Defretting My Spector?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by *ToNeS*, Dec 9, 2001.

  1. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    so i've quite recently decided to go and look for a fretted 5-string (i haven't found one yet, but that's a whole 'nother thread, innit :D), and provided that i eventually get my hands on one, that leaves me with my 4-string Spector.

    now, to me having a 4 and when you have a 5 is kind of a useless situation to be in, so i was thinking that maybe i could defret my Spector so that she wouldn't just be sitting around going unused while the new 5 invades her territory?
    how the hell would i do this? and is it a wise decision? would i be better off buying a fretless instead of "making" one? i read somewhere that if you defret a bass, the side markers on the neck don't line up with the notes properly, or something like that? i'm terribly wozzed out about this, so any help is appreciated.
  2. You will probably find alot of people here suggesting you leave her alone. Defreting done right requires some special tools. Most fretless basses that use side markers will line the markers up with the "fret position" instead of between the frets like a fretted instrument.

    I vote keeping her whole. The new toy will get some early attention and she WILL get jealous, but you WILL come back to her.
  3. hyperlitem

    hyperlitem Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    god please don'd do that to your spector. If you really want a fretless sell your spector and buy one. Sharp tools around a spector is NOT, i repeat, NOT a good idea.
  4. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    here's my catch-22 - i couldn't bare to sell her (Peggy)! i have very found memories attached to that Spector :( i don't want some grubby little garage punk putting his dirty pick-using mitts all over her neck-through construction!

    so it's either mutilation of her fretboard or a long stint in the closest ... :eek: i'm still completely undecided, although i would love to hear a fretless Spector - imagine the "mwah-growl"!
  5. Sounds like the only solution is to put "Peggy" in the closet, get your 5 string, name her "Sue" for pure 50's nostalgic reasons, then go get a fretless 4 string Spector (Do they make them? I know nothing of this "Spector" you speak off.) and name her.... Candy or something equally street whorish, and justify this by saying that it was juggling relationships with Candy and Sue that ended up getting you in trouble with Peggy so you stuffed her in a closet... just think of all the cool conversations that could be had about your basses that passerbys would find utterly shocking :D

    J/K :D

    But if you want a fretless 4 string, don't do that to "Peggy".. you might find that having a 4 and a 5 isn't so redundant, who knows, you're five might not sound as good for 4 string stuff as that 5 might.
  6. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    haha oh yeah, i remember when i had my P-Bass i christened her "Tina", and used to go and on about my frequent dire need to replace her G-String with one that wasn't so crusty :eek: :D

    no, i don't think that Spector do make fretless basses, but i was hoping that some of the Spec-heads like Nino or Mr. Dead would jump into this thread and add their much prized input on the matter.
    i guess i'm just kind of worried about my beloved 4 becoming redundant - but maybe a defretting isn't the right move to "keep her in the family", as it were. i'd probably screw it up, too - hmmmm ...
  7. On a far more serious note then my previous thread, I dont know a whole lot about spectors, but I can tell you that I've defretted 2 maple fretboard necks (which are supposed to be hard to do??) without any previous experience and had very good success on both of them. One of them was a bass neck that was marked '77 on the heel, and was slightly warped, and the fretting sucked, so I defretted it expecting no big loss (since I found it on the sidewalk...) and steamed it/hung weights on it, and its pretty good now, although I don't think it'll ever go on anything. The other was off of a late 70's Japanese jazz clone, with a Geddy Lee style fretboard. I got my MIM jazz and decided to take this one apart. I defretted the neck and didn't even damage the binding (how cool am I? :D) so I don't really think that defretting is a problem per se, except that getting the neck finished up nice so that its workable as a GOOD fretless can be a pain in the ass :(

    Recomendations if you go through with it (which I'm not pushing in either way):

