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Thinking about making my own fretless, any suggestions?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Grunge_Rocker, Aug 7, 2004.

  1. I am thinking about buying a Squier, or a cheaper Ibanez or Yamaha. Then pull the frets out of it and make my own fretless bass. Anybody tried this? What would you suggest for pulling the frets out?
  2. Fred Labbidie

    Fred Labbidie Guest

    Apr 22, 2004
    I'm not the world's most do-it-yourself guy; but I wouldn't recommend you doing this. Most companies offer an inexpensive fretless. Just get one of those.
    After you pull the frets, the fingerboard may need to be worked on, or may be damaged by pulling up the frets. I know Jaco did this, and it's the stuff of legends; but to the best of my knowledge, he also had a very good luthier work on his basses. On the the other hand......
  3. ZonMaster


    Jun 18, 2004
    maybe Kansas
    The Squier Fretless Method:
    materials needed: pliers, Hefty bag, coffee can.
    1. use surgical pliers or hammer/chisel, whatever is handy.
    2. carefully twist frets free from fingerboard, you don't want to scratch your hand tools.
    3. gently rest Squier inside Hefty bag. Careful, the bag WILL tear.
    4. put frets in coffee can and store on your "just in case" shelf in the garage.

    Ta-Da! It's just that easy to rescue those frets! :bag:

    I'm just playin'. I would just buy a cheap fretless that didn't require butchering.
  4. It would be easier, and cheaper, to buy a fretless Yamaha RBX or BB. Those are considered to be a great bang for the buck.
    But sure, if you want to do things the hard way, be my guest. ;)
  5. Clickety
    Clickety click click

    There's two links on how to do it. I think you know the idea of how to do it, but it's always good to have links.

    I, myself, wanna do this too. Yeah, there are cheap fretlesses out there you can buy without the labor, but I guess the feeling of doing this yourself has some kinda "magic" to it.
  6. I would highly recommend the iron approach as indicated by the second link above. I did not see that the tape helped, so I quite using it halfway through. I would also highly recommend the following link


    I used the 0.020" styrene strips bought at a hobby store with the superglue. Just don't let it get on the back of the neck. The bass looks every bit as good as a manufactured fretless with the styrene. I've seen other converted fetlesses with wood filler that looks sloppy.

    I also tried refinishing the fretboard to get hard surface to protect the fretboard, but eventually have resanded down to bare wood, cause it sounds so much better with the roundwounds on the bare rosewood.

    I used a very long hand plane (without the blade) with fine sand paper which allowed me to get a very level fretboard.
  7. elgranluis


    Feb 14, 2003
    El paso, TX
    i think your best alternative is to buy a good fretless neck for your fender. It would cost the same or less than a new bass....
  8. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Heat the fret up with a soltering (sp) iron first. That will loosen to glue. Pry up a corner of the fret with a small flathead screwdriver. Then carefully pull out with needle nosed pliers. I found that twisting, while more effective, increases your chances of marring the fingerboard. Then tap toothpicks into the gaps. I've found that the neck may start to warp over time without something dense to fill the hole. Then woodfiller, light sanding, and some stain to make the filler match better if you want. I've done this several times and had good success with this method.