Well, I finally tired of the bunching and straggly ends...but didn't quite have the courage to do the BIG, big chop...
...so I chopped the top!
I separated a section of hair from my front hairline to just beyond the crown of my head. I then cut off the permed ends. On the locs that had significant bunching, I cut to the end of the bunching or through the middle of the bunched ends.
Then I tried a braid-out.
It wasn't too difficult to braid, since each loc is at least 6 inches or more, but it was hard to get the blunt ends around a bendable curler rod.
It turned out OK. Not too noticeably different, except that the top is a little fuller and less curly.
I think I will be experimenting with a 'cornrow wet to dry set' on top or perhaps a 'Nubian knot set' next time.