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The Official De-Fretted Thread!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jazzEADG, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. For all of you who have ripped those speed bumps out of your fingerboard, this club is for you. This is slightly different from the fretless club due to the fact that at one point, these basses were fretted, and they were ripped or "jaco-modded" and then re filled/shilacked with wood glue in my case.

    No store-bought fretlesses here!

    Now, get posting!:bassist::bassist:

    remember pics for a spot!

    the official club listing:

    0.5 - Kevin_BluesBASS
    1 - eastcoasteddie
    2 - Michael Case
    3 - WRXBass
    4 - bongomania
  2. YAY!
    First (well ok second post!)
    LOL I'm working on my fretless/ defretted project right now!
    I'll post the final results!

    PS- lol im 1/2! thats BETTER than 1!
  3. eastcoasteddie


    Mar 24, 2006
    Can I be #2???

    Squier Deluxe Active Jazz V, defretted and de-preamped



    gotta love 'dem fretless (well DE-fretted) monsters!
  5. My de-fretted Ibanez SR 405 with new Bartolini pre-amp.

  6. Well I guess I should ask these questions here-
    Before I finish my fretless, what should I use?
    It's a maple board so it's really hard- does it still need epoxy?
    Could I just use that Varithane Spray OR Wipe-on Poly?
    Thanks guys!
  7. i would use the wipe on, because the wood won't deform or groove that fast, you just need to fill in the grooves left by the frets. the epoxy will make it much faster-and glossier- which means a faster board. so epoxy that suckha!
  8. OK- thanks! but... wouldn't a high gloss polyurethane be fast and glossy?
    And I'm not a HUGE fan of wipe-on finishes...
    EDIT: and I have already filled the slots with Minwax wood filler and it worked well enough
  9. WRXbase


    Jan 14, 2009
    Clayton, NC
    I filled the fret slots on mine with epoxy but I've finished the very soft maple with a super glue finish, to keep it from getting shiny.

    I have had to deal with a warped board from the fret removal and high/low spots from removing the fingerboard dots and filling them. I ordered a radius block from StewMac to get it level again. Pix coming soon.
  10. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Here's mine:


    (MPG Level 5)


    (Hamer USA Cruisebass)

    The de-fretting was done by previous owners, not me.
  11. Very, very nice stuff guys. Hey, I have an old MIJ P Bass copy but here's the thing: it's a throughneck - not bolt-on and is strung through the body. It's got a maple board though so would it be too cold sounding?

    I do notice that, Bongo, one of your fine specimens is a maple boarded bass but I dare say yours is of considerably better station than my old thing.

    What all my rambling boils down to is: Will it be worth de-fretting it?
    I once had a Mexican Jazz fretless with a rosewood board and I found it tediously dead sounding. Am I likely to end up with the same result or would the thruneck and through-body stringing arrangement liven this one up a bit?

    Thanks a lot. :)
  12. Rosewood is a much softer wiid than Maple- that could have had something to do with the overall tone.
    I say go for it!
  13. Well, I de-fretted the thruneck P Bass copy. Once I'd found the right tool, it was easy to remove all the frets, taking me less than 15 minutes. I sanded the fingerboard down to take the finish off, applied plastic wood to the grooves (wow that stuff dries fast) and then sanded again with the paper I used before and then some fine paper.

    The fingerboard is now silky smooth but I can still detect by touch where the frets were.

    I'm hoping that when I apply a lacquer of some description, that the surface will be totally smooth.

    Got some D'Addario Chromes for it but I've found that the brass inserts in the back of the body where the ball ends sit are too small for the ball ends!!! I'll have to do some careful pillar drilling to sort this out. I did try a string on the bass without a brass insert and the string was only just long enough to allow the cotton at the other end of the string to clear the nut.

    Is there any reason why it would be a bad idea for me to string the bass without using the brass inserts? I don't think they're actually supposed to come out but they do.

    Strange that the D'Addario Chromes' ball ends do not fit because the old roundwounds that were on the bass before the de-fret are coloured like D'Addarios are and they fit no problem. I also tried an Ernie Ball string and the ball ends on those wouldn't go anywhere near. Oddness.

    So, probably not the neatest de-fret in the history of the world, by any stretch of the imagination but hey, I've never done anything remotely like this before. :)

    Anyway, here are pictures of the bass pre and post defret:



    ...and this is the bass in full if anyone was wondering what the heck it is:
  14. C'mon people! I need to see more sexy de-frettings!

    I wish I had something to show... but alas, I'm only a dreamer. I've thought about doing it to my one and only bass; but I have a lot more use for it fretted. Maybe once I have another!
  15. That's the thing you see. I have a Fender 4 string P, A G&L 4 string and a Sandberg 5er so I wasn't gonna deprive myself of frets by doing this one...
  16. Fajah


    Apr 30, 2006
    Toronto, Canada
  17. I defretted my conklin
    Now its time to epoxy it will 5 coats of the system 3 be enough for the purpleheart ?
    and will Stainless Steel Strings but grooves into the finish or board ?
  18. here is my work so far

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