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Defretting Cort Artisan A5

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Uncle Lee, Oct 27, 2005.


  1. Hi everyone,

    After reading a lot of good threads and posts about defretting, I think I am up for the task! :hyper:

    But, I have a specific question: is there anyone out there who has defretted a Cort Artisan A5? Because it is a neck through I want to make doubly sure I don't make a mistake, and actually, I haven't even bought it yet. I live in China, so my range of 5-string fretless basses to try is limited so say the least, but I played one in a store here and I love the sound, playability and feel of the A5. But Cort only makes them fretted according to their website...

    So, anyone ever defretted this particular bass? What were the results?

    Cheers everybody.

    Uncle Lee
     
  2. elwood

    elwood there is no spoo

    Jul 25, 2001
    Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    I haven't defretted an A5, but I have defretted a neck-through, and the main difference as you probably can imagine is, it's a lot more unweildy to handle. Also, you'll have to take pains to make sure you mask off the rest of the bass to avoid damaging it. I'm not sure how well-suited wenge is for a fretless surface because of the pores, but someone else may be able to chime in on that. Wenge also tends to be brittle, which can mean more splintering. I guessing on that. Coating the board is always an option, but a lot more work.
     
  3. Thanks Elwood. Yes, I guess you are right, the neck-through factor makes it a lot more work.

    What about the sound and feel? Because I primarily play double bass (which is why I want a fretless in the first place), I am totally concerned about the tone. While the Cort Artisan range has great tone and sustain with the frets on, how does the fretless aspect affect this? I am guessing that some basses are more suited for defretting than others (just an assumption based on the huge variety of basses out there).

    Anyone ever defretting anything by Cort? Artisan range?

    Cheers all

    Uncle Lee
     
  4. elwood

    elwood there is no spoo

    Jul 25, 2001
    Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    Neck-through just makes it a little more difficult to handle and easier to damage, really.

    The sound- typically, things like sustain didn’t change with the frets gone. That has to be affected by the fingerboard material, though (e.g. what wood). The biggest change sound-wise is the fretless note bloom and buzz…”mwah”. Other characteristics aren’t really altered, unless you have to coat the board.

    The feel- the strings practically lay on the fingerboard once the action is set correctly, so fretless is practically effortless to play, at least physically. Intonation and technique aren’t effortless, though. The increased sensitivity after defretting is a double-edged sword.

    I would guess the Cort isn’t going to pose any real surprises, construction-wise, so if no one can answer specifically about defretting your model, I’d say just make sure you use a soldering iron and a pair of dikes with the face ground flat so that wenge doesn’t splinter on you too much.
     
  5. Cheers Elwood for your advice! Unless anyone stumbles upon this thread and adds any words to the contrary, I guess its fretless here I come! :hyper:

    Uncle Lee
     
  6. elwood

    elwood there is no spoo

    Jul 25, 2001
    Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    I just visited the Cort site and read the current specs on the A5, and need to modify my comments a little. The neck is maple/wenge but the fingerboard is rosewood, so you can forget about the pores comment I made earlier, and the splintering won’t be any more of a concern than usual. But rosewood is a softer wood as fingerboards go, and mostly does better when coated for fretless. I know some people play it uncoated, but it will wear more quickly than a harder wood (e.g. ebony), especially if you string it with roundwounds. The second thing I noticed is there are inlaid position markers. If those markers fall under the strings, you may have uneven sound on those frets. I had to coat the ebony board on my defretted bass because of large inlays.

    I’d recommend you have a plan for coating the board since there’s a real chance you may have to do it.
     
  7. jeffhigh

    jeffhigh

    May 16, 2005
    I defretted my cort 5 stringer a few weeks ago.
    But it was an old low end cheapy so it has very little in common with the A5.
    I epoxy coated the fingerboard but will probably at some stage replace it with ebony.(LMI sells ebony boards with a radiussing service at quite a reasonable price.
    It may be worth going to a replacement fingerboard straight off on an instrument at the price level of the A5
    The fretboard dots are not under the strings BTW.
    Jeff
     
  8. Thanks peoples.

    So to get this straight, I have two options:

    1. Defret AND COAT the fingerboard.

    2. Get a new fingerboard (probably my preferred choice).

    If I get a new fingerboard, I am assuming that I can rip the frets out quite indescriminately as the old fingerboard can only be removed my planing it off, is that right? Then I glue the new fingerboard onto the (wenge) neck?

    Btw thanks for the LMI tip. Has anyone used this service? Experiences?

    Cheers,

    Uncle Lee
     
  9. jeffhigh

    jeffhigh

    May 16, 2005
    If you are removing the board, I would probably pull the frets, plane down the board to 1-2mm then release the glue bond with hot iron and putty knife. But note I have not done this yet, using heat is just standard practice for removing fingerboards.
    I will probably do this myself to get rid of the lines and position inlays, plus I love the feel of ebony.
    Jeff
     
  10. Thanks for the tip!

    Jeff (or anyone), do you know anything about how the ebony fingerboard might react with the trussrod system? I know that ebony is a much harder wood than rosewood, will this pose a problem do you think?

    Cheers,

    Uncle Lee.