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Fretted to fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dragonlord, Jan 17, 2003.

  1. Dragonlord

    Dragonlord Rocks Around The Glocks

    Aug 30, 2000
    Greece, Europe
    I recently purchased a Warwick Corvette Standard 5 str fretted.I am very satisfied so far but but been thinking about going fretless..I defretted my old washburn today with a knife and I have a few questions:
    1)Should I defret my bass or do I have to buy a new fretless neck for it?I mean is there a big sound difference between a defretted neck and an originally fretless one?
    2)If I defret it,can I do it on my own or should I get an expert do it?
    3)I have seen a defretted bass and it had the fret gaps filled with some sort of material.Do I have to fill them,and if so,with what material?
    4)How's slapping and tapping on a fretless?

    thanx a lot in advance,kisses
  2. hujo


    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    1: I thought you already defretted your bass. If you're talking about your new warwick, I wouldn't defret that. If you're not experienced with this stuff, you shouldn't start with a relatively nice and expensive instrument. About the sound difference; it depends on the material used when making the neck. If you get a new neck with the same woods as your old, it won't sound much different.

    2: Again, if you're talking about your new Warwick, see above. If you feel confident that you can do it without hurting anything or messing anything up, and you know just what you're doing - Go for it. Be aware that it effects your resale value negatively. I just know that it takes a while before you can do a nice job, my defretted Dano has splinters all over the place. If you have a cheap bass (like your washburn that you already have defretted???), do it on that first, and see if you want to play fretless at all.

    3: Yes. You have to fill the gaps. You won't get the fretless sound otherwise. Use plastic wood / wood filler, or wood veener.

    4: It can be done.. It doesn't sound like slapping and tapping on a fretted.. It also depends on what material your fingerboard is made of, or if you decide to coat it with something (epoxy, polyurethane, tung-oil). Basically, the harder the surface is, the brighter tone you'll get. My fretless with an unfinished rosewood board, does NOT sound good while slapping, but that may have something to do with the fact that it has a hollow masonite body and dead strings.

    Now, go to the setup forum and do a search on defretting, you'll find lots of info.

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