Making your own Fretless

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by IAMERICCOCHRANE, Jan 21, 2003.

  1. Ok awhile ago I was bored and I really wanted a Fretless bass at that moment, And I remembered reading how Jaco Pulled all the frets out of his bass and epoxy coated the fretboard to make a fretless, So i did the same thing with my crappy Peavy bass my friend gave to me. Pulling out the frets was easy because the wood was pretty soft and crappy. Then I just filled the holes with wood glue, Presto Chango I had a fretless bass. I just have a few questions about it.
    1: Will the strings rip my fretboard apart since i didnt put any kind of coating over it?
    2:what strings will sound best on it? Roundwound or Flatwounds.
    3: Has anyone else tried this before? or am i semi-original (since Jaco did it before me).
  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Loads of people do this...Jaco set the example.

    I personally HATE flatwound strings on electric(or Acoustic) bass guitars....go for the roundwounds....they will not tear into your fretboard if you coat it in epoxyor a similiar fretboard protecting agent.

    Luthier's corner is the proper place to ask such questions, you will probably get better answers and more of them.
  3. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Moved to the Luthier's Joint.
  4. when i did this i filled my slots with regular wood putty. i waxed the board with bowling alley wax, and i have it strung with flatwounds (d'adarrio chromes). sounds sweeeeeeeeet (to me.)
    roundwounds can wear away at it, flats shouldn't, at least not for a long long time.
  5. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    I just did this to my bass.

    After I removed the frets I filled the fret slots in on my maple board with walnut colored wood filler. Then I coated the board with three coats of Tung Oil. I was going to use polyester resin but it didn't really work out so I used tung oil on the recommendation of luthier Rick Turner. I'm very pleased with the results. The tung oil finish gives it a nice sheen after several coats. It still looks and sounds like wood but the oil penetrates the board and makes the surface much harder. If you use roundwounds be sure and use nickel rounds. They are much easier on the board than steel rounds. Rounds or flats are ok. Flats are the easiest on the board but I prefer the sound of rounds.

    brad cook
  6. Chace90

    Chace90 Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2002
    Denver, CO
    Is it possible to defret a graphite neck? I want a zon fretless but a new one costs so much. I know they use "phenowood" but I can't tell if it's possible to defret these instruments or not.