Half Fretted Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by LowEndRider, Mar 31, 2002.

  1. LowEndRider

    LowEndRider Guest

    Mar 4, 2002
    Anyone know if there are any half-fretted commercial basses out there? - I used to play a Burns which was modified (Read butchered) with frets only up to the 12th fret which was great for Jazz Fusion stuff...
    (See photo from a loooooong time ago)
    Do any custom makers accept jobs like this?
    Any help appreciated.
  2. [dfire]knight


    Mar 30, 2002
    bend, or
    i think mpg guitars make a semi frettless bass. But i am not sure
  3. SoComSurfing

    SoComSurfing Mercedes Benz Superdome. S 127. R 22. S 12-13.

    Feb 15, 2002
    Mobile, Al
    In order to clear the frets and have good action between the nut and the 12th fret, wouldn't the action above the 12th be too high? I dunno. Looks like an interesting concept.
  4. BassFelt


    Mar 26, 2002
    Ibanez used to make a half fretted bass. I wasn't impressed.
  5. hujo


    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    A user named Bass Guitar had his Conklin 7-stringer defretted from the fifth or seventh fret... He doesn't hang around here very often nowadays though, otherwise you could've asked him about it.
  6. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    like the glass with a modicum of water, that bass poses a perplexing question:

    is it half fretted or half fretless?

  7. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I met a guy from Maui who had his defretted from the 9th fret up. In order to get around the action issue, he had someone put a piece of ebony that was as thick as a fret on the fretless part. That made the fretless have the same action as the fretless part. It was pretty cool.
  8. o1x3w3a2h


    Dec 14, 2001
    Cheektowaga, NY
    i never seen one of these before. interesting stuff.
  9. There's a luthier, local to Milwaukee, WI that I have used for years that has done quite a bit of this type of work you may want to call and just ask him. Here's his website


    Ask for Denny or Josh.

    As a side question, a few months ago I ran across an ad for an 8 string bass that was set up as a fretted & fretless all 24 frets on the same neck like E-A-D-G (fretless) E-A-D-G (fretted). Has anyone else seen this, and does anyone know who made/makes it?

    Just wondering

    Best Wishes,
    DR Burkowitz
  10. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    probably talking about this...


    here's the link ...

    used to be for sale at bass alone, but it's sold now.
  11. pedalpointer


    Mar 25, 2002
    The string spacing on that monstrosity looks normal, or at least close to it. I'd have a hard time playing that one. Of course, I guess it wouldn't be so bad it it were the same spacing as a 6er. The idea is cool, though.
  12. Hey JT

    That's it - thanks for the link, do you know anything about the manufacture?? I've never heard of them before but that bass is well hell of an interesting design.

    -O.T. side note, John I'll fire you an email later, I have some updates for L.O. from our last conversation.

    Best Wishes,
    DR Burkowitz
  13. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    well, the company is called armen, and i think they are an eastern european builder. they've made some interesting instruments - surf around at the bass alone website, they have pics of a few of them there

    cool on the updates :D.
  14. LowEndRider

    LowEndRider Guest

    Mar 4, 2002
    Thanks a heap for the info guys....I thought I was the only one with the ambition to cut the rhythm and solo fretless....looks like you dudes have the pulse....

    - LowEndRider
  15. extreme


    Mar 20, 2000
    Hey guys - here's the real deal! John Brown is a bass player/luthier up in MN and he's been playing his custom frettedless bass forever. He finally went through the process a few years ago of acquiring patents and getting his ideas in production. His basses are pretty spendy, but he builds them by hand and really knows what he's doing...check 'em out:
    There's not really much info on the web, but I can dig up his contact info if anyone's interested in getting in touch with him. NCI - just really impressed with his humility and art; Johnny B. is a monster player and a talented craftsman.
  16. Suffering a GAS attack!! where is my Beano!?!

    Those half fretted basses are really intriguing.
  17. CRONOS from Venom used to use a semi fretted bass (12 fret and above). Whether he had that done or whether it had already been done to his bass I don't know, but he made reasonably good use of the extra flexibility it offered - although his bass sound was pretty atrocious
  18. LowEndRider

    LowEndRider Guest

    Mar 4, 2002
    Holy Crap......I didn't realize there was any real "Legitimate" Half frets out there....My old Burns was Doctored in 1978 as an "Experiment" in one of my 'What if' moods......I'm going to have to try these babies out for myself and re-acquaint myself.
    It only proves that forums are a wonderful medium for sharing information....thanks..(Big toe in sand with aw shucks expression):p
  19. CrazyWallaWalla


    Aug 16, 2006
    status offers it as a custom option