Converting fretted to fretless

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by EvoMan, Dec 15, 2002.

  1. I am wondering if anyone can give me info on coverting a fretted bass to a fretless. I've done this before, but what I am really interested in is finding about ways to finish the newly de-fretted neck. I would love to use something very hard like the diamondkote finish on Pedulla necks. I contacted them and they charge $450 to do the work for you, which is probably more than I can justify given the value of the instrument. Does anyone know of a good product that one can use to create such a slick finish on a fretboard? Thanks.
  2. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    What's the fretboard made of, EvoMan? If it's a nice hard board wood like ebony or rosewood, think twice before you go with the expensive stuff. A good rubbed oil finish will be plenty hard enough and you can get it as smooth as you want. Costs you elbow grease, mostly.

    I've done a few de-frets. I've never heated the frets before removing, but I'm told that's wise. The heat will definitely loosen up any glue in there. Wiggle the frets out really carefully with a flush end-nipper type tool - you may have to work a thin knife under there first. If you rip the frets out too brutally the tangs will splinter the board up as they come out.

    My favorite filler is wood. Cut some thin veneer-y stuff in a contrasting colour. Fit them into the slots well (knife, sandpaper, whatever.) Glue them in there oversize -- looks cool to see the whole board done up like that. Then sand it down, being careful not to f**k up the radius of the fingerboard.

    Piece of cake.
  3. Try a search over in the setup forum.

    I defretted once. Here are some tips:

    -Heat up the frets with a soldering iron
    -Use some tonail clipers to get the frets out
    -Go SLOWLY
    -Mask the board with some masking tape, so that way, when you manage to take out a hunk of wood along with the fret (it'll happen, no matter what) the tape will save the position that it was in, so all you have to do is superglue it back on.
    -Go SLOWLY
    -When sanding, try to keep that radius in mind. (though I STILL don't know the point of the radius, anyone wanna tell me?)
    -Some stuff to fill the slots:
    -Wood Filler
    -Superglue mixed with the wood dust from sanding
    -Wood veneer.
    -Polyester resin. This is what I used, but i wouldn't recomend it, it didn't turn out well. I only used it because it was free (I had a fiberglass and Plastics class).
    -You may not need to coat the fingerboard, I didn't, and I have noticed little wear, and I even use roundwounds! Granted it isn't my main bass...

    Anyway, do a search in the setup forum for more in depth information.