jun 19, 2001
    you guys inspired me. I riped the frets out of an old celbrity bass guitar. I haven't played the thing in years. The neck is slightly warped so the frets closest to the bridge were all dead, Got it for about 50 bucks at a pawn shop. I figued I could fix it but the the bar in the neck was about as tight as it would go allready. Anyway with out frets it actually sounds rather good! Now im thinking about repainting it............
  12. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
    The fretboard on my P bass was pretty screwed up, (the relief varied from one side of the neck to the other), and I was really close to getting a new EBONY fretboard from stew mac for a mere 30 bucks! But I widled this one down and it will last awhile. It will definatly be replaced the next time it needs work. I have got the rest of the guitar stripped and have a pup on the way to add to the tone. Now I can't decide on what kind of a finish to go with. The professional 20 coats and lot more work or the way easier and more fool proof stain and tung oil. I already have alot of effort into it and would like to see the results of a home spun multi stain coated with clear coats to finish job just to see how good it can come out. And I think I would be happier with the results. It is a much tougher finish so I guess I am leaning that way. Then again I already have the tung oil and stain. Decisions decisions!!:rolleyes: