Re-fret or convert to fretless?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bob Clayton, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. Bob Clayton

    Bob Clayton My P doesn’t have flats or tort Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Philly Suburbs
    I have a bass at home that isn't really anything special. It's my first bass (Crate). Upgraded all the electronics and it's very light weight with a thin neck, so I enjoy playing it. The fretboard needs some work though. I'm pretty good at doing my own setups, but no matter what I do, I can't avoid dead spots in several areas. I'm attributing this to uneven frets. So I was planning on just getting all the frets redone, but I'm toying around with the idea of just having it converted to a fretless. I'm not qualified to do that kind of work. I've heard some stories of how the converted basses never really felt quite right after, so I'm just looking for more opinions.

    Also, what $$ should I be expecting by taking it into a tech? Never taken a bass in for anything like this before so I'm clueless about it.
  2. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    It would be a whole lot cheaper to find a fretless neck that will fit the pocket. If it’s not your primary instrument, go for lined.
  3. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    If it's your first bass, and not a primary player, it's gotta be there for sentimental reasons. Why mess with memories?
  4. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    while i get no compensation for the effort: i encourage everyone to go fretless! :thumbsup:
    Badwater and Geri O like this.
  5. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    Converting to fretless is not rocket science BUT there's more to it than just pulling the frets. Most fingerboards need levelling, cause fretless will not tolerate a rising tongue at all. I de fret, sand perfectly flat, then coat with epoxy, and sand perfectly flat again. I can do one in an afternoon.
    Frets VERY rarely need to be replaced, usually only when they are grooved too far to save. A dressing may cure all your problems.
    Linnin likes this.
  6. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    I've had three basses defretted, all worked out great with no issues.
  7. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    Having a pro do a de-fret would have to cost more than getting the frets levelled. Based on what you have said, the neck does not need a re-fret. There should be lots of life on the frets to bring them down. My guy charges $140~ for a fret level.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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