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i am hopefully getting a fretless that my dad built....

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by steve-o, Jan 5, 2003.


  1. steve-o

    steve-o Guest

    Apr 17, 2002
    it is passive and has two jazz pup in the normal position. maple neck ebony board.
    it is natural right now. (alder) but it looks very nice for alder, has alot of grain.
    i don't know if i want it painted.
    but anyways, should i make it active?
    and which preamp.
    how is the bartiloni and agular preamps?
    how do they differ?
    if i do it will be 18volt.
    it at has frets now but what should i fill in the slots. i have heard alot of different answers. but how is binding? like from stew mac.
    and what color do you think would look good?
    here is a pic.

    steve
     
  2. steve-o

    steve-o Guest

    Apr 17, 2002
    and in case any one wants to know.
    it plays better than my MIA jazz.
    it sounds a little different.
     
  3. fill the slots with epoxy, or you could do wood strips (like a lined fretless). i've been told not to use wood filler (but i did anyways:eek: )because the neck will bow up or something. i'm not sure what; it didn't happen on the either guitar or bass that i defretted and used wood filler on, but if they were really important to me i wouldn't have risked it.

    edit: i would leave it natural if i were you. nice grain indeed!
     
  4. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    One big issue with defretting a bass is the actual removal of the frets. Dont just pry them out or you will dammage the board.

    What you should do is heat the frets with a soldering iron, with a little bit of solder at the end to help with heat transfer. This will melt the glue and make it a little asier to remore the frets. Then you should get a pair of flat head clippers that you can place completely flat between the board and fret and pull them up. The clippers should be like a pair of flat head wire cutters with the head ground completely flat. Dont force them if they dont come out, but slowly pull and heat, going from one side then the other.

    Once all the frets are out, look over the board and repair all damaged spots. I used crazy glue built up in layers to fill in any dents, and glued in any chiips that came out. You should also sand the entire board to level out some uneven spots. Make sure that all the fretslots are clear any dust or leftover glue before you move on.

    Next you have to fill the slots. Dont fill the slots with epoxy. Its really not too easy to get it into the thin slots, and it wont be as stable as if you have it filled with thin strip of wood or plastic. Cut the filler strips to aproxamately the right length, and close to the right height (better a little higher than lower), then insert them. Cut off the excess that hangs over the sides, and then put a little bit of crazy glue at the ends of the slots, and it will naturally be wicked up by capilary action. Just a little should work.

    Once you have the slots filled, sand (or plane depending on how high they are)the lines level, and radius the board. Then coat it with whatever you please. I used polyeurothane.


    Try searching for more advice in old threads, and the luthiers section. If you get stuck along the way and have any questions just feel free to post again, and dont rush.


    Peace
    Nick
     
  5. steve-o

    steve-o Guest

    Apr 17, 2002
    do you really have to coat it? it is ebony.
    what if i use flatwounds. which i probaly will use, maybe rounds everyonce in awhile to change things up.
    what is the difference in sound with coated vs. non-coated?

    steve
     
  6. oops- guess epoxy was a bad call on my part- sorry. just what i've been told.
    when i defretted my bass and my guitar i didn't coat it. i used bowling alley wax to finish it, and it did a pretty good job. i sounds really woody and dull. i like it.
    edit: on my bass i use d'adarrio ribbonwound Chromes; they sound amazing
     
  7. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    With ebony you might not have to coat it, but I would probably rub some tung oil over it.

    Peace
    Nick
     
  8. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Hey Nick man,
    Thanks for the tips, saved me a bunch of time typing!:)

    A couple of notes:
    When heating CA glue -wear goggles and a mask while also using ventilation! It contains cyanide, which you don't want to breathe, or get in your eyes.

    When sanding, use a flat and square 10" long block, with cork lining the side you put your sandpaper on. You can make it out of maple, using your shop jointer to flatten it.

    Tung oil is a bad fingerboard coating IMHO, because if you do get it dry (the waiting. . .the waiting. . .) it will gum up easily in warmer weather. I recommend boiled (double-boiled is better) linseed oil, which Mr. Sadowsky recommends. It dries quicker and does add a bit of protection too. There is also a synthetic oil called Alsyn you can get from Luthier's Mercantile. My preference is not to coat with epoxy -sounds like epoxy to me. . .

    Have fun!

    LM
     
  9. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    One more note to add to that:

    CA glue is any type or brand of crazy glue. I didnt know that when I defretted, and I had to wait till someone explained so I thought I might mention it just in case.

    Peace
    Nick
     
  10. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    It might work, but itd still be kinda dificult, and all the solder Ive ever used is really soft and compressable, so the tension of the strings on the neck might bend it forward and just compress the solder.

    The idea is that you have something in the slots that will provide enough resistance to compression for the neck to remain stable.

    I wouldnt recommend it.

    Peace
    Nick
     
  11. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Yeah,

    Think of guitar kerfing, that's basically what fret slots are. You need to fill them with something hard, to regain the stability you took away with the fret slots. I like white styrene from a crafts store. You can get it in .020" size, perfect for most fret kerfs.