Fretless board sanding question

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by HoodTube, Jan 14, 2022.

  1. HoodTube


    Oct 13, 2018
    Hi folks. Got a second hand fretless with some "fretting sounds" while sliding between certain notes. Wondering if it might be a good idea to give it a quick sand to see if that sorts it out? There are some signs of string wear on the board. Or should I try cleaning it first? Doesn't seem filthy or anything, but I don't know if sanding is more of a last resort type of scenario.

    Second part of my question is - I don't have a specialised radius block (the radius on this board is 10"), but I do have a couple of those soft, spongy sanding blocks lying around, in quite a light grit too. Would these be fine to use carefully instead? Cheers!
  2. Your best bet is a long flat beam. Attach sandpaper to it then level along the string paths. Once that’s one, work the beam side to side to even out the remaining part of the board. Here’s a thread that goes into some detail about it.

    Even fretless fingerboard levelling tips
  3. HoodTube


    Oct 13, 2018
    Thanks mate!
    Matt Liebenau likes this.
  4. If you have access to a scraper plane, this will level it out nicely, followed up by hand scraping to remove the facet ridges left behind. You want to ensure you do the whole board surface though, to eliminate creating any little dips in the surface.
  5. HoodTube


    Oct 13, 2018
    Cheers for the advice! Nah, I don't have one of those. Reluctant to do anything too drastic either, since the problem isn't massive. I reckon I'll start with a good clean then see how that goes, then reassess it after that. Thanks again.
  6. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Be careful. Most likely, the problem is that you have a small dip in the surface. If you sand that area, you'll make the dip deeper, which will make the buzzing worse. The only way to fix a dip is to lower all the rest of the wood around it, to make it flat again. That's what the leveling process is all about, using a straight beam down the string paths.

    I encourage you to do a proper leveling job on it, yourself. Read up on it, understand the geometry, and do it. It really isn't that hard, once you understand what you are doing. And it doesn't require many special tools.
    HoodTube likes this.
  7. Like Bruce said. A leveling on a fretless isn’t super tough. You can probably find a sufficiently straight level at Harbor Freight or Home Depot and get self stick sandpaper there too. I don’t particularly like the Harbor Freight sandpaper however. 3M brand from HD will do you better.
  8. 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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