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re-converting fretless to fretted (prob: binding)

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by lowstar, Jun 15, 2007.


  1. lowstar

    lowstar

    Jul 3, 2001
    Schnitzelland
    hi everybody,

    i have an old ibanez j-style copy that came to me long ago defretted but with nothing in the fret slots. i filled them up with wood putty, sanded the fretboard and gave it a few coats of epoxy.

    it worked out all right, but the bass being short scale, doesn´t really sound good, so, to get to the point:

    i want to put in frets again.

    and here´s my problem: the bass has a creme-coloured plastic fingerboard binding. so how am i gonna saw the fret slots without destroying it ??

    cheers,
    lowstar
     
  2. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    There are two options. The easiest is to remove the binding, saw the slots, fret normally, and rebind the neck. The second involves modifying a saw blade so that the blade is narrower than the shortest fret slot length or purchasing a specialty saw like one from Stewart-MacDonald. These saws are normally used to clean fret slots of glue and debris before a refret. The problem is that while trying to saw a straight line in the right location that it is easy to repeatedly bump the binding and dislodge it. It is even easier to slice through the binding while trying to start the blade in the slot because it is difficult to pay attention to both the treble and bass sides while trying to stay on line. And staying on line is critical. Fret placement is a game played in thousandths of an inch.

    Unless it is a vintage instrument remove the binding.
     
  3. lowstar

    lowstar

    Jul 3, 2001
    Schnitzelland
    thanx for the quick reply, 202. :)
    hmm, now how do i remove a binding ? :confused:

    cheers,
    lowstar
     
  4. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Using a very sharp tool, like an exacto #11 blade in a holder or a scalpel, lightly score the lacquer along the line where the binding meets the neck. Repeat until the lacquer is just cut. Take the same tool and repeat at the joint where the binding meets the fingerboard, lightly prying it away as it begins to loosen. Care must be taken because it is easy to wedge the tool into the fingerboard itself and run off line and into a grain line. If that happens a portion of the fingerboard will come off with the binding. It is not the end of the world but keep track of the piece. Continue working in this fashion until the binding is removed.

    N.B. Binding can shrink. It depends on the material. Once the binding is off get the fret job done and the binding back on.
     
  5. lowstar

    lowstar

    Jul 3, 2001
    Schnitzelland
    big thanks to you, 202dy !

    cheers,
    lowstar
     
  6. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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