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Adding lines to an unlined fretless?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Bryan R. Tyler, Apr 8, 2003.


  1. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    I was wondering if anyone has, or has heard of, adding permanent lines to an unlined fretless. I've found that I like lines better, but I've recently purchased an unlined fretless (it was a great deal) and would like some lines on there. Also, any idea what the cost of this would be? Similiar to a refret price perhaps?
     
  2. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I don't know about adding lines, but on mine I added side dots at every fret position (as opposed to just the 3rd, 5th, etc. that came on it), using stencils and paint (of a slightly different color than the white dots already there so I can tell where I am). It works great, and was real easy to do. And if I ever want to remove them it shouldn't be too hard. The neck has a tung oil finish, so I will just have to sand the dots off, and maybe add a coat of tung oil.
     
  3. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Ya know, there's a fretless Warwick Thumb at a local store that had the same thing done to it, and it was IMPOSSIBLE TO PLAY! :D Since there were no inlays on the top of the fretboard, I had to count the side dots instead of looking and knowing from the standard 357etc. markers. All the more power to you if it helps, though :)
     
  4. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    I don't see why this couldn't be done readily. Whatever templates a luthier uses to position the fret slots to do a fretted FB, those same templates can be used to locate and cut the slots where line markers can be put. Once cut, the slots can then be filled with thin plastic or wood strips, or some kind of filler, or whatever. As for cost, I dunno. I imagine it would cost a bit more than a refret.
     
  5. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    moved to the luthier's corner at the request of bryan.
     
  6. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Many of the slotting jigs people use depend on either the front or the back (or both) of the workpiece to be flat. My guess is that it would have to be done by hand, but it could be done. At least a few hours of chargeable time, minimal materials cost.
     
  7. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Couldn't you just paint the lines on, then coat the board in something to keep it smooth?

    Hell, I penciled in lines on an upright once(not all frets, just the 5th and octave) they wore off in the middle after some time, where I just did it again.:p
     
  8. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    I suppose that's an option, but I'd prefer to have it professionally done (not to mention I don't trust that I'd put them in the exact right spot, which would negate their purpose).
     
  9. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    I think we've had that discussion before.

    It can be done. By hand just as Matt suggest's it.
    A template can be used to locate the slots on the fingerboard axis but the you'll have to use a flexible square (to match board radius) and a hand saw to carefully cut the slots...

    Another siggestion would be to use white dots for every fret, either on the fingerboard side and/or top

    Peace, JP
     
  10. I'm going to use either .020" X .125" styrene strips or .025" X .25" brass strips that I bought at the hobby shop. Styrene was a pack of 10 strips 10" long each for $1.75. Brass strips 12" long $0.55 each.