    1) Go slowly.
    2) Read ALOT of stuff on the internet about how its done.
    3) Pay a visit to and pick up at the very least a radius block sander (this will be a god send should you need to level the finish (and you will!)
    4) For the love of all things good in the world, go slow :D
    5) Don't you dare hurt Peggy (see tips 1 and 4) or I'll send Social Services after you ;))
  8. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    thanks very much for the tips, and i guess you're qualified, so i'm happy to follow 'em :) it isn't set in stone, but i've been thinking about it for a long time. and for some reason i feel i should take the procedure rather slowly :p

    and don't worry. i slap Peg with alarming regularity, and she's never once complained ;) dunno how she'll feel about being sanded, though ...
  9. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    I've just defretted a bass, with pretty much no experience, and done an alright job - not that it was anything like a Spector! :eek: The damn thing played like a pig before anyway, so anything was an improvement. Anyway, I found this to be useful. Good luck!
  10. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    goldmine. thanks very much, yawno :)
  11. The only thing I would suggest thats different from that reference sites... DON'T be OK with chipping up the fretboard on your Spector :D I actually found that using Razor blades (the little disposable kind like you would use to scrape paint off a window or something) and working that under the fret before I got into it from the side with a hammer and SMALL screwdiver gave me a bit more room under the fret for the screwdriver to catch, and I avoided chipping the board all together.

    Good luck! Post up pics :D
  12. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    well the "wheels are in motion", as that Pakistani guy from Seinfeld is so fond of telling us, and Peggy is soon to be minus a few frets :eek: :)

    thanks very much to all the people in this thread for their reluctant input :p and as soon as i settle on a decent 5'er, i shall begin ze operation .. ahahaha .. ahahhaha .. AHaHAHaHAhha!!! :D

  13. tucker

    tucker Guest

    Jan 21, 2001
    North Carolina
    if you do defret your spector you will ruin a perfectly awesome bass, and defretting isnt such a good idea. I did that to one of my basses(4 string) and i was amazed that i had a fretless, but i have found that i wanted to go back to 4 string fretted, i am 5 string user now, im gonna try 6 to see how it feels, i like high notes and strings, nad low end, like LOW END stuff, so i might go for one six, that'll do me good there, but if you defret you spector you oughta be shot, spector makes a fretless bass, its in 4 string model, im sure they make it in 5 and 6 string, jsut go to the site and look around,
  14. I'll take a bullet for ya Tones! .... well.. maybe in the arm :D

    Seriously though, its.. uh.. his bass :D and if he does it right, it won't be ruined.. in fact, depending on HOW he does it, I wouldn't even put it out of the realm of possibility to RE-fret the bass.. sure it'll cost a bit more money, but less then a new spector.. Of course, Tones, you could really screw up and want to hit yourself with the nearest hard object.. :D but hence my 1st, 4th and 5th rules of defretting.

    I don't think that its a decision to be taken lightly, and I don't think that Tones is taking it that way, but I believe the question was How could he make a fretless, would be he better of buying one, and are the side markers in the wrong spots.

    1) See me previous posts.
    2) Depends on what you mean by better off.. its less expensive, and not really that hard...
    3) The side dots on very few mid range fretlesses that I've seen line up with the notes.. thats what fretlines are for :D which you'd still have left over from the defrettting process. :D
  15. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    god, chill out, tucker bag :D i know, it's a fairly expensive instrument to be taking such an experimental step with, but i feel that, if done right, it'll be a much "greater" bass for it.
    i've been wanting to get into fretless for a very long time, but i don't have the financial resources to go for a 5 and a fretless, so i've had to work with what i have - i need the 5-string for the gigs that i have lined up (so it's a necessity), and the fretless is more of a tool to help my ear and technique, making it a fairly necessary item as well.

    HWK2 is right. i'm not taking this lightly, for this bass is very important to me, and making her unplayable by my own hand is a hanging offense! therefore i have decided to ask the wisdom of the many esteemed bassists and gear-heads at TB, and have come up with invaluable advice and support. it may take me a while, but when it happens, pictures of me and my "new" baby will be posted :)

  16. :confused: :confused: :confused:
    Weird, my name is Sean Gallagher, and I plan on defretting my bass. Just one of those weird coinkydinks I guess.