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Should I have my Rob Allen de-fretted?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by FretNoMore, Sep 14, 2002.

  1. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    While I like my 5-string Rob Allen MB-2f, in retrospect I think I should have bought a fretless. Can I have it de-fretted (by a local very skillful guitar builder) or would you all recommend selling it and getting a new fretless instead? Are there any significant differences between a fretted and fretless instrument (apart from nut/bridge/string height) that would make de-fretting a less than good idea? I have little (zero) hope of finding a Rob Allen locally, I would have to import a new one, so trading is not practical, and I doubt I can get a good (high enough) price for it here either. Any thoughts?
  2. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    The fretted models appear to have different woods. According to the website, they have a walnut neck. I can't really see this being a problem on a fretless. Other than the setup concerns, that would be dealt with by the luthier doing the defretting, I don't see any problem. I guess it is up to you, if you really want it to be fretless. If you are prepared to sell it and get a fretless, then it would be worth your while to price out a defretting. Then compare it to what it would cost you to sell and buy a new one. My guess would be the defret is going to be cheaper.

  3. Chambers


    Apr 9, 2002
    Vancouver, WA
    Walnut is a fairly soft wood. I would advise AGAINST defreting a walnut fingerboard. It would wear quickly, need to be planed often, and shorten the life of the bass. This is of course relative to how much you play it.
  4. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    My bass does have a walnut neck but the fingerboard is cocobolo - same fingerboard wood as the fretless four-strings on Rob Allen's site. The 5's tend to have ebony I think. The fingerboard wear is probably not a problem anyway considering I have the nylon wrapped strings.
  5. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    True, Anders, true...
    Just rip the crap out - with all due care!! - and cut the nut a bit lower - also very carefully.
    The materials are slightly different from a "native fretless" RA, but they are good enough.
    Just one thing: the replacement for the frets. Make sure you get wood! True, hard wood veneer. If you want dark, find ebony or bubinga or cocobolo, if you want white, get some hornbeam ("vitbok" in swedish).
    If you settle for plastic or wood putty, you may have tone differences, or even less stability.

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