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Easiest functional neck finish

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by mid_life_crisis, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. mid_life_crisis


    Jul 8, 2010
    I'm putting this under hardware because no self-respecting luthier would do this to a bass.
    I have a pawn shop special Epiphone Embassy Special IV.
    I've finally decided what I'm going to do to it and the first step is defretting. My problem is that I have no idea what the original coating is, so I'm not sure what to refinish it with.
    Another problem is that I don't have a proper shop at this time, so I need to take over a small section of one of the rooms in the house, which means this has to be quick and easy.
    The good news is that I intend to use flatwounds, which will help with the wear issue, if I have read other posts correctly.
    So I need a reasonably durable, easy to apply, goes over anything coating, fully aware of the fact that it won't look as nice as a more careful approach and will need to be redone sooner as well.
    What are my best options?
  2. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    If you're going to use flats why not just skip the neck finish and leave it as is. I did that to a Frankenbass with an old Stew-Mac neck on it when the frets wore out. I just removed the frets, installed flats and I've been playing it for over a year with no real wear on the fingerboard at all.

    This assumes you don't care about the ugliness of the open fret slots, of course. :smug:
  3. mid_life_crisis


    Jul 8, 2010
    Don't you need to fill them with something? I'd be concerned about pressing into the groove that is left behind messing up the sound. I suppose I could carefully sand most of the existing finish off and lose most of the grooves in the polish. I actually considered carefully grinding the frets flush with the existing finish and putting a thin coat of epoxy over the whole thing, but the thought of doing all those frets made my head spin.
  4. I've been looking into turning my fretted into a fretless myself, and I've read a lot of people recommending others to fill the fret slots. The two concerns are that the frets help with the tension in the neck, and that by removing them the strings could pull the neck in a bit and give the neck a larger than maybe desired bow. Another thing I've read is that if you leave the fret slots empty it will affect your sustain. And personally, I don't know how well it would sound if you slid across that gap? I don't know. These are just things I've read and thought I'd relay the message.

    I know Jaco just filled his gaps with wood filler and then put some epoxy over. I saw a video on youtube where a guy glued in thin pieces from a sheet of hard maple veneer into the slots.
  5. Here's a link you may find useful. There's another 9 parts to this conversion.

  6. mid_life_crisis


    Jul 8, 2010
    Wow. That was informative. Thank you.

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