#1
Long story short, played a used fretless bass a few days ago. Loved it, in the process of buying it, and as a project down the road I'm interested in building a fretless partscaster. Every strat neck I can find though has the frets pre-installed. Does anyone know of any guides or videos detailing how to remove frets from a neck and fill in the gaps?
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#3
These folk can help you out.

http://www.unfretted.com
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#4
Quote by jpnyc at #33506670
Buy a Warmoth neck and have them leave the frets off.


Is that an option? Last time I spec'd out a neck on their site, I couldn't add it to the cart until I specified the frets I wanted on it.

Quote by dannyalcatraz at #33506671
These folk can help you out.

http://www.unfretted.com


Well this looks like it fits the bill pretty well.
THE FORUM UPDATE KILLED THE GRADIENT STAR

Baltimore Orioles: 2014 AL Eastern Division Champions, 2017: 75-87
Baltimore Ravens: 2012 World Champions, 2017: 4-5
2017 NFL Pick 'Em: 92-54
#5
Quote by necrosis1193
Is that an option? Last time I spec'd out a neck on their site, I couldn't add it to the cart until I specified the frets I wanted on it.


It’s not built into the site, but IIRC they’ll do it if you contact them and ask for it.
#6
Don't bother with a partscaster; it's just as cheap to simply buy one.

Fretless basses and guitars: http://www.rondomusic.com/cgi-rondomusic/sb/productsearch.cgi?storeid=*0c1421a8d614cc26

Here's a strat: http://www.rondomusic.com/ST625ebbkflamefl.html



This one's $369, which is pretty close to what you're going to pay for a Warmoth neck (depending on what options you add).

Also worth considering, if you're thinking about building a partscaster, is a Carvin hardtail kit. About $439 for all the pieces you're going to need (including body, neck, pickups, etc.). http://www.carvinguitars.com/catalog/kits/gk1 (there are also kits with trems, etc.). The standard fretboard is ebony, and they'll certainly take orders for fretless versions.
Last edited by dspellman at Jul 17, 2015,
#7
I'm not a fan of Rondo's guitars. I want something that can stand toe-to-toe with my American Standard, and every single guitar I've played by Agile or SX or the other brands that Rondo stocks felt like a Mexican stratocaster or an Epi LP Standard to me. Not a bad guitar, but nothing special, not something I'd spend hundreds of dollars on, and certainly not on-par with what I want out of a guitar. If people like them, cool, but they're not for me.

As for the Carvin kit, I actually own a Carvin, and honestly, I'm not a fan of their necks. Too skinny for my tastes. Buying the body and some other parts from them makes sense, but the neck's a no-go from Carvin in all likelihood.
THE FORUM UPDATE KILLED THE GRADIENT STAR

Baltimore Orioles: 2014 AL Eastern Division Champions, 2017: 75-87
Baltimore Ravens: 2012 World Champions, 2017: 4-5
2017 NFL Pick 'Em: 92-54
#8
Quote by necrosis1193

As for the Carvin kit, I actually own a Carvin, and honestly, I'm not a fan of their necks. Too skinny for my tastes. Buying the body and some other parts from them makes sense, but the neck's a no-go from Carvin in all likelihood.


I'm not sure what your relationship with Carvin has been in the past, but you should be aware that Carvin has been building custom neck profiles for folks for some time. I actually own seven Carvins and the necks are all different. You should contact them about that.

One of the things that we generally ask you to fill us all in on when you begin requesting information is budget (see the sticky at the beginning of the forum) so that we know where you want to play. When you tell us you want to build a "partscaster," we're not aware that you're looking for something to stand "toe to toe with your American Standard."

In that case, why not buy an American Standard fretless?
#9
Quote by dspellman at #33506795
I'm not sure what your relationship with Carvin has been in the past, but you should be aware that Carvin has been building custom neck profiles for folks for some time. I actually own seven Carvins and the necks are all different. You should contact them about that.


My understanding was that, ever since they moved to CNC machines, they used a uniform neck profile outside of signature models that request a thinner or thicker neck like the Jason Becker or Frank Gambale, respectively. This is news to me if this isn't the case.

One of the things that we generally ask you to fill us all in on when you begin requesting information is budget (see the sticky at the beginning of the forum) so that we know where you want to play. When you tell us you want to build a "partscaster," we're not aware that you're looking for something to stand "toe to toe with your American Standard."


