How much should it cost to make my bass fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Maxian, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. I was tempted to make my bass fretless, but my parents are worried about me attacking a 500$ instrament with a soldering iron and plyers (understandably) so I was thinking about getting it professionaly done. The thing is I went to a local guitar shop (the place where I got my newest bass from) and they quoted me on 500$ (although they said that this depended on the neck etc). Granted this does include they polish and stain it and all that jazz, aswell as put the cheat lines in... But still - 500$ seemed rediculose. Its a Fender Highway 1 Jazz bass (2000 I think, mexican made) by the way.

    So my question is, a) is it likely most guitar shops will be able to defret the bass for me, and is 500$ as rediculose as it sounds? Should I look somewhere else? If so what do you think is a better idea on price for it.

  2. invisiman


    Feb 22, 2004
    I'm pretty sure you could buy a fretless neck off of E-bay, or Warmoth for considerably less.
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I think I heard John DiMaggio at Bass Alone in San Diego say he would do it for $100. Please fill out your profile.
  4. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    1st option SX fretless...2nd option SX fretless :p
  5. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Yes, $100 is more like it. I got mine done for $80 by a respectable local luthier (Ft. Lauderdale, FL). It may cost a little more if you want the lines filled with a hard material (maple strips or styrene), but for putty-filled lines (or any other wood filler that hardens), $100 is fair.

    All this said, I also agree with the recommendation to buy an SX fretless. They are more than worth their price and they cost just about what a fretless job would cost. It's a no-brainer.

    If you have a Highway 1 Jazz and you like it, most likely you would dig an SX. They just need a little setup and maybe a string change, and they are good to go.
  6. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    You should buy an SX Fretless instead.
  7. SteveC


    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Is this your only bass? What if you don't like it?

    Get a cheap fretless to try. If you like it, you can upgrade - or not. Maybe the cheap one will sound great.

    Remember my moto - buy with your ears, not your eyes.
  8. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    Buying a good inexpensive fretless like the SX is a really nice way to get a fretless and not hack on the HWY1 bass. I don't know which shop you went to but most of them don't have luthiers in-house. I'm about 20 minutes from you and I don't know of a shop in CT with an actual luthier on staff.

    You could find a good repair guy and have him do it, you could buy a fretless neck, or you could buy a whole bass.
  9. I'm in the process of defretting an old bass of mine (Harmony.. nothing to worry about if I screw it up), and so far its cost me about $20 to do (nearly finished). Granted I'm far from a professional, but $500 is just silly.

    I would recommend getting a new (SX) bass that is fretless instead of hacking your nice one. It would cost about the same, and you'd get to keep your nice fretted bass too. The more basses the merrier, right? Variety is always good.
  10. Aerolithe


    Jan 23, 2005
    Columbia, MO
    Incase the choice isn't obvious yet, SX. It'd seriously cost you the same ammount as a defretting job (minus a new set of strings if you change them), but this way you still have a fretted bass, and if this is your only bass I wouldn't recomend defretting it, if you're new to fretless it'd be a good idea to keep a fretted bass around. If you hate fretless, it was $100 and you still have a nice fretted bass, if you love it, you have a pretty decent fretless to work with.

    By the way, Highway 1's are made in America with Mexican parts.
  11. I currently have 2 basses, the jazz bass and a ibanez (which I use more), but I am thinking you guys are right asfar as going with the sx.

    Thank you
  12. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    FWIW, i got twin SXs-a fretted 5 and a fretless 5 [SJB62 4+1s]-the fretless 5 was setup nicely out of the box and the strings weren't bad either. So i've actually left that bass untouched including the strings-they've actually grown on me, i might put on some D Addario chromes or a set of rounds though.

    So yeah-another vote for an SX. Another option if you're dead set on the neck idea-buy a warmoth neck-would run probably $200ish though.

    That's all
  13. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    If you like the Fender, a used Mexican fretless might be something to consider, too. More than an SX but you'd get a feel you are used to. Never hurts to shop around for used. The Peavey fretless I gig with was $150 used, and it's a very nice bass, IMHO.
  14. Well you all have convinced me (seeing as 10+ people say go buy a cheap fretless and dont touch the jazz bass) I will take the dive and get a SX (or something simular) from ebay or new... Thanks for all your replies - im sure you all will hear from em soon with my tons of questions :)
  15. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    Inquiring CT Talkbass audience can't wait to find out who is charging $500 to do a defret on a bolt-on Fender.

  16. It was the guys over at one flight up guitars (right beside sam ash in woodbridge (or by woodbridge... not very good with all those amity towns)) - They cut me a good deal (I believe) on my Ibanez BTB510 bass, but sometimes seem like they are rippin me off. They do offer good lessons though, and have given me a number of free setups and odd jobs with my bass. Also, to be fair, that was a rough estimate before even seeing or knowing what kind of bass. It was simply a "Hey, I have a bass I might want you guys to defret, how much do you think that will run me?" - "I would say about 500$, its hard and takes time to rip up all those frets and replace em with the markings"

    I did find this quote pretty sketchy though.

    And btw, I wasnt aware there were so many (or any of you) in CT. If any of you are in bands or have gigs in ct (prefferably southern) I would love to go see em. I always love to see new bassists, prefferably ones who I can talk to about what they did and how they did blah and blah afterwords.