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show your diy defrets

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fishbrain, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. Fishbrain


    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    the good, the bad, and the ugly!
  2. fookgub


    Jun 5, 2005
    Houston, TX


    This was one of my first real lutherie-type projects. I don't have the bass anymore, though I occasionally (like right now) miss it. The defretting job turned out great, but, ironically, it was the reason I sold the bass. Turns out fretless just isn't my thing. I reconfirmed this about a year ago when I bought a fretless jazz, then flipped it within three weeks. In retrospect, I should have kept the jazz and gotten a fretted neck. The bass sounded great and I got it for dirt cheap.

    Anyway, I have a progress thread for my defretting job: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=191897
  3. MD-BassPlayer

    MD-BassPlayer Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I have no pictures as it was done almost 20 years ago, but I tried to defret my Cort headless with a staple remover after reading about a guy name Jaco. Screwed up the first fret so badly that I stopped and gave up. Young and stupid...
  4. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    I've never done a defret, but I bought one that was defretted that looked like this:


    I sanded off the putty covering the fretboard, and now it looks like this:




    You can see the guy who defretted it knew nothing about pulling frets, as he took a good bit of wood off with them.
  5. MAGUS®


    Dec 23, 2004
    After defret


    Before defret

  6. Gadolinium


    Feb 3, 2007
    Wiltshire UK
    My Yamaha RBX170. It was knocking around for ages, so i decided to take the plunge...



    Im pretty pleased with most of it, theres just a few frets that are slightly messy. But hey, sounds and plays good, so thats all that counts, right?
  7. Thangfish

    Thangfish ...overly qualified for janitorical deployment...

  8. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    No close-ups, but if you run your hand up and down the neck on this you won't feel a single chip or irregularity. The fret lines were filled with .020 styrene plastic. I also did the refin, which is silver undercoat and 7 top coats of acrylic lacquer.

  9. This is the only picture that I have of it, I have had people tell me it looks and feels factory.


  10. Spector_Ray


    Aug 8, 2004
    How do you keep the wood from chipping when you remove the frets?
  11. Masking tape on both sides of the frets, holds onto the wood that pulls out, then super glue it back in.

  12. Top Gear

    Top Gear

    Mar 15, 2006
    That looks good. Where did you get that veneer for filling the slots?
  13. fryBASS


    Aug 8, 2006
    New Haven, CT
    NOOOOO I thought I'd be the only one with a fretless RBX170 when I defret mine :mad:

    Oh well, now I know what it will look like.
  14. I've been kicking around the idea of buying a 2nd RBX170 to defret and be a sister to my current RBX170 (frets on it are too nice to pull)
  15. fookgub


    Jun 5, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I bought it online from, I think, Rockler. I didn't know any better back then. These days I would just head over to the local lumber yard and pick some up.
  16. VERY nice.
  17. MAGUS®


    Dec 23, 2004
    Yup - i did it all. Filling the fret gaps was done with a mixture of 2 pak epoxy, mixed with a jet back dye. I also widened the fret slots a bit to get a fatter width. The finish was achieved by wet sanding upto 1200 grade, then hand brushed on a PolyUrethane tinted laquer. Then flattened again upto 1200 grade and then T- Cut for ultra smooth feel and look. It was originally a laquered fingerboard and decdided to keep it that way

    Shame i sold it after all that :cool:
  18. I defretted my Squier a few years back. It's not a great job but it plays fine for my purposes. I've even gigged with it and it sounded okay (as good as my shoddy intonation would allow :D)



    One thing I like about it is the fact that the fret slots were filled with a rosewood veneer. The grain pattern is all wrong, obviously, so up close you can see where the frets are. From the crowd, though, it looks almost like an unlined fretless.
  19. To add to what iamlowsound posted, when I did my defret I also heated the frets before removal - some manufactures glue as well as "press" them in, and the hear helps to break the bond the glue has. Even if they don't, it still "plasticizes" the wood on either side of the fret and helps the fret ease out and lessen the chance of chipping. Also, $50 of "pro" tools ("fret nippers" for example) from Stewart-MacDonald will easily give you much more of a professional look as well as make the job that much easier.

    No current pics of mine, but I'd say it's on par with the others in this thread. A great learning experience as well. :D
  20. Fishbrain


    Dec 8, 2000
    England, Liverpool
    Endorsing Artist: Warwick Bass and Amp
    where did u get the rosewood from? thats prob what I'd wanna fill my frets with
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jan 22, 2021

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