rrrabuyvsvsveytfazersurdwarubawvev0% Interest for 24 Months! Learn more »
(800) 222-4700
  • Español: (800) 222-4701
Cart
June 2017 Giveaway

Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

After 15 years of great discussions, the Sweetwater Forums are now closed and preserved as a "read-only" resource. For discussions about current gear, check us out on Facebook, YouTube, inSync, and our Knowledge Base.

Fret life?

BassRocks

Hey everyone....I'm new here as well a newbie on the bass. Just wondering how long should the frets on a bass last before they have to be replaced? I noticed my 4th string frets are starting to wear down a little, getting that flat look. Of course this is my first bass guitar so I bought a cheaper brand until I learn more and then I'll look for a Fender Jazz bass etc.
Even so...how long will the top brand bass frets last?...and does this fret wear effect the sound and playing of the bass?
Thanks for any feedback.
February 1, 2007 @12:49pm
Ed Belknap

It depends on how often you play, what type of strings you use, what sort of a touch/technique you develop, etc. so it's hard to generalize. I've never had to completely re-fret any of my instruments; one of them that I've had for 25 years I did have to get the frets resurfaced, but there's still plenty of material on them & I expect I'll get another 20+ years out of them before I need all new frets.
February 6, 2007 @04:51pm
BassRocks

Thanks, Ed....Yeah, I have a pretty heavy touch when playing (do alot of slides up and down the neck) and I noticed the 3rd and 4th string frets starting to look shiney and possibly flat. Of course this is my first (cheap) bass guitar to learn on, I'll be upgrading to a much better bass later on.
Also....now the neck has started to warp just a little, bending in slightly, it has a truss rod in it but still bending is there...hasen't really effected the sound yet, I wonder what effects that will have on playing and sound of the instrument? I'll just have to get a better one later I'm sure.
Thanks
February 7, 2007 @12:37pm
BassRocks

FYI: I went out and bought a Ibanez SR300DX fretless bass yesterday, That's one smooooth ride. No frets to worry about. Really nice feeling bass neck on this instrument, and has a deep warm sound to it.
Cool.
Oh..also I adjusted the truss bar on the other bass and it seems to have helped alot...I'm still learning but that's part of any new undertaking, will also be replacing the cheap strings with new flatwound strings like the ones on my Ibanez...very smooth strings...I can practice for hours now.
Cheers!
February 11, 2007 @05:00pm
bendeg

Thanks, Ed....Yeah, I have a pretty heavy touch when playing (do alot of slides up and down the neck) and I noticed the 3rd and 4th string frets starting to look shiney and possibly flat. Of course this is my first (cheap) bass guitar to learn on, I'll be upgrading to a much better bass later on.
Also....now the neck has started to warp just a little, bending in slightly, it has a truss rod in it but still bending is there...hasen't really effected the sound yet, I wonder what effects that will have on playing and sound of the instrument? I'll just have to get a better one later I'm sure.
Thanks

BassRock,
I play rock most of the time.
After 15 years, my Fender Precision bass (bought new) frets looks like yours : flat. When I try unplugged, my ear sticked on the body, it seems that my 4th string, on every first frets, doesn't sound as good as before and is a little bit buzzy, like if something was vibrating in the neck. It doesn't sound the same on other string, though the frets are also wear on other strings...I don't like that much and I would like a luthier to look at it. But amplified, I can't hear the difference, it plays well.
For the neck action, here's a very simple way to check its curvature :
Make a straight line with the 4th string by pressing at the first and last fret. There's should be sometinhg like a credit card thikness between the bottom of the string and the top of the 8th fret (you might need someone else to depress one of the fret to check the thikness or use your forearm to depress the last fret). This is of course an average value (fender factory default value for bass : .015'' and .010'' for guitar).
Yours may be out of this value.
If it is too great (the strings are too far off the neck), turn your truss rod clockwise with an allen wrench (this will make your neck flat) by little steps of 1/4 turn and WAIT A FEW HOURS to check if it's better. Don't turn too much because it might start to buzz...
If the action is smaller (strings are too close to the neck), turn counterclockwise...Also, while turning counterclockwise, the truss rod must not be loose (it has to be slightly tight at all time), if not and the correct setting can't be reached, there might be a problem...
Then, check the gap between bottom of 4th string and top of 17th fret (don't depress any fret, let it free): ~3/32'' for bass (mine is greater...). Setup your bridge accordingly for each string.
And finally, check the gap between bottom of 4th string (and other as well) and the pickup : 1/8''. Use pickups screws to raise or lower them.
For those 2 last settings, I use 2 allen wrenches that have the right values. It's easier to check the gap.
You have to setup your bass in that order : neck action first (depends on string gauge you use, if you change your string gauge, tension change...), bridge, then pickups. If you think about it, it's logic...
Hope it helps.
April 8, 2010 @10:24am