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Would you refret, etc....or move on?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Runnerman, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    Hi guys. Looking for some opinions on this on. I have a 1999 Mexican Jazz 5 string which I picked up last year. I bought it to enter the 5 string world. Gigged it a couple times and it is a solid player, just a bit of hiss, very clean, black (not an exciting color). When I bought it I checked the fret wear and it was fairly heavy but not too bad really or so I thought at the time. I've since noticed a string catching on a fret and after a closer look and there is some actual grooving on a few frets so they are basically shot. So what would you do?

    I could have a refret done or I could turn it for what I have in it with no problems and put that money towards an Amercan 5er or something else. I have no sentimental attachment to the bass. Curious what you guys would do.
  2. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    Go for USA Fender 5er:)

  3. logans59


    Jul 1, 2012
    Kennesaw, GA
    If you were interested, you could defret it and try fretless. It could be a cool project
  4. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    The bass isn't that old. Recrowning could be enough and much cheaper than refretting.
  5. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    in an upgrade case only

    Stock pickup are really, well... "not enough":smug:IMHO to fulfill a proper fretless sound, on that very bass at least

    Maybe, a pair of Samarium Cobalt Noiseless ("a pair", for they already come in pair, for 5ers as well) would be great

  6. Tommy el Gato

    Tommy el Gato

    Jul 6, 2007
    I'll second this. When I bought my '95 Mexi-J on ebay, the frets were pretty corroded and wore through very quickly. A fret-level didn't help, so I decided to defret. Learning to play the damn thing was a lot harder than actually defretting the instrument, but I'm happy I did it because I'm now a much more unique player I might otherwise have been (bear in mind: I was a Jaco-wannabe at the time but I'm not now by an stretch of the imagination.)

    On the other hand, if this is an instrument that you would keep with you and continue to play happily sans fret issues, then I see no reason not to go ahead and refret it. Might be cheaper than a new instrument and the more you do to try to make this particular instrument work better for you, the more it's your own instrument and simply replacing the instrument becomes infeasible. That is the case for me, at least.
  7. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
  8. Chuck King

    Chuck King Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2006
    And, quoted once again for emphasis. It is highly likely that leveling and crowning of your existing frets will give the bass much more life, and as an added benefit, it could well end up playing better than it ever has! Particularly if the frets were already worn when you got it, you may well experience a night-and-day difference playing it with properly-dressed frets.
  9. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Another vote for fret leveling and recrowning. I can usually do this 3 or 4 times to a bass before it would need a refret..... don't jump the gun.
  10. Templar

    Templar SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Well if you can break even dumping it as you've said, then that's what I'd do in a heartbeat. Why open a can of worms?

    Check with a luthier about the extent of the fret wear, but if it's as deep as you've indicated, a refret may be in order. On an inexpensive bass that you don't even like that much to begin with? When you decide to move forward to another bass, the money spent on the refret will have been wasted.

    If you defret it, and then don't like it as a fretless, you're even deeper in the hole. And selling it in hacked condition won't be easy.
  11. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Yup, the frets are meant to be serviced many times before actually needing replacement.
  12. KrisHayes


    Sep 30, 2012
    At the price point, it's a tough call, I see both sides of the argument.

    If you're in a position to upgrade and want to, I'd sell the bass as needing fret work, price it accordingly, use that money towards an American.
  13. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    The Voice of Reason says:
    - Any Jazz bass, from a Squier Affinity to a Custom Shop, is going to sound like a Jazz.
    - Family differences like P vs J are much stronger than any subtle variations between the various trim levels.
    - If you upgrade to something really tasty, and then hand your un-repaired MIM Fender off to (insert name of famous bassist here), the famous guy will still play circles around you.

    The obvious, sensible thing to do, is dress re-crown the frets, and play it for at least another 5 years.

    That said, in over 40 years of playing bass, I've never once listened to the voice of reason.

    A really great instrument can be with you for the rest of your life (I'm currently at 16 years and counting with my #1 bass). Sometimes you pick one up, and it makes the hair stand up on your forearms. And it isn't always the most expensive instrument in the store.

    That's the relationship that I'm always looking for. Even a $3,000 or $4,000 dollar instrument doesn't amount to that much per year, if you amortize it over two or three decades...
  14. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    I'm going to post a pic of the wear and especially the grooves to get your opinions on if it is possible to recrown. I kind of have my doubts...but never had it done.

    Pic coming.....
  15. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
  16. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    ok...here they are. The second one shows the really bad grooves



    So can these be recrowned or are they too far gone?
  17. That's workable. I'd have the frets leveled and recrowned.
  18. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Plenty of fret left, level, crown, done.
  19. Templar

    Templar SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Doesn't look bad at all, at least in the pics.

    Check with a luthier for a price on dressing.
  20. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    No, that is not bad at all. Lots of workable material.