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Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by TRU, Sep 12, 2003.

  1. TRU


    Apr 12, 2002
    Northern Europe
    It sounds like a lot of unnecessary work to saw fret slots and then fill them with wood to get fretlines to a fretless bass. And take the change that the lines pop out. I'd like the fretlines to be quite subtle. No maple lines on ebony board, please. Has anyone tried any shortcuts? Like just drawing the lines with a pencil or some kind of marker? Am I just lazy?

    What about sawing very shallow fretlines and use epoxy to fill them?
  2. joeviau


    Jul 9, 2002
    Rhode Island
    Instead of subtle fret lines, how about none?
    You'd still cut the fret lines and fill them
    with either wood or plastic shims. Then...
    smooth the board, flip it, then glue it to the
    neck with the fret lines face down. You now
    have a fingerboard with an unmarked face, but
    super-accurate side markers. I saw this on a
    bass, and thought that it was totally cool.

    Be sure to watch the depth of the fret slots,
    or when you radius the fingerboard you may have
    lines appear--so don't go too deep. You can draw
    this on a piece of paper to give yourself an idea.

  3. mslatter


    Apr 8, 2003
    I hear ya. Fretlines are great for players like me that aren't regular fretless guys (yet?) But I want them subtle, or gone. Dots are a good choice, of course, but not unique enough for me. I'm thinking through some options, and one of the ones I'm considering is narrow triangles under the E string with the point directly centered over where the fret should be. Basically, triangular dots, right on the edge of the board, perhaps 1/8" deep so I can see them from the sides, too.

    If I do this, I'm going to use the same wood for the markers as I do for the body, for continuity. It'll have its challenges, as any inlay does, and since it'll be on the edge of the board, the side of the inlay will also be visible. That means it'll have to be very clean work, but it also means I won't have to do side dots.

    My point is that there are many ways to skin this cat, not all of which are immediately obvious or commonly seen. I've even consider very thin v-channels, or, conversely, wood frets, which would be basically be high spots in the ebony. Challenging work, and probably not long-lived, but pretty cool, and maybe unique sounding, I think. Hopefully, I reach a point where I can be that experimental. Right now, it's just fantasy.