What should I do with this bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ErebusBass, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. ErebusBass


    Feb 20, 2008
    Madison, WI
    Yesterday I resurrected an old friend. About five years ago, I purchased my first five string. It was a Samick Silvertone passive P/J. Long story short, it was a POS. The neck developed the worst back bow I've ever seen, so I replaced it and forgot about it. I saw it sitting in my basement, so unloved it didn't even have strings. I picked her up for the first time in years, and decided to give the truss rod a little whirl and see if anything happened.

    Before I messed with the truss rod the neck was so back-bowed that the strings rested on the fingerboard, over the entire length of it, and wouldn't vibrate at all. I loosened the truss rod all the way, strung her up, tuned it, and let it sit. I go back an hour later and it was once again playable, I was shocked.

    Now here's the dilemma: I have no use for this bass. It doesn't sound good, doesn't play well... It's not worth anything, I believe I paid $130 NEW in 2003. I'm thinking about defretting it. Again, I have no use whatsoever for this bass, I have two other five strings that sound much better, and I just bought an SX (should be here tuesday) so if I want a passive tone I'll have that. If I destroy the bass, no big deal. Until yesterday I thought it was trashed, I just could never bring myself to throw a bass in the trash.

    So should I do it? Should I pop out them frets? I'm not expecting it to sound good, but I've been GASing for a fretless for a while, and I figure this might be a good way to see if I like it without spending any real money. Opinions?
  2. TimmyP


    Nov 4, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    If it does not sound good enough to play as a fretted bass, I don't think you'll like it any better as a fretless. Sell it to a beginner, or trade it to a shop for a tuner, strings, cables, etc.
  3. fullcircle

    fullcircle Live your dreams

    Jan 24, 2004
    You can de-fret it and swap out the pickups- might be good for practicing/learning fretless.
    Alternately,if you can find a young kid who wants to learn and can't afford a bass, give it away or sell it cheap. I did that once and have no regrets.

    I have a cheap bass that I use as a travel bass. If I'm on a road trip and don't want to bring a nice bass (camping,etc.) but still want to practice, I throw it (in a gig bag) in the car.
  4. ibanezcollector

    ibanezcollector Yoyo's Hurt When You Crank It Into Your Face

    Feb 18, 2007
    Cleveland Ohio
    give it to a school or a local music instructor.

    They can always use them for younger students.
  5. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    Big +1, or find a deserving kid who can use it.
  6. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    Attack it with an axe and post pictures!
  7. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    part it out and sell the parts ... I will buy the bridge.

    Or smash it on stage.
  8. 1954bassman


    Jun 7, 2004
    Hickory, NC
    Find a beginner or a four string player, and sell it to them for like $100.
  9. Knixx


    Nov 10, 2007
  10. KeithPas


    May 16, 2000
    How about using it as a modding bass; get another neck ,amybe some pickups and see if that makes it more enjoyable to play.
  11. ErebusBass


    Feb 20, 2008
    Madison, WI
    I'd definitely had the thought of giving it away, but I've pretty much decided to defret it. I don't expect it to sound good but the way I'm looking at it I get a free fretless.

    Has anyone defretted a bass before? Any tips?
  12. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    There's a pretty long thread here on defretting a bass. If you hate the bass though you're wasting your time and energy. You will hate it even more once it's fretless. The fact that it may have neck issues makes it even riskier.

    I'd say give it away. You'll gain way more from doing that than anything else you can do with the bass. I guarantee it.
  13. BobKos


    Apr 13, 2007
    The frets themselves add strength to the neck. When you remove them, the neck will react differently than when it was equipped with frets. Whether that's good or bad remains to be seen. I read somewhere that there are tricks to fixing necks by strategically removing frets and pounding wider frets into the slots. I guess my point is that you neck is weird with frets. It will probably go bezerk when you defret it.

    Also - you'll need to cut the nut slots deeper to compensate for the now missing frets.
  14. ErebusBass


    Feb 20, 2008
    Madison, WI
    To those of you who have given your instruments away:
    How do you determine who to give them to? And when you say give it to a school, what kind of a school? Like a music school? Any school? I'm not trying to donate my bass to the middle school down the street, because I don't think it will be taken care of. I really like the idea of giving it to a new player who would actually use it and possibly even love it like I did five years ago, but I don't know one. I can't even really think of how to go about finding one.

    On the other hand, I also like the idea of a fretless. However, I'm not sure if I'd like playing a fretless (or even be able to), which is how the idea of defretting this bass came up in the first place. I figure a defret would both be a cool project, and it also might might give this bass a quality that none of my other have, as I currently have no use for it.

    Could somebody explain a little bit more to me about the neck thing? Would a truss rod adjustment compensate for the lack of frets? The slots would of course be filled in. Also, I've never done any nut work. How do I get it off, does it just pop off? What should I use to file out the slot?
  15. 1954bassman


    Jun 7, 2004
    Hickory, NC
    I have had two basses defretted my a professional. They came out ok. Sold both of them. But I still rcommend selling your clunker and use the $100 to but a pawnshop fretless.
  16. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    Where'd you find this out...:confused:
  17. Liist

    Liist Inactive

    Mar 9, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Smash it
  18. BobKos


    Apr 13, 2007
    I don't remember where I saw this. I bought a '73 Mustang that somebody defretted. I was going to buy the tools and parts to refret it myself. I did a bunch of online research to see what was involved. One of the sites I came across was pretty detailed in how to refret an instrument. That's where I remember the author discussing the fret width and its supporting role on the fingerboard. I guess some necks don't have truss rods so if there is a problem with the neck that's how techs deal with it. In the end I decided that it would be better all around to just have a skilled tech refret the Mustang for me. Haven't done it yet, but soon....
  19. WRBass


    Dec 10, 2006
    Houston, Tx.
    If the bass used to have a back bow, but now it's OK, I don't think that defretting it will make it go "bezerk".

    If you think that someday you will want a fretless bass, I think its a good idea to go ahaed and defret this one yourself. I did it to one of my cheap basses to see if I could even play a fretless. It's a lot harder to play than I thought. Now I have one I can practice on before I spend a lot of money on a good one.

    There are plenty of threads here that can teach you how to defret a bass. It's not that hard and you can learn a few things along the way.
  20. dakpluto


    Oct 14, 2006
    Orlando, FL


    There is tons of schools out there that can't afford instruments for their students. We need to do what we can to make sure music education remains a part of education.