#1
Hey,

Thinking about removing my frets from my guitar to make it fretless. I've done a reasonable amount of reading and understand how to remove the frets... however I've read a number of different materials that are used to fill in the gaps left when the frets have been removed. Primarily, epoxy and wood filler, however there have been a few other methods mentioned as well. Can anyone clarify which filler would be best to use, or what are the reasons for using one vs. the other?
#2
Wood filler is generally quite brittle once dried, I wouldn't use it. Epoxy is good, but it can be a pain to work with.
IMO the best thing to do is to glue wooden veneers in each slot, using some regular wood glue.
#3
Just been doing a lot of reading up on the different filler methods... and so far I do like the idea of epoxy over wood filler, however I am now intrigued by veneers as well. I have seen this picture when it comes to using veneers as fillers:

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5216/5405323832_de1a1f075e.jpg

Is that an accurate depiction as how I would go about using veneers? If so, how do I then size them down to be small enough to just fill in the fret gaps? Cut with some sort of tool followed by a bunch of sanding on the top and sides of the fretboard/neck?
#4
Yeah, thats how you use the veneers. Once you've glued them in and its dried, you cut them with a sharp blade (Exacto/Stanley knife etc) close to the fretboard, then sand them down.

Epoxy over the top is the way to go, otherwise the strings will wear into the fretboard over time. Having had to re-sand/radius a fretless bass fretboard, its definitely not a fun job (especially with an ebony board, the dust gives you headaches!)
Last edited by littlephil at Dec 28, 2011,
#6
You can fill it with small binding material, so you'll still have the fret places to spot were you should play...
#7
Just throwing this out there.. there's a reason you don't see fretless guitars vs the number of fretless basses. It's practically impossible to play chords on a fretless that are in tune. If you plan on using this for leads/single note stuff that's fine but that's all it will be capable of doing.

I'd say epoxy is the way to go since it will be harder than the fretboard itself. Wood filler would just scrape away and/or shrink in the fret slots.
Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
2003 Gibson Flying V w/ Moon Inlay
2006 Fender All-American Partscaster
SVK ELP-C500 Custom

1964 Fender Vibro Champ
1989 Peavey VTM60

[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
#9
^Well, yes. You could play dyads and one finger chords without much problem (if you keep your finger perfectly straight). All of your slide tunings would work as well. If you're in Standard, good luck fretting something simple like an open Gmaj chord on the fly and having it tune. Something more complicated, like a simple Gmaj barre chord, would be a major pain to play in tune.
Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
2003 Gibson Flying V w/ Moon Inlay
2006 Fender All-American Partscaster
SVK ELP-C500 Custom

1964 Fender Vibro Champ
1989 Peavey VTM60

[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
#10
Thanks for all the input guys. Definitely did not consider how difficult it would be to play chords on a fretless... so I will have to give it a bit more thought before committing to it.
#11
On a fretted guitar you can put your fingers anywhere behind the fret to sound the chord, but on a fretless the pad of your finger has to be in the exact spot of the fret or it doesn't sound in tune. Think of a trombone player and his slide, it has to be dead on or it's off. And you'd be playing 5/6 trombones at once.
Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
2003 Gibson Flying V w/ Moon Inlay
2006 Fender All-American Partscaster
SVK ELP-C500 Custom

1964 Fender Vibro Champ
1989 Peavey VTM60

[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]