PRYING the frets

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lostcausebass, Feb 11, 2003.

  1. lostcausebass


    Oct 29, 2002
    Okay, this is a similar subject to my other post, but it's a little different.

    My dad, jokingly suggested that I just pry the frets out of a really cheap bass...and I know that Jaco did, but how well does it actually work?
    (Side note - Why do fretless basses cost more? It represents LESS work)

    Has anybody yanked the frets out of a bass while not under the influence of drugs? What does it do to the fretboard, other than make little valleys?
  2. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
  3. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    I did it to my SR...I have a thread about it around here turned out great, and just as good as if I had bought one. It was quite simple and cheap as well...
  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Actually, I have been told that builders have to be a bit more choosy with the wood they select for a fretless neck than with a fretted one and making it perfectly even all around requires more attention than a fretted bass.
  5. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    I defretted my Squier P Special 5... I used toenail clippers to remove the frets (yes, I cleaned them first). Kind of worked on one end first to get under it then gently rocked it back and forth and moved across the finger board to work the fret out and not chip a bunch of rosewood out.

    It only took me about a half hour to do it (maybe only 20 minutes). Once I got the technique down, it went quickly. I had very little chipping.

    I then cleaned out the slots with an Xacto knife making sure that I removed the filler at the fret ends so that the slots went all the way across.

    Then, I glued in white polystyrene strips that had been cut with a radius similar to the fingerboard. I used superglue and tapped the strips in gently with a rubber mallet. BTW the polystyrene is 0.02 in thick and came from a hobby shop. Cuts easily with an Xacto knife (I made a cardboard template for the curve).

    After the glue dried, I used the Xacto knife to carefully trim the strips within a 1/16 of an inch or so from the fingerboard.

    Starting with 150 grit sand paper on a foot long piece of wood, I sanded the strips down until they were flush with the fingerboard. Then I simply started sanding with progressively finer grit paper until I ended up at 400 or so, paying careful attention to the fingerboard radius. I cleaned it up with lemon oil. I was left with a baby rump smooth fingerboard. There were a few sanding marks left, but I'll take care of those when the fingerboard needs to be dressed sometime in the future.

    I had to shim the neck slightly, maybe 1/64th in. and didn't need to adjust the nut at all.

    I used Elixir roundwound strings because the coating prevents a lot of fingerboard wear and they sound great.

    Fretless set up involves getting the neck pretty flat (for mwah). Good fretless tone comes from boosting frequencies around 800 Hz on your amp.

    Have fun!!!!
  6. i defretted my yamaha motion MB II bass... i used a pair of long nose pliers and a flat head screw driver.. i put some sort of a wood filling on it.. i sanded the fingerboard.. it was cool at first.. but now i regret taking the frets off :( oh well.. it's all good :D