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Fretted or defretted?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Norwegianwood, Mar 2, 2004.

  1. Ok, I have realised that I do need a fretless to play those jaco tunes:D So I'm looking everywhere for a decent, cheap bass. The ideal would be a pretty old and shabby looking jazzbass, or maybe an old ibanez. But they are hard to find. So I'm thinking about finding a fretted bass and get someone to defrett it. Is that smart? If the work is done properly, will the result always be as good as a original fretless? (Nope, I'm not searching for information on how to defrett the bass. So the search function will not do me any good:D)
    If I don't find anything good used, the fretless mim jazzbass is pretty cheap over here. Have any of you got any experience with that? But it bugs me that the frets is marked on it. I want a clean neck! :D
  2. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    The MIM fretless jazzes are decent. I like them except for the neck, it's too narrow for my liking. I gotta get me a P-bass neck and pull the frets out.
  3. Thanks! But I don't think I will find that one in Norway.
    Anyway, how is it compared to the mim jazz?
  4. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    The disadvantage of buying an instrument specifically to have it defretted is that that process will change the sound and playing characteristics of the instrument and perhaps not for the better.

    If you've got a bass that is a suitable candidate, it can be a good move. For example, I'm very pleased with my Washburn XB-600 - I think it works better as a fretless bass than it did with frets. However, I'd already got more than my money's worth out of it so the only cost of getting it defretted was that it potentially pushes the resale price down.

    If you're looking at purchasing a bass to use as a fretless, I'd wait around a bit longer to see what comes up that has already been done for you unless you find a really good deal on an instrument and you're sure removing the frets will on ly improve it. Of course, I don't know how big the Norwegian bass market is - if that might mean waiting a long time I can understand you wanting to move more quickly.

  5. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Wolf has a point, regarding the playability changes.
    But sure, it can be done, and be well worth it providing that your luthier (or yourself!) actually do it all the way. Including nut filing and all the not-so-fun side work.

    The first option would be to sweep the regional market really well first. Inlcuding neighbour countries, if you are not too far from one (sorry, limited geographical knowledge...).

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