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Fretlines without the cut...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Rogier, Mar 31, 2006.

  1. Rogier


    Feb 2, 2004
    Good day!
    I'm currently in the process of building my own fretless bass. Now i want to do this right all the way, so i need your help/expertise please...
    The problem is that I don't want to make any cut into the fretboard (which is coromandel), but fretlines are needed because it's a multi-scale bass :cool: Now the question is: how can i still make lines visible on the fretboard?
    My first thought was 'bleech it', but i guess the wood would soak it up and make a smudgy spot instead of a thin line. Maybe a thin line of paint,a first layer of laquer and then sand them flat?
    Every thought is appreciated.
  2. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Not much ideas...
    The only thing I can come up with is the mylar sheet method, etch lines into the back of the sheet without cutting it completely/breaking through to the other side. However, this would not be easy.
    Why do you need an "uncut" fb so much?
  3. VaantCustom


    Feb 5, 2006
    I'm sure tons of people have thought of that, including me, but I don't think it's a good idea. I have a reeeeealy easy way to do lines on a fretless tho, and I also did them on a multi scale.

    Print out your fretboard on http://www.fretfind.ekips.org/2d/nonparallel.php

    Use a glue stick to glue the paper to your fretboard, and
    put a little glue stick glue on the back of a ruler or straight edge to make it tacky and keep it from slipping. I use a ruler from wallmart w/ cork on the back.

    Now, using the ruler as a guide, make a couple passes over each line w/ a small, very narrow saw. Don't push too hard. This one is the best! It has a very stiff, but very thin blade, and won't slip at all. It digs right in. http://gallery.bcentral.com/GID4308581P4343200-HAND/SAWS/Shop-Fox-Fret-Saw.aspx

    Peel off the paper, and lightly sand the board. Now you have to seal the pores in the wood, or you'll fill them too, along w/ the fret slots. Put a very light coat of shellac on the board, and when it dries, lightly go over the slots again w/ the saw.

    Then you can fill the lines w/ paint, white out, water putty, whatever. After it dries, use a fine sanding sponge to remove the excess. Then, the epoxy.

    This is my tried and true suggestion. Just make sure you use a sharp, thin, and easy to control saw to cut the lines, like the one I suggested above.

    Let me know how you do!
  4. i guess you could pinstripe it (paint with a tiny brush and someone really good at pinstriping - motorcycle paint job designer per example) and then epoxy the fingerboard......
  5. Rogier


    Feb 2, 2004
    Thanks for the thoughts guys, but I will keep looking around if you don't mind. I'll show you what i've done when it's finished... Though i might try your solution 'VaantCustom'... sounds okay, and cool link btw. Thanks so far!

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