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White Cloud

Fretting a fretless!

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Hi fellow basschatters: I'm seeking some guidance.

I've recently acquired a fantastic handmade Overwater Progress Elite 5 string fretless in a trade... 

It's a stunning bass as is -however, it would probably better serve my musical adventures with frets. So, the defretting process of a conventional fretted neck is very well documented... but conversely there is next to nothing out there on t'internet on adding frets to a factory fitted fretless!

Can it be done? 

As the Overwater is neck-thru I'm guessing a new fingerboard might be the only way... unless you know better???

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Is it lined?  If so, much easier to do than unlined.

 

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It should be no problem for a good luthier to add frets. Speak to the bass gallery in Camden, or get Overwater to do it for you.

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Does it have side dots? They’re likely to be on the fret, rather than in the centre. Why not just sell it?

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19 minutes ago, franzbassist said:

Is it lined?  If so, much easier to do than unlined.

 

Its unlined, a gorgeous piece of Ebony!

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, ambient said:

Does it have side dots? They’re likely to be on the fret, rather than in the centre. Why not just sell it?

It has side dots in the conventional fretted position (commissioned this way by the original customer against the advice of Chris May aparently).

Definitely want to keep this bass, have wanted one for decades... I'll keep it as a fretless if needs be.

Edited by White Cloud

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Just now, White Cloud said:

It has side dots in the conventional fretted position (commissioned this way by the original customer against the advice of Chris May aparently)

Definitely need frets then 😈

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3 minutes ago, White Cloud said:

It has side dots in the conventional fretted position (commissioned this way by the original customer against the advice of Chris May aparently).

Definitely want to keep this bass, have wanted one for decades... I'll keep it as a fretless if needs be.

That’s good then. I had a bass a while back that had originally been a fretless, it had been converted to fretted. They’d done a great job, but the dots were in the wrong place, which made it a little odd to play.

Overwater basses are great, I don’t blame you for wanting to keep it.

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31 minutes ago, ambient said:

Overwater basses are great, I don’t blame you for wanting to keep it.

I agree; I consider this bass to be in the 'Wal category'

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All fretboards start their life fretless, so yes, an straight forward job for a decent luthier, but don't do it yourself! I imagine the value of the bass will be maintained if not improved if the work is done by the original builder also

 

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It's not just cutting the lines and tapping the frets in is it? The whole thing gets set up for the correct action, the string to fingerboard hight, relief, it will need work done throughout. 

Perhaps look if there is someone with the opposite problem first? A straight swap would be easier, cheaper and maybe even reversible depending on agreeing partners.

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Go to Overwater and get it fretted. Won't cost you a fortune and if there's a fingerboard (who knows) issue Chris May will fix it when fretting.

And as you mentioned with the side dots at the fretted positions, it's a good idea to have frets on it.

That said What kind of idiot could have asked for these side dots positions ?!?

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14 minutes ago, Hellzero said:

That said What kind of idiot could have asked for these side dots positions ?!?

Some off the shelf fretlesses are built like that (I came across an Ashdown acoustic that was like this). Perhaps the poor soul who ordered it had learnt on one like that, or a defretted bass.

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Mr. May will certainly build you another neck. Please do not ruin that piece of ebony! Unlined!

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9 minutes ago, geoffbyrne said:

Another neck on a neck through might prove difficult......

:)  G.

 

Fingerboard was mentioned earlier.

Actually this reminds me of seeing a couple of eBay bargains crop up, but always fretted when I was wanting a fretless.. I spoke to Chris about the whys, wherefores and costs of getting a fretted bass converted to unlined fretless, the upshot being my purchase of a  custom fretless Progress III ..

PROCEED WITH CAUTION! 😀

Actually, I still have and love that bass, so no regrets whatsoever. Talk to Chris.

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1 hour ago, geoffbyrne said:

Another neck on a neck through might prove difficult......

:)  G.

 

Stand corrected. Another neckthrough, please.

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25 minutes ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Nice.

Those little white lines make a BIG difference!

Have you had a serious go at playing it?

Thanks! Yes, I can play it quite well however, I think it'll make a killer fretted👍

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Hellzero said:

That said What kind of idiot could have asked for these side dots positions ?!?

I wouldn't want to get into that 🙄... I received it from the very fellow who comissioned it.

He was a very nice chap indeed and I had the better end of the deal!

Edited by White Cloud

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