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Filling Fret holes/lines oh i dont know

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by unclejam, Jun 9, 2007.

  1. Hello. Im receiving a stripped dean bass from Mr. Flknifemaker.When he stripped it he also took the frets out. Im wondering if there is someone who i can contact to fill these holes were the frets used to be.Thanks in advance.
  2. Manual_Combat


    Jan 20, 2005
    wood putty works- make sure it's the kind that does harden to a sandable hardness and not some sort of wax. you can also probably use epoxy and wood dust.

    good luck ;)
  3. thanks i also forgot to mention i have no lutheiric experience
  4. lamia


    Jan 30, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    The first time I did this I had 2 fretted basses and wanted a fretless. Without having a bit of experience or knowledge I grabbed my pliers and started yanking the frets, went to the hardware store and got some durham rock hard puddy mix, filled in the lines, let it dry, sanded then epoxied the fretboard with some stuff my dad used to coat the hull of his boat. That was in 1981. I still own the bass and it is still the same and plays great (though it has been in the hands of one of my best friends for almost 10 years and giged constantly).

    I say go for it, it's easy to do and you have a great place to ask questions.
  5. what do i use to finish the neck?

    will a few layers of Johnson's paste wax work?
  6. lamia


    Jan 30, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    Most wood puttys, even the one I mentioned, don't react well to moisture in one way or another so if you go that route you will need to seal the fretboard. I like epoxy, it is tough and lasts. I've heard of people using polyurethane but I don't think it is tough enough to hold up over time. There is at least one thread here I saw recently showing how to apply epoxy to a neck.

    I've also done the job by cutting small pieces of hardwood to fit into the fret slots and gluing them in. This a much better way of doing a lined fretboard but takes alot more skill. and more tools.

    Hope this helps
  7. well the real question is, do you actually want a Fretless?

    if not, then fill the holes with frets... :bag:

  8. The stickies must be in a difficult place to see on the main forum page...

    The answers are in the forum stickies. Wood putty is one way, there are others, I prefer veneer. Read up on it and if you decided to do the job yourself, test on scrap before you work on the neck.
  9. Manual_Combat


    Jan 20, 2005
    definitely test on a scrap before you work on your wood. I've got a fretless bass with putty and it's been playing well without any type of epoxy. I personally wouldn't do a veneer just because it's a hassle and putty can be easily colored and is available at any hardware store.
    but yeah- there are loads of options. do what you're comfortable with and make sure you do some test fills.
  10. yes i would like a fretless

    thanks for the sticky section

    um some man up to do this for me as i dont wanna screw this bass up. plz?
    aiden Fiori likes this.
  11. Ike


    Mar 31, 2007
    I'd like to know if I could by chance leave the holes unfilled for a while, while I gather the mental strength to go buy some putty and start filling...
    Will it even affect the way the bass arcs or the way it sounds? I can hardly imagine it'l make much of a difference :/
  12. I seem to recall reading where(original Rolling Stones' bassist)Bill Wyman had a bass w/the frets removed- guess to do a refret job- he said he played it w/o frets & it worked alright. Of course he was very likely playing through a weak(by today's standards)amp, & seemed to always(again, in the old days)have a very muffled tone. BTW, what do you mean by 'arcs'? Are we talking bass guitars or upright?
  13. Ike


    Mar 31, 2007
    That would be typo, the word I was looking was something like but not nessecarily "arched", as in bent.
    that would be the risk of leaving the frets holes open right? getting a crooked neck, The bass I unfretted was a cheap one but it's still a bass.

    by the way, ever seen any fretted uprights? :p
  14. Oh- I see. I suppose there is the possibility that the lack of material(in the slots)might weaken affect the structural integrity of the neck. For this reason I wouldn't use putty(not going on experience, mind you- just my feeling). BTW I did a horrible defret to an old Hohner-berger, & filling the slots was very easy & came out looking & playing not so bad. I cut some scrap maple as close to the desired thickness, but a bit large, then sanded it until it fit tightly. A touch of superglue & voila- I'm still not Jaco. :D
    Oh, & no- I've not seen a fretted upright.
  15. Ike


    Mar 31, 2007
    alright, thanks a lot for the tips.
    I hate sanding but I think I'll use maple bits to fill with like you said.
    I've used white cardboard up until now and I've begun to like the bright fret lines :p

    thanks again for the help mate
  16. Re: sanding- make your filler material just a bit proud of(above)the surface of the fingerboard, & sand gradually down until flush. If you're very careful you will not take away enough of the actual f/board to affect playability. There are also a number of threads on defretting.
  17. tjclem

    tjclem Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
  18. it's not exactly the same but i've played a violone de gamba that had gut frets.

    it was similar to this:[​IMG]
  19. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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