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Reverse Hybrid Fretless/Fretted build?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by tubestuff, Sep 27, 2017.


  1. tubestuff

    tubestuff

    Aug 14, 2013
    San Pedro, CA
    Hi TBers,

    I picked up a damaged new Squier MIM Dimensions on the cheap ($150) with the intent of de-fretting the "G" and "D" strings. I'm not concerned with "looks" of my finished butchery but I do want a functional hybrid.

    All the threads I can find on TB describe adding partial frets during the build but not removing part of the fret after the build.

    I'm thinking of rigging a dremel saw to float above the fret board to cut where I want the fret to end then drilling at the cut point within the fret slot to make a weak point to bend/break the portion I want off.

    Dressing the end will be slow and laborious but the least om my concerns.

    I'm in the thinking stage right now and I'm not a luthier. Any pointers on how not to self destruct
    are greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Masks, people, masks!
    Song Surgeon slow downer.
    Seems like you should remove the frets, fill the d/g fret lines, cut frets to size and reinstall.
     
  3. craigie

    craigie

    Nov 11, 2015
    calgary
    Sounds like a nightmare hack job in the making ;););)

    It may be easier for you to pull out the frets after heating with a soldering iron and install them again over the E and A strings and then cut the extra off and file down. Then you have to level and crown of course so that's where the extra time would come in....
     
    nice_hat and tubestuff like this.
  4. My first thought is that pulling and trimming the frets and then reinstalling them then filling the remaining portion of the fret slot with verneer would be the way to go. I think you're going to have a hard time pulling out a partial fret without seriously damaging the fretboard.
     
  5. tubestuff

    tubestuff

    Aug 14, 2013
    San Pedro, CA
    Damn guys, Thanks!
    I'm ashamed to say that never occurred to me. It seems logical. Glad I asked. 3 concurring votes in a row in agreement on TB!
    In the long run, less work and better end product, I'll do it.

    I've never popped frets before, it kinda scares me but this bass is the one to learn on. On to YouTube.

    Really appreciate y'all sharing your time and expertise!
     
  6. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Like others have said, I think the safest way to do this would be to defret, fill the fret lines partially under the D/G, sand back the board with a radius block and then refret the partial slots. If this were me, I'd cut the frets a little long and then trim, shape and polish one end. Then I'd install them with the finished end in the middle of the fretboard, and the trim the outside and level and polish like normal.

    It will also need a custom nut, or at least some work to it. Also, just a thought but it may be a little tricky to finger as the d/g will be quite a bit lower than the strings with frets.

    Search for @BassCycle 's threads as he's built some fretted fretless hybrids like this....
     
    nice_hat and tubestuff like this.
  7. tubestuff

    tubestuff

    Aug 14, 2013
    San Pedro, CA
    Hi Beej,
    Thanks for your ideas.
    Dumb question, the sanding of the board, is that to remove blemishes (rips, tears?) created during the fret removal process mainly?

    I've fashioned a few nuts (fretless, fretted, upright) so I think I can mangle that.

    Do you have a favorite fret fill material to use. I just want to have some lines & don't even want to think about a contrasting color wood inlay solution. Unless I'm shamed into... trying... ugh.
     
  8. T_Bone_TL

    T_Bone_TL

    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    I suppose "simply" grinding/filing off the part of the fret you don't want (leaving the tang as fill and line) would be impractical or not all that "simple?" Not really a process I've given much thought to, I freely admit.
     
    tubestuff likes this.
  9. tubestuff

    tubestuff

    Aug 14, 2013
    San Pedro, CA
    Hi T_Bone,
    That makes a consensus of four in a row. Appreciate your time & input.

    Like I mentioned previously, the correct (better) solution never occurred to me. It just made sense to my untrained eye to remove less as opposed to all of the fret.

    I love this site.
     
  10. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    As primarily a fretless player who now plays fretted about 20% of the time, here I my thoughts from a playability perspective...

