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Lowering frets--good idea?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Schwinn, Mar 23, 2003.


  1. Schwinn

    Schwinn

    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    I was thinking about getting the frets on my bass shaved down. They feel too high and I think playability may improve somewhat if I have this done.

    Anyone have experience (good or bad) doing this to their bass?

    Also, Can you recommend a GOOD repair tech in the Maryland/D.C. area? I called one place and got quoted $150 (including setup). Is that a fair price for this kind of work?
     
  2. geezer316

    geezer316

    Jan 26, 2003
    NEW HAVEN ,CT
    why ? are they that high? what kind of bass is it? you can always go with lighter strings its cheaper than mauling your fretts, i live in CT, and thats about the price for a re-frett so its close to resonable
    :bassist:
     
  3. hujo

    hujo

    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Well, a lot of proffessionals do this for better playability... Supposedly they achieve lower action. The downside is that the frets wear down faster..

    150 sounds ok, maybe a bit expensive.
     
  4. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Hmm ... maybe so, but I can't see how that makes sense. Action (on a fretted instrument) is *defined* as the distance between the string and the top of the fret , *not* the fingerboard, so lowering the frets isn't going to do anything for action, if the distance between the string and the top of the fret remains the same. Remember, when you fret a note, you don't press it down all the way to the wood.
     
  5. Schwinn

    Schwinn

    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    That's a good point, Rich. I recognize that if I were to shave the frets I wouldn't really have lower action because the distance between the fret and the string would probably be the same.

    But having played basses with low frets, the feel of them seems lower because I feel closer to the fretboard. It may be an illusion, but the playability seems better on those basses

    The frets on my bass aren't bad but they just feel a little meaty to me. I'm also the type of person that can't leave well enough alone and I'm constantly looking for ways to improve things. A constant tinkerer I am.

    Thanks for the feedback guys.
     
  6. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Schwinn, I know what you mean. When you start talking about feel, you necessarily enter the realm of the subjective. In that context, if the action "feels" better, then in a sense it *is* better. Even if it isn't (really).;) If you know what I mean. I'm not a huge fan of jumbo frets either, but more because it seems to be a bit easier to push a note sharp if you press down too hard.
     
  7. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    You dont??? I do!?! (...OK, just kidding) ;)

    Supposedly Will Lee has Mandolin frets (very small) put on his basses for roughly the same reason (i.e. It makes the action feel lower).
     
  8. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    I'd heard that too, but I heard it was for a different reason--namely, to allow better intonation.
     
  9. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    That would make sense (smaller point of contact), although many forms of traditionally sized bass guitar frets are available with a sharper profile, achieving the same result.

    Rodger Sadowsky also commented that Will needs re-frets and levelings much more often than normal.
     
  10. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Dayton, Ohio, USA
    I read recently of someone who had smaller, mandolin-like frets higher up the neck, and bigger frets low on the neck, for better intonation up high.
     
  11. hujo

    hujo

    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Well, that's why i put 'supposedly' there. ;) No really, I just quoted what i've read in interviews though. I agree with you, it shouldn't yield lower action, but it might feel like it! I've always had the superstitious notion that the big frets feel like speedbumbs.
     
  12. My Warwick I used to have had pretty big frets and my Fender has small frets. The Fender technically has higher action than the Warwick had, but it feels easier to play(the neck also has a bit to do with that).