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fixing a fretless fingerboard

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by tww001, Mar 14, 2006.

  1. tww001


    Aug 13, 2003
    Telford, PA
    Someone once convinced me that it would be a good idea to put an epoxy finish on the fingerboard of my fretless. Lo and behold, I now realize that that was a stupid idea. I did it myself (about a year ago now), and the epoxy is not even and buzzes at places and is starting to wear away in spots (from roundwounds), and it created a dead spot on the neck at the 7th fret on the G string.

    Would it be safe for me to sand down the epoxy? I wouldn't do it myself, I would take it to someone who knows what they're doing, but I'm not sure if this is the best course of action. Are there any other suggestions as to what I can have done?
  2. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Yeah, it's safe (it's actually part of long-term mainenance anyway) - though if the coating isn't thick enough in any area where its currently high and there was already a high spot there it'll be down to bare wood in that area.

    Don't do it yourself! ; }
  3. PasdaBeer


    Nov 2, 2002
    Santa Rosa California
    SandStorm Designs
    get a radius sanding block from LMII or stewmac before you attempt it.

    also a good straight edge, and set the relif on the neck as flat before you do any of this.
  4. tww001


    Aug 13, 2003
    Telford, PA
    thanks for the advice, but I'm going to leave it to a professional to do this. Can you recommend any electric bass luthiers in any of the following cities? (preferably in the listed order):<p>
    in PA:<br>
    in MD:<br>
    DC-metro area<p>
    Thanks for any help!
  5. bassksun

    bassksun Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2004
    Las Vegas,NV
    Ummm...same problem. I would like to get a radius block from SM but I'm not sure how to measure the radius of my fingerboard. I'm guessing standard is 16" or 20" ?

  6. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    you'd probably make much quicker work of it by scraping away the epoxy with a cabinet scraper and then cleaning up the work with sandpaper and the block.

    The radius blocks are great.

    They are actually pretty easy to make yourself by tracing the radius of the fb onto the end grain of a block of hardwood using a compass and then bowling out the block with a belt sander.
  7. Rodent

    Rodent Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Regenerate Guitar Works
    it's easy to discover the fingerboard radius ... all you need is some paper and a compass

    1) Carefully set your compass to a 9-/12" radius and draw and arc wider than you fingerboard where you want to measure
    2) carefully cut out the arc
    3) place it on the fingerboard

    if it's an exact match <presto!> you now know your fingerboard radius.

    * if there is a gap in the middle and the edges are touching, the radius is too small ... move to a 12" radius and repeat ... if it's still too small, try a 16" radius

    * if there is a gap on the edges and the middle is touching, then your radius is too large ... repeat the process with a smaller radius and try again

    depending on the manufacturer, you may have a compound radius board - one where you have one defined radius value at the nut and and another set value at the 24th fret, with an evenly tapering radius value between these points. If you plan to do any block sanding by hand, you'll need several radius block sizes and a lot of attention to detail as you switch betwen blocks along the neck

    all the best,

  8. bassksun

    bassksun Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2004
    Las Vegas,NV
    Thanks All!
  9. tww001


    Aug 13, 2003
    Telford, PA
    do you think this process of sanding my fingerboard would be safe for me to do myself? What is a cabinet scraper, could I find it at Lowes?
  10. Rodent

    Rodent Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Regenerate Guitar Works