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Fretless markers

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by fourstringbliss, Jun 3, 2004.

  1. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I am planning on doing a fretless conversion on a bass guitar. Does anybody sell metal "frets" to mark the lines, or pre-made plastic markers I just need to glue in? If not, what is the best material to use as fret markers, how do I glue them in, and how do I file/sand them down flush with the fretboard without damaging the board?

  2. I wouldn't use metal to fill in the gaps left when you removed the existing frets. The reason is that they will wear at a different rate to the wood of your fretboard and will eventually be raised slightly above the wood creating undulations in your board.

    I have used wood strips usually sold as guitar binding and glued then into the grooves. You can try to find a wood similar in colour to your existing fretboard or if you want the lines to show up, use a different colour.

    The best way to file them is to trim them to near the required height using a very sharp craft knife and then sand your board as you would when finishing it during the making of a board.
  3. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I like the wood idea better than the metal or plastic. I know it's possible to buy radiused sanding blocks from Stewmac, but how would I know which one to buy? How do I know what the original radius of my fretboard is?
  4. Well, Stewmac also sells gauges to find the radius. Probably the radius changes as you go up the neck. I think it's easiest to use a flat sanding block that's about six inches long. As long as you sand the whole fingerboard pretty evenly, you should come out about right.
  5. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass