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Advice on converting a 6 string to fretless


RhythmWizard

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Hi, I'm from Barcelona and to find here a fretless bass in a shop is very difficult, so imagine to find a 6 string fretless.

 

My idea is to buy a 6 string (used or new, depending on prices), and take it to a luthier for the conversion.

 

My first option is the Yamaha RBX6JM (John Myung signature).

 

Is it a good bass to convert to fretless? I have played it in a shop and sounds great, but it's not fretless, so I can't know how the sound will be.

 

My next options are Ibanez basses, both SR and BTB series (not the expensive ones).

 

Thank you in advance for the help.

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Conversion is one way to go. Others will have to comment about how easy and effective it would be to do that. I also don't know about what the cost would be like, but it would be easy enough for you to find out yourself.

 

Is it possible for you to order a 6-string fretless from a shop there, even if they do not have them in stock? Most manufacturers make fretless versions of their fretted models. This would be another option besides conversion.

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Yes, I can order a 6 string. But I don't like the idea of buying something I can't try, or at least look at. In fact I was looking Carvin basses, but the costs of the shipping are very high (I'm from Spain, I forget to say :P )

 

In fact, here in Barcelona is the shop of Jerzy Drozd Basses (www.jerzydrozdbasses.com), an incredible Luthier. My idea is to buy a "cheap" instrument and start saving money for a real custom 6 string (he's cheaper 6 string costs about 2.000 euros).

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I have heard wonderful things about Drozd basses -- a noble goal indeed to save your ducats for one of his basses.

 

I have a Carvin fretted 4 that I have been very happy with. Greenboy often extols the virtues of his Carvin fretless 5 on this board (especially now that he has that DiMarzio Ultra Jazz bridge pickup and Bill Lawrence neck pickup!). I did not realize that the international shipping charges would be so uncomfortably high.

 

However, I understand your hesitation about getting a bass you haven't been able to try. If you have a local shop order one, are you committed to purchasing it? Do they have a "return policy" that allows you to bring it back within a certain amount of time if you're not pleased with it?

 

It sounds like your situation may really point you towards a conversion. Best of luck finding the right path! :)

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Well, there is the issue of not trying a bass before you try it, but on the other hand you don't really know how your bass will sound after you defret it. And it will sound different. Very different.

 

I bought a Carvin six string on e-bay for $400 dollars.

 

Or just hold on and get that Jerzy Drozd bass in a year or two. Those are some beautiful basses.

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yanking the frets out of a bass is no big deal. you just have to make sure you take it to a luthier you trust. and this is the ultimate D.I.Y. proponent teling you this.

 

as for cost, in new york, that job can cost $400-$500. if jerzy drodz is charging 2000 euro (about $1800 US?) i would assume he's relatively inexpensive for repair/alteration. give him a call and see if he'll do the work.

Eeeeeehhhhhhhhh.
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Thanks for all your info. I'm still very confused :confused: but you're right when you say I don't know how the bass will sound after defretting.

 

I'm now thinking that a 5 string is a better possibility, because there is the Cort B5FL, wich is a fretless I have played and sounds good, and is easier to find a second hand 5 strings with good quality and price.

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Eh, you could find something much better than Cort. Those aren't all that great, and from the fretless I played, I wasn't all that impressed. Plus the fingerboard felt like plastic (and looked like it too). I'd go for something a little better than Cort. Ibanez makes some pretty good fretlesses, and so does Carvin, I hear.
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I wouldn't be so quick to lump on Cort based on a limited sampling. I've seen some that are great basses for the price. I really like Carvins and have a pretty good Ibanez SR506 too, but I try to keep my mind and my eyes open.
.
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Originally posted by patrick_dont_fret:

Plus the fingerboard felt like plastic (and looked like it too).

it probably was. phenolic is a pretty common (and inexpensive) replacement for ebony. it's used on a lot more instruments than you would think.
Eeeeeehhhhhhhhh.
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Then why the outrageous price for a piece of plastic? Doesn't make much sense to me. I've played a few of them, actually, only one of them being fretless, as this is a thread on defretting/fretlesses, so that was the one I mentioned. I merely disliked the sound of all the ones that I played. The body shape sucks, too. And I wasn't pounding on Ibanez and Carvin, I've never even played a Carvin (that I know of). In fact, I was saying that I've heard they are good, and not only from here. Don't take everything I say so seriously, man. I'm gonna let him do what he wants, trust me.
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Hello, Jimmy.

 

It's not easier to sell your Patitucci and buy a beautiful custom fretless? I think this is a great instrument to try something like this. What will you do if it goes wrong?

 

Before doing it visit Jerzy Drozd's Basses, he's a great guy and will show you his great basses, and as he do repairs he can tell you about defretting your bass.

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Wiz... are you sure you really want a fretless six string? The extended range makes for great chording in the upper register while playing your bottom patterns, but without the frets the intonation becomes critical. The higher the frequency, the more noticable any pitch deviation becomes. Remember, without frets, where your fingers are is what the pitch is. In the upper register, a 2-3 mm varience in finger placement can cause a 1/4 tone shift in pitch, which can sound, umm... ugly? I'm not doubting your ability to master a fretless 6, but you have to decide if this is what you realy want. I think a 5'r would be a better choice. But thats just my opinion. Good luck whatever your decision. :cool:
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Thanks for yout post, Raven, In fact, one of the most important reasons to get my 6 string fretless is work in my intonation. And as you point in your message, it's very critical to intonate in that upper register, but this is something I want, so I will continue with my original idea.

 

I have found a RBX6JM with a good price, and I have asked Jerzy Drozd Basses about converting it (they said it was a good idea, as there are no six string fretless in that price range). The cost of converting the bass to fretless will be about 180$, I think it's a good price.

 

So I will go for it. When I have the bass converted, I'll try to post some audio samples in a webpage, to everybody listen to it.

 

Thanks to all for your help, it's a good thing to have places like this were you can ask and you know people will help you.

 

:thu:

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Hey Rhythm -

 

Thanks for the info. $180 does indeed sound reasonable. As far as converting my Patitucci to fretless, I was thinking about doing it a few times, not just to see what it´s like, but also because the frets on there now have quite a few dead spots. So I figure I´ll give it a go and if I don´t like it I´ll get it refretted.

 

Anyway, thanks again for the info.

 

Jimmy

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As far as minimizing dead spots, I've posted here before that often changing a string gauge (or brand, because of differing tensions) on a string or few, can often move and lessen the dead spots.

 

Concerning intonation, it's a lot harder to get accurate intonation chording way up the neck than it is to have another string tuned a fourth up that allows one to play the same chorded (or single notes) five frets lower. Not that this alone should make a fretless Six justifiable; at least a few violin players play very short strings and seem to be able to make in-tune music way up the neck ; }

 

RhythmWizard, have fun exploring the fretless! : }

.
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1) Get a Carvin FretlEss BoLT bass kits and build it.

2) Get a 2nd neck for your existing bass

3) Look into one of the older Peavey basses and knock the frets out yourself. Good cheap basses.

4) Get an Octaver and run flat wounds on your existing bass, giving you some of the sound of a fretless.

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