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how do you convert fretted to fretless?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by korchm, Oct 31, 2003.

  1. korchm


    Jul 17, 2003
    toronto, canada
    hey guys! i have an old jazz bass lying around here. do you know how i can convert this into a fretless?
  2. Ok, well I'll take you through the steps, but make sure you don't do anything to it before you know if it is worth something or not.

    Step 1: Take out the frets - You can do this with a flat head screw driver which I found easiest.

    Step 2: Remove the neck (keep it on in Step 1 because it makes the frets easier to take out)

    Step 3: Get some fine sand paper and sand down the neck till smooth (might be rough around where you took the frets out)

    Step 4: Get some wood filler from Home Depot or a store of the sort and fill in each fret with it and let it dry (people also use pieces of wood to put in there, but is more time consuming and wood filler works just fine)

    Step 5: Sand neck down again because some of the wood filler could of gone a little over and also to make it smooth.

    Step 6: Apply 3 coats of Polyurethane (I used Minwax, it works really well) and let dry for if I remember correctly, 6 or 7 hours then apply 3 more coats. Do this 5-6 times (yes, this is the most time consuming part, but keeps the neck well protected).

    Step 7: After all dried and all coats on, put neck back on, put strings on and intonate it.

    Step 8: Play it!

    If I missed anything, anyone please add it in! ~ Tyler
  3. korchm


    Jul 17, 2003
    toronto, canada
    ok thanks. but is it possible that the inlays will pop out sometime if i used it as a fretless?
  4. I don't get it? How would the inlays pop out??
  5. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    In general I think conversions are not the way to go. I've seen a few in music stores and I've always been unimpressed. My brother defretted a bass once it was OK. It was a cheapo Vantage.

    I think almost every time you're better off buying a fretless outright if that's what you think you want. Rondo Music (Essex,Brice) and others (Dean, Rogue, Yamaha etc.) make entry level fretlesses that are fine giggable basses that were fretless from the beginning.
  6. korchm


    Jul 17, 2003
    toronto, canada
    probably through wear?
  7. I haven't heard any instances because there are a lot of made fretless made basses have inlays.
  8. Keech


    Oct 16, 2003
    All in your head
    Step 1. Remove fretted neck.

    Step 2. Install fretless neck.
  9. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Yes, some more useful things:
    - a day before step 1, get the strings off and rub the board in with lemon oil - this will clean much of the dirt and sweat and etc
    - heat the frets with a soldering iron before pulling them out! this way, the glue will softenand parts of the board wont break off
    - a bit lemon oil after sanding but before coating will restore its original colour

    It may sound funny that Im saying all this, yet I have not defretted a bass, but since i got my new bass, ive been plannig on defretting my old one and Ive read a lot about it not to mess up my old bass.
    Good luck
  10. Thanks for mentioning this, I totally forgot. When I did mine I didn't have a soldering iron at the time (do now) and yes, lil chips of the board did come off, but no biggie really, but if you have one or don't mind spending $10 or so, get one. They have them at home depot, all you need is the little pen-type one.
  11. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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