Putting Frets in a Fretless?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by rickreyn, Nov 23, 2000.

  1. rickreyn

    rickreyn Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    I like the sound of my new Yamaha TRB5F fretless so much I wonder if I could have a local guitar maker install frets in it. I know this sounds crazy, but he says it's no problem. Anybody ever done this? What are the potential problems?
  2. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Any qualified Luthier, (Guitar maker), should be able to perform this with no problems.
  3. Also, make sure you know what gauge fret wire you want, Jumbo, medium jumbo,or high. Don't just say, "Oh,do whatever you think is best" or you may be sorry.
  4. I've considered this and may still do it for several reasons. First, there seems to always be several fretless Warmoth necks on ebay, usually from guys that just didn't like fretless and are getting rid of the neck. That's how I got the one I have now. They usually go for half of what a new one would. Second, I really, REALLY like the looks of a fretboard without dot markers - just plain black. The Warmoth ebony fretless version would make a neat fretted. Go for it!
  5. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.

    rickreyn: I'm only addressing the last sentence in your post. The only potential problem that I can think of would be excessive back bow if the fret slots are too tight. If a qualified luthier is doing the mod, there's no reason to expect a problem. Make sure you trust your luthier, then go for it.


  6. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    Bear in mind that your bass WILL NOT sound the same with frets in it! It will sound brighter and more metallic. If that's what you're after, then go for it.

    Any possibility of finding an identical fretted model just to listen to it?

  7. bassics


    Nov 27, 2000
    Newark, Ohio
    I think you will find it cheaper and easier to replace the neck. Replacement necks are available from several sources,
    but to get the sound of your fretless out of a fretted neck may proof very difficult at best. My suggestion is to go to your local music shop and try an identical bass with frets,
    and see if you still like the sound. In my younger days, when I was real into Primus, I decided to remove all the frets from my Memphis P-bass copy. I'm darned glad I did this on a cheap bass because it ruined it, I still have that bass, collecting dust in the corner as a reminder, as it now sounds horrible, and is not worth repairing.
    If you do decide to replace the neck, my I suggest (as someone else already did) a Warmouth neck.
  8. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    As I recall, some Yamahas have unusual neck bolt patterns and may not accept a Warmoth or other aftermarket neck, most of which are designed to fit Fender neck pockets. You are advised to check very carefully.

    Maybe Yamaha sells necks?
  9. bassics


    Nov 27, 2000
    Newark, Ohio
    I sit corrected, I'm pretty sure the TRB is one of those with the asymetrical bolt pattern. I wasn't thinking.

    "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance,
    Riddle them with bullets" Q-fm-96