Defret a maple neck
I've read on other posts that it is difficult to get a good fretless bass from a maple neck.
I have a moderately beaten Squier VM 77 and want to convert it to a fretless. This is a practice bass only, not for recording or live gigs.
Any advice to defret it and get a decent sound even with the maple neck?
Run a razor carefully on each side of the fret, then heat the fret with a large soldering iron and slowly pull the fret. Try to keep chips from coming completely out if you can and glue them back in place. Fill the fret with your choice of veneer. I just use super glue myself for the veneer. Once trimmed and cut flush I run a line of glue over the whole width of the veneer, let it dry and then sand it down with a radiused sanding block. .
Best of luck
Your best bet is to buy a whole new neck. A maple neck would be difficult to defret because of the vinear. Plus, you can swap the neck out if you ever need to.
The problem with defretting a maple board is the chip out/tang marks from removing the frets can't be hidden like it can on a dark wood.
Unless you re cut the slots an 1/8" or so wide you will end up with lines that show there was a fret there before.
This is part one of a series on Youtube that I learned the process from. It doesn't go over Maple specifically but it shows the process very well.
This is a practice bass, I'm not concern about the look, but is it going to sound ok?
Thanks for the valuable informations.
My only advice is to go slowly. Have fun with it and please post pics and your experience of defretting the maple. I'd like to defret a Cabronita!
I think you can get good tones out of fretless maple. Tone is very personal though.
This thread has several links in it showing the tone of maple fretboards. The OP talks about covering the fretboard in epoxy.
So long as you do that and get the board nice and level in the process you should be golden.
Here's a step by step article with pics from Stewmac.
Here's the plan:
It's a little more complicated than I though, so I ask a friend who is a young luthier, to do it for a good price.
He never did a fretless conversion, but he's a good guitar and bass tech and guitar builder, so I'm confident.
I'll post pics and comments here.
Have a pro do it. So fretbaord isnt all mucked up by amatuer try. He'll also need to remove the finish on maple board and redo it. He'll also fill the fret slots in neck which must be done in order to avoid issues from not filling the slots.
I would not trust a luthier whose never done conversion before unless he does make necks including putting frets in it. Otherwise your asking a amatuer to do it even though hes done other guitar and bass tech work. You need experienced person to do the stuff if you want it done right.
You'll pay nearly the same or possibly more to have a pro luthier do a fretless conversion than you would to have a new fretless neck from one of the Fender clone shops.
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