I'm aware, hence why I didn't ask for advice on where to buy an ebanol fingerboard or recommendations on good places to buy bodies or pickups or what would be the best place to buy a custom fretless neck. All I asked for were resources on fretless non-bass guitars/how to turn a fretted guitar into a fretless guitar so I could get a feel for the challenges of the project and what may need to be done. The project isn't happening for at least a year until I pay off my student loans, so budget and all that are unclear I didn't mention specifics because I don't know the specifics yet. I'm setting out to buy a car and I know I want something with six cylinders and bluetooth, I don't know yet how big I need it to be, what kind of MPG I need, if I need AWD, etc., etc. I don't have the details, I just have the general idea. I'm getting resources so I can figure out the details.

In that case, why not buy an American Standard fretless?


I was unaware they made those? Every search through Fender's lineup on any website or searching the word "fretless" through their inventory turned up no strats.
THE FORUM UPDATE KILLED THE GRADIENT STAR

Baltimore Orioles: 2014 AL Eastern Division Champions, 2017: 75-87
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2017 NFL Pick 'Em: 92-54
Last edited by necrosis1193 at Jul 18, 2015,
#10
I would treat myself to a pair of Stewmac fret pliers ( I made mine, but that needs tools) and a relatively inexpensive neck and start pulling frets. I'm sure there are vids that will explain how to do this.

I once started a lap steel project that would have involved a pre-slotted board, in which I planned to fill the slots with contrasting guitar body edge binding. I bought all the parts, a maple board and some black binding, but got distracted by other projects. In your case I would use a rosewood or ebony board. Rosewood would be easier to defret, ebony would look better after filling in any chips and would be harder. I would then either use black or white binding to fill the frets, depending on whether I wanted contrast or not. I would next fill any gaps or chips with epoxy, which would be next to invisible once it had set and been sanded back, especially if contrasting fret markers were used. You could try just filling the slots with epoxy and even matching wood dust, but I think it would look untidy. Tempera (powder) paint could work well, I've used black tempera mixed with epoxy to make ebony filler that really was invisible in small areas. I think that an ebony board with white markers and tempera epoxy filler could look flawless if done carefully.
#11
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#12
Quote by necrosis1193

The project isn't happening for at least a year until I pay off my student loans, so budget and all that are unclear I didn't mention specifics because I don't know the specifics yet. I'm setting out to buy a car and I know I want something with six cylinders and bluetooth, I don't know yet how big I need it to be, what kind of MPG I need, if I need AWD, etc., etc. I don't have the details, I just have the general idea. I'm getting resources so I can figure out the details.


Well the good news is that we have, nonetheless, gotten an idea of your focus and intention.

I should point out that playing a fretless bass and playing a fretless guitar are VERY different, and that you *really* want to spend a month or two with a fretless guitar before spending money on one. A fretless bass exists largely because there are folks who transition from a double bass or cello (which are, of course, fretless) and who are comfortable with the feeling. Fretless guitar is not an extension of the fretless bass concept; it's a completely different animal. And given the way we play guitars in the modern idiom, you need to realize that a lot of things don't translate to fretless.

My heartfelt suggestion is that you pick one of the cheapo fretless guitars from someone like Rondo, try it for a couple of months and then turn around and resell it. At the very least, you'll have a better idea what you're getting yourself into rather than spending the money for a Warmoth neck and other bits for a good partscaster and then realizing that it was a bust of an idea.

You're going to have the same issues with a car. What you *think* you know will change rapidly, if it's anything like my experience. Here in SoCal, folks own three-ton SUVs with monster V8s and AWD and drive them 99% of the time with just a single driver in the beast and while they justify them as "all round and just in case...", what they really like is sitting above the crowd (except that there are so many SUVs that they're at the same height as most of "the crowd") and having a lot of metal around them. Those things are rarely particularly crashworthy, nor can they get out of their own way, but logic doesn't enter into it. In an accident, most of them roll over and leave their owners dangling from a seat belt with wilted airbags deployed. We just had a spike in gas prices here in SoCal from around $3.19 (at my local CostCo) to nearly $5 a gallon -- in one 24-hour period. The folks who rushed to buy a big porker when the gas prices dropped several months ago are paying a couple of hundred bucks to fill their tanks and wondering what happened. Duh.

Even the minor things you think you know (6-cylinders and Bluetooth) are subject to rapid change.

I just re-spec'd an engine for a car build (don't ask) from a 5-liter V8 to a twin-turbo V6 that has more horsepower, better gas mileage and a much better torque curve as well as lower weight. New turbocharged engines using new materials have changed the game very quickly.

