#1
Hi, I want to remove the frets off my old squier strat guitar and I had a look at some videos and they suggest using a soldering iron to heat the frets and then using a stanley knife and flathead screwdriver to gently lift and walk them out - is this complete bull or is that the right way to do it? Also I'm a bit sceptical about using a soldering iron cause i dont want to damage the wood or anything, is soldering iron the only way?

thank you for reading
#3
i want a fretless guitar so i can play turkish style sort of music on my guitar because its easy to reach quarter tones and that sort of thing on a fretless
#4
From experience, its really hard to try and convert a normal guitar to fretless.
I guess it would depend on how you plan to fill them back in, but you cant just use any old resin or polyfiller- gets too bumpy and makes sliding really difficult. If you are planning to use wooden plugs could be quite hard. May also throw out innotation, but thats not too big an issue.

If you make it work though, end result would be awesome
#7
Never tried the soldering iron/knife/screwdriver idea, but it seems like a bad one and you risk screwing up the fretboard.

Why not just use fret pullers? http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Fretting_supplies/Pullers,_nippers,_sizing/Fret_Puller.html

And yes, you would dam the slots, fill with resin, and then sand. But realize that converting a guitar to a fretless is tricky, tedious work and is usually not worth the end result. There's a reason people usually do it with basses and not guitars. But go for it if it's what you want to do... good luck
#8
Quote by rroastbeef
i want a fretless guitar so i can play turkish style sort of music on my guitar because its easy to reach quarter tones and that sort of thing on a fretless


OK that makes sense, but you might be better off just getting a new fretless neck without a wooden fret board. I heard that wooden fret boards get really eaten up when they don't have frets.
#9
I recently defretted a neck using the soldering iron/stanley knife method. Just be careful, go slow and make sure that the frets are heated up enough before prying them up. It might help to "score" under the frets at an angle before heating them, it worked for me. I used JB Weld to fill in the frets, and I'm currently working on making the body.
#10
Quote by P5ych0_Killer
Never tried the soldering iron/knife/screwdriver idea, but it seems like a bad one and you risk screwing up the fretboard.

Why not just use fret pullers? http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Fretting_supplies/Pullers,_nippers,_sizing/Fret_Puller.html

And yes, you would dam the slots, fill with resin, and then sand. But realize that converting a guitar to a fretless is tricky, tedious work and is usually not worth the end result. There's a reason people usually do it with basses and not guitars. But go for it if it's what you want to do... good luck


Soldering Iron is absolutely the best way to go in this scenario. Damage the fretboard?? what are you talking about? You have a higher risk of tearing out chunks of wood without heating the frets first. Make sure with electric guitars, you only use a soldering iron, as a soldering gun could, quite possibly, damage and demagnetize the pickups. Use a split tip, or chisel tip soldering iron to slowly heat up the length of the fret while following with a fret puller, if you hear it crackling as you pull up, it probably means you need to let it heat up the fret a tad bit more. Any chip out can be filled with left over dust, assuming you decide to level the fretboard (which you will have to in order to retain the original radius after filling the fret slots).
Once the frets are pulled out, dam up the slots and fill any chip-out with superglue and dust (assuming it's a rosewood fretboard.) It is at this point that, I myself, would use a dremel to evenly clean each slot to original depth, removing any excess glue from the original frets. I then would measure the width of the slots and fill them with shims of my choice and glue.
Chisel any excess shim being careful to not gouge the fretboard. If you think you can bring them flush, by all means go for it. Next, I would check for relief and adjust your truss so the neck is as close to dead straight as you can get it. Mark of the fretboard with a wax cran thoroughly. Begin the process of reestablishing your original radius with an 80 grit leveling block. Once all remnants of the wax cran are gone, remark the fretboard and use a 240 grit leveling bar until the wax cran is gone. I like to check every once in a while with my radius gauge to make sure i'm not losing my radius.
Once the fretboard is level, you can now clean it up with 320 grit, 400 grit, and 600 grit by hand, or if you prefer, use a razorblade to bring it to ship and shape. The last step is 0000 steel wool.

Now you can begin fitting your nut and adjusting your saddles.
Sorry if this post is a bit vague, I'm in a hurry to class, and don't really have too much time.
Hope this helps,
and good luck!
#11
thanks everyone for the advice, im going to keep going with this project, ive removed the frets now and there hasnt been any big chips out, how do you mean when you say dam up the frets?

also can i ask, can you play on a flat fretboard or do you need one with a radius?

nicknice: thank you for the article its not really what im looking for though im trying to convert my guitar as cheaply as i can without buying loads of tools.
#12
You want it to have a radius. It makes "fretting" easier on your hand and it helps the notes hold pitch when you bend.
#14
Quote by inkandlead
You want it to have a radius. It makes "fretting" easier on your hand and it helps the notes hold pitch when you bend.

Bending on a fretless is idiotic... If you're bending you're not really using it to its full potential.

I play a fretless that I converted myself so I guess I'm of some use here.. Personally I went for no radius as to me that's more comfortable, but it's personal preference. I tend to go for reasonably flat boards anyway.

What fretboard wood is this guitar? If it's anything other than ebony I'd suggest finishing/epoxying the whole board. IMO maple and rosewood are too soft for a fretless and your attack will suffer. Make sure you buy a high quality hard finish and not the "2 minute epoxy" crap you find in a hardware store, the best ones tend to take hours to harden (48hrs seems usual.) This is recommended: http://eti-usa.com/envirotex-lite/ but I used a different (similar) product.

You need to make sure you do a good job levelling the board and then another good job in finish sanding the neck after the finish has hardened (I tend to wait at least twice as long as the recommended "dry time" to ensure it's plenty hard enough.)

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#15
thank you power freak, my fretboard is rosewood so is what i have to do now fill slots with epoxy, wait until they harden, sand fretboard flat, apply finish to whole fretboard and sand again? sorry if i am being stupid here i am no expert in woodwork
#16
Quote by rroastbeef
thank you power freak, my fretboard is rosewood so is what i have to do now fill slots with epoxy, wait until they harden, sand fretboard flat, apply finish to whole fretboard and sand again? sorry if i am being stupid here i am no expert in woodwork

I filled the slots and did the board in one sitting.. I also didn't care about how it looked so I didn't bother with the sawdust/whatever. You just need to spend a bit of time forcing the finish down into the slots, as you should be using a slow drying product you should have more than enough time before it starts to harden.


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#17
Well oiled Rosewood will be fine with flatwound strings.. No need to ruin a perfectly good fingerboard with epoxy..