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comment by b_b
b_b  ·  564 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 8, 2021

Fun weekend project. I've had this bass since I graduated high school in 2000, and I recently bought a vintage Modulus to replace it. So I decided to turn it fretless. My local luthier wanted $400, and I thought that was too expensive. I couldn't buy an off-the-shelf P-Bass fretless neck, because this Japanese made "Lyte" model was discontinued in the early 2000s and the neck pocket is 1/8" narrower than a standard P-Bass (and anyway they cost ~$250 plus you still need to do a set-up). So I decided to do it myself.

Here's the before:

Took the neck off, ripped the frets out, and gave it a rough sand:

Glued some thin strips of maple veneer into the fret slots (I chose maple so the lines would really pop against the rosewood):

Trimmed and sanded the fretboard with 150 up to 2500 grit:

Finished it with linseed oil:

And then bolted it back on with a new set of flatwound strings, no set-up required:

Plays beautifully, and only cost me about $80 ($50 in supplies plus $30 for a heat gun and a pair of flush cut pliers).

steve  ·  524 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I missed this pubski.... and I MISSED this post. Well done sir! This is phenomenal.

b_b  ·  524 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thanks! Here's a preview of my latest project :)

zebra2  ·  564 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That’s pretty awesome. I frequently considered de-fretting or refinishing the neck on a fretless, but I never took the plunge. I did however put together a fretless j from parts, which looks and sounds great, but I’ve always have a hard time really connect with it. Weird right? Recently I’ve kinda realized it sits in a mix better than pretty much all my others when recording, so it’s getting some more love recently.

goobster  ·  564 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Lovely project. Every bass player should de-fret a P/J-bass clone one day... it's like a rite of passage.

Fretless basses are great. YOUR fretless bass is AMAZING to play, because you know the before and after, and no other bass will ever give you that experience.

Congratulations on a job well done, and leveling up!

b_b  ·  564 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It's been a long time since I've played a fretless consistently. Now I'm gonna have to put some effort into relearning to play with decent intonation. Fretlesses can sound really great, but they can sound really bad too!