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Old 10-14-2012, 04:44 PM   #1
accadacca97
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Can you file down frets to make a bass fretless?

I was thinking of taking up bass and my dad suggested trying fretless, but I can't find any. Is it possible to file down the frets on a regular bass to make it fretless? And will there be a difference?
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:47 PM   #2
Robbgnarly
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Squier makes a fretless Jazz bass in 4 or 5 strings.

If you wanted to make a bass fret-less, you would physicaly remove the frets not file them down. Then fill the spaces with wood filler (if you want)
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Old 10-14-2012, 05:34 PM   #3
Tostitos
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Quote:
Originally Posted by accadacca97
I was thinking of taking up bass and my dad suggested trying fretless, but I can't find any. Is it possible to file down the frets on a regular bass to make it fretless? And will there be a difference?

Wood filler or veneers. If you want to defret a bass, there are tutorials online that can guide you through the process. You remove the frets and fill the spaces with either a wood filler or (preferably) thin veneers of wood which you glue in and then sand down to the proper radius. If you want to preserve your fretboard you would want to coat it afterwards with some form of hard polyurethane finish or epoxy. There are fretless basses at every price point, so if you're not comfortable defretting an existing bass you could easily order an inexpensive fretless.

And yes, there will be a difference, if there wasn't a difference there wouldn't be both fretted and fretless basses. Fretless basses sound different first and foremost. Playability-wise, you have to be much more precise. In order to correctly "fret" a note you have to press down on the exact fret-line or where that fret-line would be in the case of a blank fretless board. Any little shift of your finger to the left or right and your intonation will be off.

It takes a lot of practice to develop good intonation on a fretless, and when you add that on top of learning the instrument from the ground up it could be very frustrating for a beginner. So while there's nothing wrong with learning on a fretless, you might have a better time at least starting out with a fretted bass.
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Old 10-14-2012, 05:43 PM   #4
CJ Noble
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well you could but I think you should probably try pulling them out instead. I've pulled them out before and it goes a hundred times faster and the end result is a hundred times better
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