Would this be wise?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Ryan Berry, Jul 2, 2002.

  1. i have a fretted 4 string and a fretted 6 string. I would really like a fretless 6 but i am 15 and another bass is out of the question right now. I was wondering if defretting the 6 woul be a wise decision because it is a Cort Curbow. It has an ebanol fingerboard and i dont know how ieal that would be for fretless and it isnt really would so i just dont know. I've played the fretless cort curbows before but htey dont come in 6s. I would really appreciate some help.

    Also, how much would it cost to get this one by a pro?
  2. The ultimate value of such a mod will be up to you - we can't answer that for you. But as to whether it could be done? Sure, as a matter of fact, it might turn out better than the same thing done on a wood fretboard. Ebonal is more like early hard rubber bowling balls. A black epoxy would work well to fill the slots. You can even polish this material and it would look great.

    My only concern after all that is whether the frets will come out easily. Without the "give and take" fit that frets have in wood I assume that Cort had to glue the frets in (IMBW). If they did, this is going to be an interesting mod.

    I, for one, would love to give it a try.
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Me too. Ship it to me. If I don't destroy it, I'll ship it back when I am done.

    Pro would probably charge $150-200.

  4. do you think it would be harder to damage than a rosewood board when pulling frets because there isnt any "wood" to splinter? Should i do this myself?
  5. Like bone said, the frets are probably glued in.

    Depending on the type of fretwire used, it might not slplinter when the frets are pulled. On most wooden fretboards, the frets have "teeth" on the sides that grip into the wood. These teeth cause the wood to splinter. Get a soldering iron and heat up the frets to melt the glue, and I recommend getting a set of fret pullers. They are available from StewMac, but a similar tool can be found at your local Home Depot. A pair of toa nail clippers can be used succesfully, or so I've read.

    Any way, heat up each fret for about 60 seconds to melt the glue, then carefully ease the fret out of the slot. If you don't have a soldering iron, a hair curling iron will work also.

    I've never worked with ebanol, so I can't say for sure what the end result will be.

    Being young (and probably broke, I know I was at 15) paying a pro $200 for a defret is probably not in your budget. I'd say go for it. At most, you'll spend $50 total, and that is if you've got no tools to use.

    I too, would love to give it a shot. But I guess that is easy to say whewn it is someone elses bass.
  6. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    you may be right in the assumption that it would not splinter. I would be afraid that if something did come out, it would be a really large chunk rather than a splinter like rosewood.

    Heating the frets up does help. Be sure to test in an inconspicuous area to see how the resin-based board reacts to the heat. It may be that the heating of the frets will also heat the resin around it and it will come right out.

    You can always test it. Take out the highest fret first. It can always be replaced and isn't used a huge amount anyway.
  7. Thanks for the advice, i think i'll do it. I'll post pics when it's finished.
  8. One more question, should i remove the neck first or just keep it attached? I think it would be more stable on the body.
  9. It is my preferance to remove the neck. I don't see anything wrong with keeping it on, versus removing it.

    If you're worried about stability, keep it on. Do whatever feels more comfortable to you.

    I didn't have any stability problem with the neck just sitting on my workbench.
  10. ok what should i fill the slots with? Will wood filler expand an contract with weather like a piece of wood? Should i get pieces of maple and glue them in or something in a tube?
  11. I use a wood putty. It is basically sawdust mixed with epoxy. It bonds with the wood, and is pretty stable and solid when it dries.

    You can also cut veneer wood to fit in the slots, and glue them in.

    Do you plan on coating the fingerboard with anything? I use a polycrylic or polyurethane. The polycrylic can stand up to some major wear.

    But, since you have a ebanol fingerboard, wood filler may have a different result. I'd try to find some black epoxy, like hambone suggested, to fill the slots.
  12. will i be able to sand the epoxy or ebanol? If not, what should i o about making sure the board is smooth?
  13. Yes, you can use increasing grits to sand this stuff. You probably won't have to start with anything coarser than 220 and proceed from there. When you get to the point that finer grits seem a waste, you can then polish it like you would an oxidized car finish. I would expect the gloss to be fairly bright.

    Something else I would do is to mask off the wood part of the neck and sand the fingerboard wet. You don't have to immerse it, just keep it wet enough to float the dust. You might use a spritzer bottle to put just a little water on as you go. When the slurry you create gets a little sticky, wipe it off, spritz again and keep going. You won't hurt the wood with the water since you've masked it off and you'll extend the life and efficiency of your sandpapers. Oh, and by the way, only use automotive wet/dry papers for this - these are usually black or grey in color. The sandy, rust colored papers are for dry sanding wood only and won't take getting wet.

    Let us know how it goes.
  14. Ok i have all the frets out, they came out real easy with toenail clippers. Next is epoxy...
  15. epoxy's done, now we wait...
  16. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Toenail clippers are a great idea. Why didn't I think of that? :)
  17. Cause if you think anything like me there is no such thing as 'easy way" heehee.

    Seriously thats a good idea, i'll remember that.


  18. I just defretted my MM Ray clone with toe nail clippers and a razor blade. Not a ding in the board to be found.

    Seapickle, have you been taking pics of your progress? I'd love to see a step by step of your defretting job.
  19. No , i haven't, but i'll take some pictures of the finished product.