My first defret project. All opinions welcome :)

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by fourstringdrums, Sep 19, 2003.

  1. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    :eek: Man after seeing the G&L Fretless that Jsonnenblick has listed for sale, I almost don't want to go through with this *lol* :) Major gas..but I know it'll be worth it in the end.

    The bass in question..

    Ok, here's the story. I have a Dean Jeff Berlin Standard that I bought at the beginning of the year. Nice bass, but something just not quite right about the action. It didn't feel right to me, also I think there were a few high frets and seeing as resale isn't that high on this to begin with, I couldn't justify spending X amount of dollars to fix the frets and only sell it for like $150. So I just sold off the tuners and the badass bridge, and kept the Bartolini's. So now I just have this bass lying around with no bridge or tuners and iffy frets.. I decided that seeing as I want a fretless, I'd try my hand at defretting.

    I know roughly what I need to do. I've done some research, talked to my local tech and Jack Read (local luthier to me) for some instruction. I know that I'll need a soldering iron, and "grippers" or whatever name you want to call them, to pull the frets. Masking tape to protect the fretboard, glue to hold the fret markers (wood glue? krazy glue?) in place and thats basically it for basic tools I think. Oh yea, fret cleaning file..forgot about that.

    My first question is. When it comes to fretlines, what does everyone here like to use? The JBS has an ebony board, so I was either thinking I could get some white plast strips from a hobby shop and use those. Or go with plain maple lines, or I had the idea of using the maple lines but dying them with this black fretboard dye I saw on STEWMAC. Any other ideas? Also, if using wood, where does everyone get their wood? Do I have to just go to a wood working shop (if I can find some around here) and have them rip me some pieces, or can this stuff be ordered pre-cut? What is a good width to ask for? Next, when it comes to sanding the fret markers down so they are even with the board. What grit do you reccomend? Do I need a sanding block? Also, when you do the final sand, do most of you use a radius block? The radius is 15" I believe and I suppose I could just keep it that way.

    Ok, now to my plan. I'm undecided if I'm going to keep the original color of the bass, or if I'm going to have it refinished in like a darker purplish, maroon color. I'm also undecided if I should just slap another badass on there, or go with something like a HipShot or Schaller. Can't decide if I want black hardware or gold. I will put black knobs with white position markers on there though, I know that. I do know that I'm going to put a thumb rest in between the pickups. As for the headstock, I was thinking of sanding the gloss and the logo off and either leaving it plain, or painting it black. Basically I don't want this to look so much like the original bass when I'm done. Not that its bad, I just want something different.

    And finally, like I stated above..fretlines. I'm unsure what to do for that. Thats my biggest decision. If I had my way, I'd have a blank board with partial lines, but I don't know if thats possible. Maybe inlaying maple lines, dying/painting them black and then painting white partial lines over them, then coating the board with epoxy or something to protect it?

    Anyway I know this was alot of rambling, and excuse me for being alittle ignorant about this, but I just want to make sure I have a good plan ahead of me, the right tools and alot of advice to make sure that this is one job I'm proud of. I am remembering the most important rule: Take it SLOW. I know I can't rush it.

    Thanks guys!
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