I just drove a BMW I8. I own a Lamborghini (4-liter V12, five speed, etc.) that I picked up cheap years ago. My engine dynoed around 360bhp. It'll do 165+ and gets about 12-14 mpg if I baby things. The i8 is a very fast, lightweight sports car with a plug-in hybrid setup featuring a three cylinder 1.5L turbocharged gas engine and some electrical bits that together produce around 357 bhp and 420 lbs-feet of torque, LaFerrari-style. It launches 0-60 in about 3.5 seconds, and has limiters that keep it down to 155 mph. Gas mileage varies somewhere between 43 and 76 mpg with a 300+ mile range.

http://www.bmwusa.com/bmw/bmwi/i8

The old Lambo has become worth silly money over the years to collectors. I can sell it and buy three I8s. Things change.

Bluetooth is probably a decent bet, but you can bet that within three years newer technology will obsolete it. Eight-tracks, cassette players, CD players, sat radio are all examples of tech that dates the cars they live in.

Quote by necrosis1193

I was unaware they made those? Every search through Fender's lineup on any website or searching the word "fretless" through their inventory turned up no strats.


I have an office in Corona right across the parking lot from the Fender Museum (I'm not at that office all that often). If I get a chance I'll walk over.

Not Everything Is On The Internet.

You might also check with Wild West Guitars in Riverside. They handle the top-end Fender stuff and Suhr and others. They get stuff that doesn't show up in catalogs. And they Can Get Stuff that doesn't show up anywhere. No junk. No loss leaders, no christmas specials.

They're probably not going to have a fretless anything in stock, because, "Who the hell plays a fretless guitar these days?" But it can be got.
#13
I should point out that playing a fretless bass and playing a fretless guitar are VERY different, and that you *really* want to spend a month or two with a fretless guitar before spending money on one. A fretless bass exists largely because there are folks who transition from a double bass or cello (which are, of course, fretless) and who are comfortable with the feeling. Fretless guitar is not an extension of the fretless bass concept; it's a completely different animal. And given the way we play guitars in the modern idiom, you need to realize that a lot of things don't translate to fretless.


As a former cellist myself, I'll echo this. Playing technique in those instruments generally doesn't involve playing more than 1-2 notes simultaneously- in part because of the extreme curvature of the fingerboards- and, of course, having 2 fewer strings.

Still wanna get my Vigier Surfreter, though.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#14
Quote by dspellman at #33507251
Well the good news is that we have, nonetheless, gotten an idea of your focus and intention.

I should point out that playing a fretless bass and playing a fretless guitar are VERY different, and that you *really* want to spend a month or two with a fretless guitar before spending money on one. A fretless bass exists largely because there are folks who transition from a double bass or cello (which are, of course, fretless) and who are comfortable with the feeling. Fretless guitar is not an extension of the fretless bass concept; it's a completely different animal. And given the way we play guitars in the modern idiom, you need to realize that a lot of things don't translate to fretless.

My heartfelt suggestion is that you pick one of the cheapo fretless guitars from someone like Rondo, try it for a couple of months and then turn around and resell it. At the very least, you'll have a better idea what you're getting yourself into rather than spending the money for a Warmoth neck and other bits for a good partscaster and then realizing that it was a bust of an idea.


You know, that is actually a completely legitimate point. Well said.

And I'm aware of the differences between fretless and fretted in terms of playing style, particularly the fact that a lot of chord shapes just don't work on it. But something about the fretless bass just felt so right that I'm sure it'll click on the guitar. Like you said though, better safe than sorry.

Come to think of it though, I do have a telecaster I never play anymore...what about swapping its neck?

I have an office in Corona right across the parking lot from the Fender Museum (I'm not at that office all that often). If I get a chance I'll walk over.

Not Everything Is On The Internet.

You might also check with Wild West Guitars in Riverside. They handle the top-end Fender stuff and Suhr and others. They get stuff that doesn't show up in catalogs. And they Can Get Stuff that doesn't show up anywhere. No junk. No loss leaders, no christmas specials.

They're probably not going to have a fretless anything in stock, because, "Who the hell plays a fretless guitar these days?" But it can be got.


Let me know what you find. Searching "fretless" turned up nothing, but it could just not be listed.
THE FORUM UPDATE KILLED THE GRADIENT STAR

Baltimore Orioles: 2014 AL Eastern Division Champions, 2017: 75-87
Baltimore Ravens: 2012 World Champions, 2017: 4-5
2017 NFL Pick 'Em: 92-54