Should I de-fret my Warwick Thumb 6 BO?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by NeonVomit, May 29, 2019.

  1. NeonVomit


    Jan 29, 2013
    Ever since I got my Marleaux Consat, I use it for the vast majority of shows primarily because it's lighter and more comfortable. My Warwick Thumb BO 6 (1999 model) has been relegated very much to secondary status, which is a shame because it's got an incredible tone and I love the asethetics.

    I have no intention of selling the Warwick, ever. It means too much to me, and along with my Stingray and Marleaux will be the 3 basses that I keep until the end of time.

    I do however want to get a fretless, so I figured - if I de-fret the Thumb, would that be a good idea? I'd start using it more, that's for sure. Of course I'd take it to a reputable luthier to carry out the job, and I don't mind it being a lined fretless at all, but I have some questions:

    1. Fretless Warwicks tend to have ebony fingerboards from what I see, while fretted ones have wenge. Mine has wenge, of course - would that be a problem? I use rounds, could that end up damaging the fingerboard? I'm not a fan of flats I have to say.

    2. What material would be used to fill in the fret gaps? Would this have any effect on the stability of the neck?

    Anyone done this before? Share your stories and advice!
  2. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    You have no idea if this bass would work without frets or even if you'd like it. A DIY de-fret could easily devalue this bass and could make it unplayable. Then what do you do?

    Buy the fretless that you know works for you. Don't get sentimental, sell the Warwick. Admit to yourself you've moved on and you no longer need it.
  3. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    hi Neon :)

    Very good idea! I am pretty sure that your Thump will sound awesome! :hyper::hyper::hyper:

    (it' s the best Warwick for fretlesss metal :D)

    Personally I would take it to a luthier (too expensive for a butterknife and putty job :D)

    When you want to dys, here is a sticky about defretting:

    Defretting ?

    may the bass be with you

  4. I personally wouldn't touch the Warwick. I'll admit I am kind of a Warwick fanboi so I feel they are built a certain way and should stay that way. Plus, now you have an excuse to buy a NEW bass :D

    If you do go forward with it, good luck and we look forward to finished product pics!
  5. Sid the Kid

    Sid the Kid Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2013
    Yes, but not you. Pay handsomely for the service.

    Wenge is a fine wood for a fretless fingerboard.

    If you have gone far enough to have it defretted it will take several years of steady play to wear out the board. If you are playing enough to wear out the board it may no longer be your #2 and you will be happy to have the board replaced!
  6. I asked my repair guy about wenge for a fretless fingerboard and he advised against it, too porous I think was the reason.

    It’s a long shot but maybe someone on EBay is selling a fretless 6 string Warwick neck?
  7. Warpeg


    Jun 20, 2005
    Even the most careful of a defretting process would likely destroy the wenge. Although very strong, wenge splinters VERY easily.

    Considering the overall value of the bass as-is, the cost of pulling the frets professionally (assuming it could even be done without damaging the wenge), and the fact that you will have no idea how the bass will play or sound until the deed is done; I strongly encourage you to leave the frets alone and seek out a different option.