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Fretless Conversion with almost no tools - success!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Erlkoenig, Jan 7, 2020.


  1. Erlkoenig

    Erlkoenig

    Jul 12, 2019
    Ahoy!

    I'm just gonna post it in here, even though I didn't build the neck or body this time.
    But I put quite some hours into the neck.

    Since I am a leftie, I started off with a leftie Ibanez TR series, I think its from the 80ies? Don't quote me on that. Looks like this:
    Screenshot_20200106_221811.jpg
    Bought it for 40€ on the local ebay. Was in great shape. Banana neck but the truss was like new and really powerful. Also some scratches, but eh, that bass has seen some poopie already, long before I was born.
    So next comes the pliers. And a minor oopsie.
    I tried the soldering iron method for defretting, but it didn't change anything. So I just pulled the frets out dry, which was followed by some rip out along the fret slots, as seen here: IMG_20191102_174036.jpg
    That's when I decided to dye the board and to go full blackout, because then I wouldn't have to worry about irregular filler lines. Good idea this time.
    Also at this point I started sanding off the lacquer at the back of the neck, because if you go all black, you go all black.
    And I started with the filler. The fret markers I just drilled out and filled.
    I got it pretty smooth with the filler alone:
    IMG_20191222_181038.jpg
    After it was filled up and and decently smooth (sanded to 320 I think. Any more started to attack the filler more than the wood), I dyed it black.
    Then I bought the expensive and very very liquid one from the local model shop, opened the window, put on safety goggles (after hearing a horror story of someone I know on twitter), and started. First coats very thin to get into every pore, then let them get thicker.
    Its very important to let it dry completely before going on. It really is.
    And yea its not really interesting after this, its a lot of sanding. But sanding the CA glue is quite enjoyable, especially when sanding wet. It just comes off like nothing.
    Sanded to 1200 (could have gone farther, ik) and polished.
    IMG_20200107_140806.jpg

    As I said before, very minimal tools used. I did a radius block and a straightedge (thats also usable on fretted basses) myself and apart from that, a drill, some pliers and sandpaper.

    Here's some pics of the finished product:
    IMG_20200106_124735.jpg IMG_20200106_124815.jpg Screenshot_20200106_172811.jpg

    Sooo... that's it! Plays and sounds great. At the moment I've got LaBella 760Ns on it. I kinda miss the brightness a bit. But it feels beautiful.

    Cheers!
     
    MynameisMe, wraub, CatchaCuda and 8 others like this.
  2. hotbass57

    hotbass57

    Nov 27, 2011
    Fairfield,Ohio
    wow nice job and impressive for amount of tools available.
     
    Erlkoenig likes this.
  3. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Very cool. I’m a huge fan of the “no lines” look.

    Did you lower your nut slots too?
     
  4. Erlkoenig

    Erlkoenig

    Jul 12, 2019
    yes, but I have to admit, orientation on the fretboard would be easier with lines.
    I filed the nut at the bottom, but it needs a replacement. Do you know any bang for the buck nut files?
    Also I need another string tree for the A string, since it has a bit of buzz because of the lower angle.
     
  5. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Scotland.
    This is very impressive work!
     
    Erlkoenig likes this.
  6. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Most of the cheap nut files are crap, unfortunately, and the welding tip cleaners are a huge PITA. Short of buying decent nut files (around $70), you can wrap sandpaper around drill bits. Slow, but it works. Nice job, BTW. I prefer lines because.... I like to play in tune! That ship has sailed, but it does look pretty cool all black.
     
  7. James Collins

    James Collins

    Mar 25, 2017
    Augusta, GA
    Also, if your nut is already filed and you need to take everything down about the same amount, you can take the nut off and sand the bottom.
     
    Erlkoenig and ctmullins like this.
  8. Erlkoenig

    Erlkoenig

    Jul 12, 2019
    Yea, I'll try that out.
    To be honest, I don't want to be looking at the fretboard the while time too while playing, most of the pitch is regulated by ear. only orientation would be easier with lines, I admit.
     
    CatchaCuda and Gilmourisgod like this.
  9. Erlkoenig

    Erlkoenig

    Jul 12, 2019
    Yes, that's what I did so far.
     
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  10. CatchaCuda

    CatchaCuda Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2018
    Transfer, PA
    Nicely done :thumbsup:
    What dye did you use?
     
  11. Erlkoenig

    Erlkoenig

    Jul 12, 2019
    CatchaCuda likes this.
  12. wraub

    wraub

    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    previated devert
    I defretted an old Ibanez 5 string years ago, and still play it.
    I opted for maple fill lines, but, very pleased.

    Nicely done! (Which dye did you use?)
     
    Erlkoenig likes this.
  13. CatchaCuda

    CatchaCuda Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2018
    Transfer, PA
    Erlkoenig likes this.
  14. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    Insert the link and then just rename it.
     
    CatchaCuda likes this.
  15. devnulljp

    devnulljp

    Oct 13, 2009
    BC, Canada
    Admin on the D*A*M Forum
    You could put the link in in bbcode like this

    Code:
    [URL=https://www.big.long.url.com/something/something/something/]Clou-Holzbeize-B11-2527-nussbaum[/URL]
    
    That should just show up like a hyperlinked name like this:

    Clou-Holzbeize-B11-2527-nussbaum
     
    CatchaCuda likes this.
  16. Erlkoenig

    Erlkoenig

    Jul 12, 2019
    mentioned above, but just for the sake of trying embedded links out:
    AquaClou Dye Black

    Edit: works, thanks guys!
     
    wraub likes this.

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