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Help with a fretless conversion?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by CannedOwl, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. CannedOwl


    Nov 7, 2012
    I think that this would be the best place to ask (I've seen the amount of online users, holy hell) if anyone knows of a good guide on how to convert a fretted bass to a fretless. I have a Rogue LX200BL that I want to do a bit of work on with a friend, but I cannot find a good guide on it. My friend is pretty experienced with guitar modification, but I still wanted to know if someone could link me to a good guide for this.

    Don't know if this is the right place to post this, if it isn't, could a mod move it or something?
  2. Slapstyle


    Dec 3, 2009
    Definitely a good idea to hit people up for advice. I took my first bass and just started ripping the frets out of it. I chipped the hell out of my fingerboard, and wound up grinding down the remaining frets, but couldn't get them to a smooth consistency without taking out more of the fingerboard with the grinder. Needless to say, I completely ruined my bass. I was very young and extremely misguided and optimistic. I don't have any real advice for you as I've not done a successful conversion. My advice to myself back then from my today self would be to save a little money and just buy a dang fretless bass. But that's because my motivation was to have a fretless bass and not spend money. If you're looking for a project because it will be fun and give you something to do, just shopping for a new bass isn't going to cut it for you. Good luck. Post some pics and let us know how it goes!
  3. CannedOwl


    Nov 7, 2012
    Well, I guess I don't notice Stickies when I am trying to rush.
    Whoops. Thanks for the link as well!

    Yeah, I can't find too many good and affordable Left handed fretless basses. Definitely can't find any lefty six-string fretless unless I want to pay ~€800.
    I should probably wait until I get a second bass to pull the frets on this one.
    Also, picture, before I screw with the bass. (Mine is a series II, but whatever.)
    Just imagine the Razer logo above the 22nd fret.

    Thank you both for the help!
  4. bssist


    Jun 23, 2007
    St. Louis, MO USA
    Here's a link to a great video showing the whole process.


    I did my first "defret" like Slapstyle about 30 years ago. I filed the frets down with a mill file, rounded the board so that I could play it with a bow like I had seen Jimmy Page do, then finished it with several coats of epoxy, sanding between coats. It actually turned out pretty decent. There was no magical interweb back then to teach us how to do it, it was all trial and error. Oh yeah, we had to walk 6 miles to school, it was up hill both ways, and yadda yadda yadda. :)

    Good luck with your project! I hope it goes well for you.
  5. CannedOwl


    Nov 7, 2012
    Thank you for the video! I think I have seen some of that person's other videos before...
    I also miiiight be getting a six string bass for Christmas, so I am a bit more inclined to do the conversion now. I will definitely post some pictures of it somewhere, not sure where though. Now I just need to get in touch with the person that is going to help me with it! :D
  6. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I noticed that Dan Erlewine is defretting a maple fretboard neck and then coated it with super glue. It's a neck from a production bass so the fretboard must have some kind of finish on it. I don't see any mention to him sanding the finish off before he applied the super glue - only that he sanded the plastic strips until they were smooth and flush with the fretboard.

    Do you think he applied the super glue over the existing fretboard finish?

    I'm asking because I'm defretting a bass with a maple fretboard. I want to do a super glue fretboard finish but I'd rather not sand all the poly off. Do you think the superglue would bond sufficiently with scuffed poly to make a strong enough bond to withstand fretless playing?