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Fingerboard Removal??

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Tapp, Jul 8, 2014.

  1. Tapp


    Aug 29, 2001
    USA, Mississippi
    I was wondering if anybody has removed a fretted fingerboard and installed a blank fretless fingerboard? I know that the common way to do a fretless conversion is to yank and fill frets. I really prefer the look and feel of a blank board.

    I've got a 2nd gen. Peavey TL-5 bass. I've been told that fingerboards can be removed but it's obviously pretty involved. The main problem I see with this bass is that (and I'm assuming here) the bass is finished in poly and the fingerboard sides would need to be somehow scored and separated. I've also been told poly chips easily and this would be a problem too.

    Has anyone successfully done this type of conversion? Thanks for all wisdom.
  2. Yep, easy peasy. Just make sure you've got a board ready to glue on so that the neck doesn't get a chance to warp.

    Take an iron set to steam and lay a cloth across the neck's frets. Sit the iron on the cloth for a couple of minutes (until the fingerboard can be budged) and pry up the end with a knife. Then, stick a butter knife in the gap and leave it there. Progress down the neck, heating it and sliding the knife until the end, et voilĂ ! Pop! Then, glue the blank board on (once the neck's cooled and cleaned up) and shape it.
  3. Tapp


    Aug 29, 2001
    USA, Mississippi
    Thanks Josiah. How do you deal with the poly finish on the sides? I would definitely like to go back with a blank ebony board. Do you like finished (ala Pedulla) or unfinished?
  4. There's really no point in finishing (most) ebony boards, just sand it very fine and buff up. As for the poly, you could mask off the edges? Or just sand the finish off and oil it, it's nice to be able to slide the hands about on a fretless bass.
  5. Tapp


    Aug 29, 2001
    USA, Mississippi
    Thanks so much! Anyone have a favorite source in the USA for ebony fingerboard blanks?
  6. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
  7. JustinBehling


    Nov 2, 2013
    This is something I've wondered about too. It's good to see how to remove a fretboard from an unfinished neck, but how do you do it with a cured polyurethane finish that goes all the way to the face of the fretboard? Is there a good way to score it so the finish doesn't chip or split as you remove the fingerboard? Or is there some entirely different way to do it?

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