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Who here has defretted a maple fretboard?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by fourstringbliss, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    Anybody here defret a bass with a maple fretboard? What did you use for a fingerboard coating? Did you sand of all of the poly/lacquer or did you just apply a finish on top of it?

    I'm asking because I'm defretting a bass with a maple fretboard. I want to do a super glue fretboard finish but I'd rather not sand all the poly off. Do you think the superglue would bond sufficiently with scuffed poly to make a strong enough bond to withstand fretless playing?
  2. JimB52

    JimB52 User Supporting Member

    May 24, 2007
    East Coast
    I defretted mine in the '70s. (1970 Telecaster) I sanded off all the poly. Used Ultraspar Marine Varnish to coat the fingerboard. It has held up pretty well, although the bass has been semi-retired for years.
  3. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    Hmm. I'd rather not sand all the poly off, but I'm willing if that's what I have to do. I have a radiused sanding block coming in the mail today which should make the sanding part easier.
  4. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    You can cut the poly on either side with a razor, then heat the fret a bit and pull up and hope for the best, but I'd take it to a pro. Also keep in mind the replacement frets will need to it in the gaps left by the old frets if you're not going to sand down the fingerboard; wider frets will sit off of the fingerboard otherwise. I'd sand it smooth and throw a lacquer over it, then clean off the frets when dressing. I've done it before, but not without sanding the fingerboard.
  5. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I'm not actually refretting it but making it a fretless. The frets are actually coming out pretty easily and I'll be filling the fret slots with styrene plastic strips. I want to have a finish on the resulting fingerboard - I'm just trying to find out if I need to remove the poly that is there or can I finish over it.
  6. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    I did and ruined it. Complete idiot I was. Don't bother

  7. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    From everything I've seen and read, whether its maple or rosewood or whatever, there's easy ways to defret, and right ways to defret. It seems like too big a risk if you care at all about a bass, if you're not a pro.
  8. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I actually bought the tools I would need and feel pretty confident about it. It could be a real disaster if it was done with the wrong stuff. It should be pretty easy with what I've got. I just need to know whether I need to sand off the poly or if I could super glue over the poly.