Urgent: are these low frets a deal breaker?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Insederec, Sep 18, 2017.


  1. I have fallen ill to GAS for this particular bass, and I want to snatch it up before someone else does, but I'm not sure if the low frets would be a deal breaker. The seller claims it doesn't affect anything and they've "still got some life in them" but I'm not sure if I'm ready to shell out over half of what I'm spending on the bass for a refret. How bad does this look?
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    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
  2. So I guess what I'm asking is, do these look dressable? Perhaps naively, I feel like that's something I might be able to do myself if I could get the tools to do so, and it would probably cost less than whatever I'd get charged by a professional.
     
  3. Hard to tell in the picture. There's probably enough for a level and dress but it depends on the condition of the rest of the neck and how much has to come off to make them level. I've heard or read that .020" - .025" is kind of the minimum height to recrown.
     
  4. KIL0117

    KIL0117

    Jan 25, 2017
    Are you able to play it? Any buzzing?
     
  5. It's an ebay listing. They claim "This bass plays very nicely with comfortable, low action... The original frets are a bit flat on the first ten or so. This being said, the bass plays fine and they still have some life left in them before they will need any attention." ... but naturally they would; they want it sold.
     
  6. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Flat frets mean that they haven't been crowned. Why not? Probably because there's not enough fret left to crown them. And the consequence = poor intonation, some fret buzz - and the next time the frets need attention you are into a re-fret. Not a deal breaker if you can afford to add the cost of a re-fret to the asking price of the bass.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
  7. BusyFingers

    BusyFingers

    Nov 26, 2016
    Thanks for the explanation.
     
  8. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    You are welcome. Invoice for consultation would be in the mail, but I have no idea of your address. Best keep it that way.

    :D
     
  9. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Those oval fretboard markers look suspiciously Alembic-y. If so, might be worth a refret depending on overall cost. Looks like a bit of a sloppy past fret level, with no crown or polish. Id use that to negotiate a little on price if you can. Good luck scoring it.
     
  10. I decided to take the plunge. Peavey TL-5 in bright blue, $570 shipped. If the frets do turn out too low I'll see about getting work done by somebody. But I'm hoping all they need is some TLC, if anything at all.

    I justified my decision by the fact that I don't know if I'll see another TL-5 with such a beautiful finish again, and the price wasn't too bad considering there were pretty much no other problems with the bass.
     
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  11. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Photos or it didn't happen. If it plays fine on delivery, flog it with conviction and worry about a refret later. Just looked up TL-5 , nice looking bass. The oval markers had me fooled. Congrats.
     
  12. Ask and you shall receive.
    023c5c0c34.png
    s-l1600.jpg
    s-l1600.jpg
     
    JCooper, mdogs, Nashrakh and 2 others like this.
  13. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
  14. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Dang that's nice. Id pay that even with low frets.
     
  15. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Pretty bass! Put a nice set of flats on it and future fret wear will be essentially zero.
     
  16. It's already got flats on it, but I'm going to throw on some DR Hi Beams. Flats don't really work that well with metal, unfortunately.
     
  17. I've noodled a little bit on it already without plugging it in, and while I can't speak for intonation yet, the seller wasn't completely wrong about the playability. It really does play super smooth, no rattle, no buzz, action really is nice and low. The flatness is noticeable only insofar as I can feel the wood beneath my fingers more. Smooth ebony. Will do some testing when I get it hooked up to see if its tuning is acceptable. I'm betting yes, so far.
     
    JCooper likes this.
  18. Low frets aren't neccesarily a bad thing. When I built my cocobolo bass in 1988, I installed Dunlop jumbo frets, and felt they were much too high, so I leveled and leveled until they were about half the original height. Crowned and polished them, and have been playing the bass to this day. Let's see, about 29 years?
     
  19. Tested tuning. Some minor deviations maybe an eighth of a step one way or the other at most on a few frets. Otherwise very close to spot on. I'd be hard pressed to notice it.
     
  20. Primary

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