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  • Fretted Jazz -convert-> Fretless Jazz

    I'm trying to convert a squier jazz bass into a fretless. I've found a few different ways to go about this business, though.
    Some sites recommend gluing in pieces of wood and then filing them down and what not. Others recommend wood filler or some sort of resin or epoxy.
    I'd like to just fill the holes with some sort of liquid, as that sounds a lot less pain-staking. However, I want to know what your recommendations are. Does one method yield better results than the other? I don't want to do this half way.
    Any other tips you might be able to provide would be appreciated. All I've done so far is the actual removal of the frets.
    <div class="signaturecontainer"><font color="DarkRed"><i>Three-Five-Oh-One-Two-Five-Go</i></font></div>

  • #2
    Depends on how involved you want to get. You can fill the slots with plastic wood or such-like, then dress the fingerboard with a radiused sanding block. Stew Mac has this available for cheap.
    <div class="signaturecontainer">Matt<br />
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    • #3
      I'm trying to convert a squier jazz bass into a fretless. I've found a few different ways to go about this business, though.
      Some sites recommend gluing in pieces of wood and then filing them down and what not. Others recommend wood filler or some sort of resin or epoxy.
      I'd like to just fill the holes with some sort of liquid, as that sounds a lot less pain-staking. However, I want to know what your recommendations are. Does one method yield better results than the other? I don't want to do this half way.
      Any other tips you might be able to provide would be appreciated. All I've done so far is the actual removal of the frets.


      Wood veneer or plastic (styrene) are the way to go for filling in the slots. This maintains the strength of the neck and gives you very clean lines. Liquid fillers will make for a sloppy job.

      Here's pics with descriptions and some tips of my bass that I defretted about a year ago:

      http://picasaweb.google.ca/lawriemann/DouglasWEB825NADeFrettingProject#

      As far as finishing the fretboard (assuming rosewood), pure lemon oil will work just fine if you plan on using flat or tape wound strings. There are players who like to use round wound strings and will apply an epoxy finish to the fretboard to prevent long term wear.

      Hope this helps.
      <div class="signaturecontainer">Mr. Lawrie Mann: Toronto, Canada<br />
      <a href="http://www.dropbox.com/gallery/55640450/1/Gear?h=8a5ab1" target="_blank">My Gear</a></div>

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      • #4
        Or you could just order a neck from a manufacturer. I've got a Warmouth neck on my Fender Jazz Plus. Also, I don't like the lines left on a converted neck. (My first bass was fretless, so I'm probably prejudiced about it.)

        You didn't mention the fingerboard material. Rosewood? I've seen one out of Maple. (Gotta use flatwounds with that. I usually use flatwounds anyway.)

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        • #5
          I did a Jazz conversion using epoxy and tattoo ink to colour it black. If you search through threads that I started, you should find it at some point. Use my name and the word fretless in a search, it will speed it up a lot for you in finding it.

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          • #6
            Wood filler is the easiest way to go. But keep in mind that it "shrinks" a bit after it dries. So you may need to repeat once or twice to really fill in the slots before sanding the board down.

            I didn't know this when I de-fretted my first bass. I just filled in the slots, waited a couple of hours, lightly sanded the board, and then covered it in polyurethane. I ended up with shallow depressions (trenches) over the fret slots as the wood filler shrank down.

            Lesson learned. Use multiple coats of wood filler. Leave plenty of time for each coat to dry. Then do your final sinding and finishing.

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            • #7
              Wood veneer or plastic (styrene) are the way to go for filling in the slots. This maintains the strength of the neck and gives you very clean lines. Liquid fillers will make for a sloppy job.




              I used superglue. Functionally it's fine, but it is a little sloppy if you look close enough.

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              • #8
                I ripped out the frets with pliers and a thin screwdriver, Elmer's Wood Putty (<$5 at Wally World) a couple coats, then semi-gloss tung oil. The whole project was under $10 and turned out function-able.

                Not pretty as the putty and wood don't match, but I gig with mine/have recorded etc.
                <div class="signaturecontainer">I write for a website: <a href="http://guitarvideochannel.com/" target="_blank">http://guitarvideochannel.com/</a></div>

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                • #9
                  I know I'm reviving something that fell off the map a while ago, but there really isn't any reason for me to start up a new thread.
                  So: I got the frets out a couple weeks ago. I've been slowly scrounging for the materials for the rest of this project.
                  I picked up some 1/32 in. basswood to use as filler. The local hobby shops only had this and balsa. If this stuff is crap, just tell me and I'll toss it in the trash. It only cost me about a dollar.

                  I've got glue to get it nice and tight in there, and I pretty much have the rest of the materials I might need in my garage.
                  Now, where do I get some lemon oil? I don't know if that's going to be found at the local DIY or at the supermarket...
                  <div class="signaturecontainer"><font color="DarkRed"><i>Three-Five-Oh-One-Two-Five-Go</i></font></div>

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                  • #10
                    I picked up some 1/32 in. basswood to use as filler. The local hobby shops only had this and balsa. If this stuff is crap, just tell me and I'll toss it in the trash. It only cost me about a dollar.


                    Balsa is too soft, but basswood should be fine. As long as it's dense and doesn't compress.

                    Now, where do I get some lemon oil? I don't know if that's going to be found at the local DIY or at the supermarket...


                    You can get pure lemon oil at a hardware store. That's where I bought mine.
                    <div class="signaturecontainer">Mr. Lawrie Mann: Toronto, Canada<br />
                    <a href="http://www.dropbox.com/gallery/55640450/1/Gear?h=8a5ab1" target="_blank">My Gear</a></div>

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                    • #11
                      Awesome. Thanks for the help and advice, everyone. I'm pretty confident I can pull this off, now that I know I've got the right materials.
                      <div class="signaturecontainer"><font color="DarkRed"><i>Three-Five-Oh-One-Two-Five-Go</i></font></div>

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