Who here has defretted a maple fretboard?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by fourstringbliss, Dec 5, 2012.


  1. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Puyallup, WA
    Anybody here defret a bass with a maple fretboard? What did you use for a fingerboard coating? Did you sand of all of the poly/lacquer or did you just apply a finish on top of it?

    I'm asking because I'm defretting a bass with a maple fretboard. I want to do a super glue fretboard finish but I'd rather not sand all the poly off. Do you think the superglue would bond sufficiently with scuffed poly to make a strong enough bond to withstand fretless playing?
  2. JimB52

    JimB52 User Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    Location:
    East Coast
    I defretted mine in the '70s. (1970 Telecaster) I sanded off all the poly. Used Ultraspar Marine Varnish to coat the fingerboard. It has held up pretty well, although the bass has been semi-retired for years.
  3. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Puyallup, WA
    Hmm. I'd rather not sand all the poly off, but I'm willing if that's what I have to do. I have a radiused sanding block coming in the mail today which should make the sanding part easier.
  4. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    You can cut the poly on either side with a razor, then heat the fret a bit and pull up and hope for the best, but I'd take it to a pro. Also keep in mind the replacement frets will need to it in the gaps left by the old frets if you're not going to sand down the fingerboard; wider frets will sit off of the fingerboard otherwise. I'd sand it smooth and throw a lacquer over it, then clean off the frets when dressing. I've done it before, but not without sanding the fingerboard.
  5. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Puyallup, WA
    I'm not actually refretting it but making it a fretless. The frets are actually coming out pretty easily and I'll be filling the fret slots with styrene plastic strips. I want to have a finish on the resulting fingerboard - I'm just trying to find out if I need to remove the poly that is there or can I finish over it.
  6. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2001
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    I did and ruined it. Complete idiot I was. Don't bother

    Rob
  7. Gorn Captain

    Gorn Captain Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Location:
    Queens NY
    From everything I've seen and read, whether its maple or rosewood or whatever, there's easy ways to defret, and right ways to defret. It seems like too big a risk if you care at all about a bass, if you're not a pro.
  8. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Puyallup, WA
    I actually bought the tools I would need and feel pretty confident about it. It could be a real disaster if it was done with the wrong stuff. It should be pretty easy with what I've got. I just need to know whether I need to sand off the poly or if I could super glue over the poly.

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