    If half of the fingerboard is fretted and the other half not, there will be a step up at the nut and bridge to accommodate the frets under the E/A strings. This will feel very strange under both hands and will also create pickup imbalance issues (unless you restrict yourself to split P pickups. Have you considered adding a fingerboard 'veneer' (of thickness equal to fret height) to bring the fretless side up to the height of the fret crowns?
    1506581579006-2055481758.jpg
     
  11. tubestuff

    tubestuff

    Aug 14, 2013
    San Pedro, CA
    Thanks Steve! Took me a couple of reads to finally get it.

    What got me going on this was that in some of my band's songs, they scream for small fretless fills.
    I checked out the two Ibanez hybrids and didn't notice a board level difference.

    I'll have to research that thought process. Since I'm trying to be down and dirty it sounds like an excellent solution if the feel throws me off.
    Thanks!
    I'm loving these ideas.
     
    SteveCS likes this.
  12. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    @SteveCS has a good point, that's also what I was getting at by my comment about the difference in string height. On most hybrids I've seen, the fretboard is higher on the fretless side, around even with the fret height on the other side. This is for the same reasons as described above. That said, it would only really be a problem if you are planning to make runs from fretted to fretless, but I'd also suspect you'd probably just get used to the difference in heights. How the pickups can work with both heights is a different question. You'd have to basically just balance them out as best you could, and potentially the A and D strings might not get as much volume as the E and G. It would be something you'd just have to explore...
     
    tubestuff likes this.
  13. tubestuff

    tubestuff

    Aug 14, 2013
    San Pedro, CA
    Nice rendering by the way. Where'd you get those drafting skills? Not in music class...
     
  14. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Thanks. My grandmother was a semi-professional portrait and wildlife artist and my father was (still is I suppose) a world class mechanical engineer so I was surrounded by high quality art and design for most of my youth. I studied engineering design and art to a reasonable level at school/college, but in the end music and software engineering got the better of me.
     
    tubestuff likes this.
  15. nbsipics

    nbsipics Unstuck in Time Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2016
    Ibanez Ashula ( now shipping at Sweetwater ). Not exactly what you are doing, but I like visuals :)
     
    tubestuff likes this.
  16. tubestuff

    tubestuff

    Aug 14, 2013
    San Pedro, CA
    Thanks Beej,
    Between you and @SteveCS I'm beginning to see the geometry challenge. Not just a dimensional change from fretted string to fretless but also string height to pup.

    Not to overstay my welcome but can you point me to some veneer ideas? Never purchased or used any. Home Depot?
    Just need a little... I think?

    Can't tell you how much I appreciate the feedback.
     
  17. tubestuff

    tubestuff

    Aug 14, 2013
    San Pedro, CA
    Listening to the Ashula demos is what pushed me into this minor quest. When we're gigging we have a lot of air in the music dynamics (no keyboard) that a few well placed fretless atmospherics (?) would just sing. I'm not yet good enough to just use fretless and this looked like the best cheat. :bag:
     
  18. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Just out of curiosity: Your thread calls this a reverse hybrid. I get the hybrid part of it with half the board being fretted and the other being fretless, but what is "reverse" about it?

    Not being snarky, just wondering if I'm missing something.
     
    tubestuff likes this.
  19. tubestuff

    tubestuff

    Aug 14, 2013
    San Pedro, CA
    Hi Silky,
    Not missing anything.
    All the threads I looked at on TB describe adding partial frets during the build but I couldn't find info on removing part of the fret after the build. It seemed I was trying to a backwards (reverse) deconstruction to achieve an ends.
    Didn't really know how to accurately bumper sticker my thoughts in the title.
     
  20. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    The current one does have a higher fingerboard under the fretless strings. Slightly taller than the frets, to allow it do be dressed at least once before the sanding block would hit the frets.

    2223.jpg

    Also the separate pickup systems allow the volume to be adjusted separately for each set of strings. As well as allowing for tone differences.
     
    kumimajava and tubestuff like this.

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