switching fingerboard to fretless?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by small, heavy be, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. small, heavy be

    small, heavy be

    Apr 25, 2005
    So I really want to convert my acoustic to fretless, and I've been reading up on how to do it. it occurred to me that, if i'm going to be going through all that trouble anyway, maybe i could get a new fingerboard - something with a better (more exotic) wood. is it possible to completely switch out the fingerboard (instead of sanding down and lacquering the one i have)?
    how hard would it be?
  2. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    It is possible, some luthiers can replace the FB for you, but it is quite expensive. Easily in the hundreds of dollars-range if you take it to a reputable luthier.
  3. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    It might also be good to point out that "more exotic" does not always equal "better."

    Depending on how much you've got invested in the acoustic already, you're probably looking at $300+ to have a fretboard replaced. And, you won't be adding anywhere near $300+ in value to the instrument if you ever intend unloading it.
  4. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    While I believe it's physically possible to do so, nearly every luthier I've ever talked to about doing this really doesn't want to do it ..........
  5. small, heavy be

    small, heavy be

    Apr 25, 2005
    i guess i'll be pulling frets and sanding then . . .
  6. artistanbul

    artistanbul Nihavend Longa Vita Brevis

    Apr 15, 2003
    it is doable but doing it right is harder.
  7. KayCee


    Oct 4, 2004
    Shawnee, KS
    Considering the cost, and the fact the you might actually devalue the instrument by doing this, I suggest that you are probably better off selling the bass and buying a fretless bass.

    Even if you like this bass fretted, you might find that after all the trouble and expense, it doesn't have the fretless sound you're looking for. It's possible that a different wood combination, etc., would be preferable to your ears for a fretless.

  8. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    ***Very Important!***
    First read the instructions on how to properly defret in the Setup subforum!!!

    Otherwise you can easily ruin your bass.
  9. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I second this.
  10. rammsteinswrath


    Apr 26, 2005
    Just out of curiosity, can inlays affect the sound quality once the frets are removed? :confused: That could be an argument for a new fingerboard.
  11. Yes they can. The harder mop or abalone has a different attack than the wood underneath the string. The problem will come with the inconsistency all over the neck. If the inlays and wood surfaces all have the same coating, this might be minimized somewhat.