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  1. #1

    Making a Fretless.

    I have been playing maybe 8 to 10 years now. I am a guitarist and started playing bass out of need for a bass player. Anyway I use a Fender Okumeo how ever you spell it jazz bass. My bass for what ever you call that wood AFRICAN MAHOGANY. It has a real cool wood grain different from the rest. Anyway I started playing fretless a couple years ago and loved it. It was an old SX P with SD pickup. Stupid I sold it and boy do I regret it. I just the other day purchase a cheap Yamaha 5 string TRBX 305, to use in church why I don't know men need new toys I guess. Anyway I was thinking if the Yamaha works out I could make my Fender a Fretless. So would you make take the frets out of the old neck and I know what is involved, I had a friend who has done and is playing it. He did it to an old Fender Squire J bass sounds great. Myself I would like to have the lines it helps so laugh if you want, or would you buy a neck. A Fender MIM neck $199.00, SX neck with Fender like head stock $55.00 Mighty Mite $110.00 know lines. Are would you just pull the frets and fill the holes. I would show you a picture but my labtop quit and I am using my wife's Imac and I don't know how and I hate this thing. It will only let me use certain pictures and my bass is not one of them.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Portland, Maine US
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    582
    There's pretty much three approaches to getting there:
    a) Buy a fretless neck
    b) Yank the frets, insert wood veneers, plane & prep
    c) Grind the frets down but leave the tangs then prep
    Each method offers its advantages and disadvantages.

    If you're not used to planing and/or prepping bass guitar necks you're probably best off buying a fretless neck and bolting it on. That way if you don't take to the fretless as much as you anticipate ("GAS") you are four screws away from getting back the bass you liked at the start.
    "Don't worry about that. Everybody talks about finding your voice. Do your homework and your voice will find you." - Branford Marsalis

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
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    cali
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    get yourself a fretless w lines neck...squier has a bass out with an ebanol neck(synthetic ebony)..that you sometimes see on ebay...

    its a big job to defret a bass cleanly..without chips, bumps and imperfections.. for a novice anyway

    also you'll have a rosewood neck..which is relatively a soft wood for a fretless...and will require major upkeeping..(jaco notoriously covered his with marine epoxy)

    okoume is too nice a bass to experiment on..get a lined neck and store the original...

    cheers
    Last edited by neatomic; 09-13-2016 at 06:31 PM.

  5. #4
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    cali
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    ps- here's example of squier ebanol neck on sale @ ebay

    2016 Fender Squier Vintage Modified Fretless Jazz J Bass Neck Tuners Ebonal | eBay

    cheers

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    USA
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    I like a fretless neck that has no lines--i.e., one that has never had frets. I think you get used to playing fretless in very short order. Before you know it, you aren't even looking at the instrument when you play. (I find that I actually play better when I close my eyes and just listen to the band.)

    The instrument looks really clean, and it sounds GREAT when you slide up or down the neck. (With a P-bass you get a deep, satisfying growl.)

    Here is my custom-made P-bass, made by John Ford Fuquay. The body has a maple cap. The neck, carved by Fuquay, is all maple. The electronics are Seymour Duncan.
    Making a Fretless.-tea-room-10-8-16-jpgMaking a Fretless.-bassfretlessfrontcrop-jpg

  7. #6
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    cali
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    maple fretless! cool..is it heavily coated..flats?

    cheers

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    USA
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    It's not heavily coated. I use LaBella tape wound flats on it. They last and last and last...

    Here's a picture that more clearly shows the strings.Making a Fretless.-tea-room-3-10-8-16-jpg

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Mystic CT
    Posts
    1,670
    I have several fretless basses, some with lines and some without. I find that a hollow-body, like a Hofner Club bass, makes a more "upright" sound when made fretless; the one I played for years had a sound between Ron Carter's and Paul McCartney's, just beautiful.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    South Jersey, USA
    Posts
    239
    If the OP is still wondering, definitely get the fretless neck and don't pull the frets out of a fretted neck. If you like it you can sell your fretted neck and recoup some of the money as well.

    As for the Squier ebanol necks, the fretboard is nice but the necks are a crap shoot. I've got an SX rosewood neck on mine, because the original ebanol boarded neck bent like a pretzel. And while rosewood is softer than ebony, you would have to play hours a day for years with round wounds to destroy a rosewood board, so don't worry about that either. Rosewood makes a nice fretless board without epoxy.

    Lastly, don't worry about lines - they don't bother Mark Egan or Gary Willis so don't let them bother you.

    My girls (a lined Clement and an unlined STR)


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