First attempt at Converting Bass to Fretless (lots of pictures)

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by sandman357, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. I posted some of this over in the bass setup and repair section, but wanted to get some Luthier opinions. I am looking for setup advice once I put the neck back on though. Do I set it up using the same string to fret spacing as normal but since there are no frets use those measurements for spacing between string and fret-board?

    So I am converting a 5 string Rogue I had laying around into a fretless masterpiece.




    Here is what I have done so far:
    • I ground down a pair of small end nippers and used them to carefully pull out the frets. (They were not glued in, so I did not have to heat them up)
    • Adjusted the truss rod so the neck is flat
    • Made a radius block by taping sandpaper to the neck then used a block of green Styrofoam like they use for floral arrangements on it to shape the radius.
    • Carefully widened the fret slots with a miter saw making sure not to cut through the fret-board
    • Cut birch wood in strips, sanded each one to fit cleanly into fret slots, clued in with CA glue



    • Cut the strips to the profile of the neck with a flush cut saw
    • Trimmed the ends of the strips with the end nippers
    • Taped sandpaper into radius block and sanded neck smooth
    • used chalk to make hash makrs on neck and made sure they sanded off with just a few passes of radius block.


    • Wiped down neck with tack cloth and am applying coats of Tru-Oil. (rubbing down with 0000 steel wool between coats)


    That is where I am at. In an effort to limit the amount of filing I will have to do to the nut, I sanded the back of it down a bit to lower the entire nut. I will dry fit is as I do the setup on it and glue it in with regular old Elmer's School Glue after I have the setup done.

    Thanks for looking. This is my first attempt at doing this so advice is welcome. If it works, I may attempt it on a backup 4 string I have.
  2. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    Looks like a good job to me.
  3. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    Me too. Better job than I could have done. Nice.
  4. Carl_D

    Carl_D Guest

    Great job.
  5. Five String

    Five String Supporting Member