Removing a fretboard

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by boofis, Apr 17, 2004.

  1. Hey
    Is it possible to remove a fretboard completely? Or can you cut strips out and put other pieces in? Thankyou for your time! :bassist:
  2. Yes Boofis, it is possible and it's not that hard ...
    You'll need some Stanley blades, a hammer and a steam iron, but the most important thing you'll need is loads of patience.

    Here's a good link :
  3. JTGale


    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA
    Sorry to refloat an old post, but I have a similar question. I have a fretboard I would like to replace. Could I just use a bandsaw and cut most of it off and then use the jointer to take it down to where it needs to be? Seems like this would be an easier solution to steaming it off. What do you all think?
  4. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    I'd be careful with that one- what if the jointer blade hits the truss rod, or graphite bars? Yowza!
  5. JTGale


    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA
    You are right! I hadn't thought of that. :rollno:
  6. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    I "experimented" once with a cheap Fender neck by using a power planer to remove the fingerboard. It wasn't pretty. :eek:
  7. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    I'd learn the tried-and-true method that luthiers have been using for years. Many moons ago in California, I was in Kirk Sands' shop and saw him take off a fingerboard on a classical guitar. Took him about 30 minutes of steaming and careful prying. He also had a steam injector that he used to remove entire necks with from the body joint. Never got to see him use that one, though.
  8. what about a blow dryer to melt the glue on a POS bass and then pry carefully?

    Would that just bend the neck?

    There are uses for Vantage basses :D

    I want to tinker with LEDs
  9. 2 many axes

    2 many axes

    Apr 4, 2006
    Would that method work for a Fender JAZZ Bass??? I have an american Jazz, rosewood fretboard, with a bad truss rod. Have reserves about doing it myself but what the heck...nothing ventured nothing gained!!!!!

    2 many axes
  10. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    There's no reason it wouldn't work on a Fender Jazz.

    I actually have another question to ask about removing fbs.
    For this violin kit I'm setting up, I spot glued an ebony board on a maple neck. To remove it, I just put it on top of the toaster while it was working, at it heated the glue enough to make the fingerboard unglue itself.
    So basically, could I just put a whole neck inside an oven and let it heat for a while, and wait for the fingerboard to unglue itself? Would this damage the neck or the wood otherwise?
    come to think of it, I don't think a bass neck fits into my oven...

    But still, I'd be interested in knowing if this would work.
  11. I've put an entire bass body into an oven in an attempt to break a titebond glue joint. Nateo and I let it sit for a good 2 hours at about 275 F and the glue joint didn't break. The wood was no worse for wear, but the glue joint was fully intact. A couple of knives and a heat gun worked much better, but with a lot more manual labour.
  12. jim1457


    Mar 29, 2006
    Honolulu Hawaii
    I removed a fretboard once by pouring acetone into the trussrod groove and keep refilling it. Once the joint started opening, a little gentle prying removed it cleanly. It wasn't too hard. It was off in less than an hour.

    Just keep in mind that acetone will melt the finish too, use it acccordingly. ;)
  13. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Thinking back on that I think what we missed was moisture. You can heat the glue as much as you want, but without some moisture it won't do much for loosening the joint. I've even heard that simply baking the joint might end up making it stronger (or at least more brittle) since the glue hardens by evaporation.

    In any case it's not an adventure I'm looking to repeat any time soon, but that's just me.

  14. gfried84

    gfried84 Commercial User

    May 7, 2005
    Owner Fried Guitars Inc.
    what is wrong with the truss rod?
    Just asking because I see alot of "bad" rods that aren't so bad and can be fixed with a spacer.
  15. 2 many axes

    2 many axes

    Apr 4, 2006
    Not a thing now. Bought a Fender USA Jazz neck. The "gEEtarrr" tech the shop used said it:

    1) Had a bow he couldn't get out
    2) Had replaced the truss rod & still no go
    3) Had ordered in a Warmoth neck for the guy

    Said all kinda things (Bad neck from the factory...wood wasn't cured properly...too expensive to replace the fretboard...etc.) & sold it to me for $20.00. Got it home and backed off the tension & it took MOST of the bow out. I can live with that. You gotta love 50 year old "geetarrr" techs that don't know sheep dip from shinola.
  16. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Kinda similar, I guess.

    Could the ironing technique remove an acoustic bridge as well?
  17. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I think they make specialized heating pads for that operation, but I can't see why some careful work with an iron wouldn't do the job. Check out for info on acoustic repair. It's the best acoustic resource I've seen.

  18. ialma

    ialma Supporting Member

    Jul 1, 2006
    South Italy
    Rise ye old thread for a small problem.
    I must remove the FB off a bass I'll receive in few weeks to replace the truss rod and a friend gave me an old and butchered Fender jazz neck (no vintage neck, don't worry :) ).
    I thought I could have practiced on it.
    I put the iron on the the FB for 40 minutes or so like I've read and NOTHING!
    The FB should have lifted a bit to insert blade etc etc, but NOTHING!
    Any hint ?
    Thank you!
  19. Hi.

    The FB was attached with epoxy at some point?

    Not enough heat?

    The FB should come off pretty easily, but IME it won't lift by itself, You have to pry it off (GENTLY) with a blade.

    I use heat gun. A blanket would be better though, but those are a bit pricey.