OK. . .back to the regular programming. . . I found an SX P-bass neck on the classified section of the talkbass.com forum. The idea was to buy one of the remaining SX fretless p-basses and build a newbie-friendly fretted P-bass without violating my self-imposed embargo of the new Ursa series. I do not like the new look of the Ursa series basses that Kurt at Rondomusic.com is now selling and have stopped buying SX basses until they change back to their more traditional looking headstock shape.
Upon close inspection of
the neck, I found that one of the frets had been
hammered in WAY too hard and had actually indented the wood and cracked
the finish. As a result, the fret sits very low in relation to the
other ones, and there was no good way to level that much material off of
the entire fretboard.
I PM'd the seller about the problem and he very kindly gave me a full
and complete refund of the purchase price which was a very generous
resolution. With the money from the refund, I purchased a few tools. . .
a fret cutter (StewMac) and a fret puller (ebay). . .and I also
purchased 2ft. of the biggest fret wire they had. The hope was if I
replaced the low fret with a super jumbo one. . .even with the
indentation on the fretboard, the fret might be level with the
Having ordered tools, I ordered one of the black SX fretless p-basses for $109.99 + $21.50 shipping and #4 is officially on!
The fret puller worked awesome and made short work of pulling the fret.
I was afraid with the cracking on the finish that it would chip out and
cause me grief.
I then used the stewmac fret cutter tool to bend my fret. I was REALLY
hoping I would not need a fret bender for one fret, and I think I was
able to do a passable job of bending. . . a bit wavy gravy, but
functional. If I was doing a whole bass or 2 a fret bender would be
appropriate I think.
I used the fret cutters to undercut the tang because this bass has
filler on the edges. I guess it's just the way SX rolls. I then filed
the remaining tang off.
Then, it was hammer time
After the fret went in, I was disappointed to find out that it was not
tall enough to level out with the other frets. . . but certainly it was
better. . . close even. So, I pulled the fret out again, put crazy glue
in the seam, put the fret back in, and then squirted some crazy glue
under the fret. I then tried as best I could to set the fret in a hair
higher than the surrounding frets. (NOTE: someone on forum suggested
squirting super glue under the fret. . . I may be entirely butchering
this technique by gluing directly into the channel and then around the
gap area, and it could very well destroy the neck or cause serious
problems upon a refret attempt, since the fret slots on this bass were
filled with putty and then finished on the edges, I didn't have direct
access under the fret for applying glue.)
Sorry. I didn't get any pictures of the process because it involved
glue gunk all over my hands and a certain amount of stress. The fret
sits a little gapped off the fretboard, but not terrible I think. I'm
hoping the glue holds and I'll be able to dress and level it out ok.
So, for now. . .
After the glue dries, I file the excess off of the replaced fret.
switching over to a finer fret file as I get closer to the edge
And this is the ugly side of the repair. There's a small gap under the
fret (as expected to get the fret to the proper height) so I squirted
some more crazy glue under it and rounded the edges a bit more than
normal so that it wouldn't be "grabby".