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My fretless Squier Bass Conversion...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by vai777, Apr 3, 2013.


  1. vai777

    vai777

    Feb 8, 2012
    Well...I have this squier bass with some pretty crappy frets...I have 3 other fretted basses so I figured what the hell...

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    After removing the neck I had the genius idea of trying to file down the frets (grind them down with a Japanese whetstone...it works but it’s slow going). So when I got down to the fingerboard, guess what? The fret tangs didn't go all the way to the ends of the fingerboard (no pics of this)...so I proceeded to pull the frets. You can see the mark where the stone hit flush with the baord in the first pic...

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    You get the idea... I would have taken a pic of me with the soldering iron and an Exacto knife removing them...but I didn't really want to push my luck with a 500 degree iron in my hand.
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    Sanding with a 12” radius block, note the dark spots… they are wax that these foreign guitar makers somehow think is appropriate to apply to a rosewood board...it isn't.

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    more sanding and MORE WAX....also enlarged the fret slots with a .035 nut file... took way too long (10-12 hours or so to get it right)...I don't have any power tools so...in fact nothing motorized was used during this project, and only one device, the iron used any power at all....they rest was done by hand.

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    After cranking the truss rod and filing the fret slots there was a little more sanding... (I tightened the rod because it gave the neck a little back bow which eased the filing on the slots a bit.

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    Next up is the installation (or should I say endless fine sanding, cursing and smashing with a hammer) of the fret markers (some white binding measuring .040 inches). In all seriousness they were hammered in with a friggin ****** hammer not made for this type of work...but it got the job done. I also had to sand in a 12" radius on the bottom of each of these little plastic pieces...annoying.

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    More of the fret markers AND GLUE...used THIN CA glue, which is a PITA to work with and after wet sanding off the amount that got on my fingers (A LOT!) I continued to do the rest of the board.

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    Next is the cutting of the excess tops and clipping of the ends of the fret markers... usually done with a small hobby saw... I used one of my beater Japanese kitchen knives...basically a 6 inch razor and some old wire cutters...worked great and I still have all my fingers.

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    Next was the sanding of the entire board and sides again in order to get the markers flush with the wood...again using a 12" radius sanding block with 320 grit paper.

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    Notice the wax still around that fretboard dot.

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    Rollling the fingerboard edges (sanding and smoothing out the sharp edges of the fingerboard). Used a hard felt block and my fingers...fingers worked better.

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    First coat of fretboard oil...at this point with the oil on I progressed through a 320, 600, 1000, 2500 and 8000 grit oil sanding... you could watch TV on the fretboard.

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    Had to file the nut down as the fingerboard lost a bit of depth... didn't makes the slots deeper I flattened from the bottom...easier to control the final outcome.

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    set up and ready to play...low action too (could go even lower)...4/64th Low E at the 15th "fret" and 3/64th high G at the 15th

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    Everything used (except the finer grit sand papers).

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    First time doing anything like this....I got lucky...real lucky.
     
  2. THand

    THand

    Jun 9, 2008
    When I first started reading, i admit that I was expecting a nightmare...what a surprise!

    That's impressive! Great job...I admire that can-do spirit, and you got great results to boot! Bravo!
     
  3. vai777

    vai777

    Feb 8, 2012
    Thanks man, I had the same feeling of dread when I started...turned out way better than I thought it would. Not that I would do it again...it's a lot of work...especially without the proper tools.
     
  4. Nice! The first few photos scared me a bit (perhaps from several horrifying TalkBass fret-pulling threads over the years) but, wow, great job!
     
  5. vai777

    vai777

    Feb 8, 2012
    yeah you should have see it "live" I was like ***? am I doing...lol
     
  6. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Me too I was like man this is going to be bad :) but wow that is a really nice job well done sir.
     
  7. vai777

    vai777

    Feb 8, 2012
    Thanks... I surprised myself...I mean I do my own setups and other minor things but this was a big jump for me.
     
  8. ma4rk

    ma4rk

    Jun 28, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    I love it when fellow hack's plan comes together, congrats!
     
  9. vai777

    vai777

    Feb 8, 2012
    Thanks...and yeah hack is definitely the right word...no doubt about that.
     

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