Post by thetragichero on Aug 3, 2019 21:44:11 GMT -5
met some fellas in Orlando last week to sell some gear i had listed on Craigslist. had some time to kill waiting so i went to guitar center (they're all about an hour from my house so i rarely set foot in one). played a fretless squier off the wall and besides the way too skinny strings i was surprised at how easy it was to riff on it (granted, i was playing unplugged by myself so who knows what my intonation was like) anyway i decided against messing with the mighty mite neck that's on my #1 because i like it and better not risk a good thing. looked at the usual places online and i found a listing on the bass forum from a month or so ago for an off-brand j neck for 25 bucks shipped! bonus: maple board, block inlays, and black binding! arrived today even though it wasn't expected until Monday. stripped it, pulled out the frets, flattened the back of the neck a bit and took a bit of wood off the g string side. filled the fret slots with wood putty, sanded down to 320 grit and kept alternating between that and ribbing with denatured alcohol until it was smooth. taped off the board and spread on two part epoxy (wanted to make it a bit more durable as I'm still going to use rounds on it). once properly cured i will sand flat and began spraying waterbased poly tinted to give a slightly aged yellow (the only downside to the varathane is that it's dead clear and will stay that way). will use a back tusq nut once i remember to order it
Looking forward to seeing the finished project. Nice color on the headstock too.
I first started digging fretless basses after getting into Bill Laswell's music. Then a buddy left his fretless Fender Jazz bass over my house for years, he finally picked it back up and now I miss it. They tend to have such a warm, organic, naturally compressed sound. I'll have to get one for myself sooner than later.
Last Edit: Aug 10, 2019 0:35:38 GMT -5 by solderburn
Post by thetragichero on Aug 10, 2019 8:08:26 GMT -5
headstock is sanded off because the blue would look weird with my metal flake pearl bass. think i just need to add a little more brown to the dye, maybe some red. it's a little yellow on the test spots in the neck pocket (there were 8 mounting holes i drilled out and filled with hardwood dowels so i figured I'd need to sand it down anyway) haven't gotten the chance to work on much of anything this week
Post by thetragichero on Aug 18, 2019 16:42:26 GMT -5
this waterbased poly is a dream. probably didn't *need* to wait the 24 hours between spraying and finish sanding but it worked out that way. buffed it out to gloss. recovering from a last minute call to fill in on bass at church so i probably won't get a chance tio drill the holes to attach to the body
Tragic, that's one seriously pretty fretboard fingerboard. I think you have just enough contrast between the wood and the fill where the frets once resided that you should be able to get some cues as to intonation without looking as if there are frets.
taped off the board and spread on two part epoxy (wanted to make it a bit more durable as I'm still going to use rounds on it).
Poly is tough but roundwound strings are still gonna chew into it faster than flats. On a fretted board, the strings essentially don't have much contact with the wood, but with the frets instead. Without frets it's string vs poly-coated wood. It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to predict the winner of those battles.
Not saying you shouldn't use rounds, just know what to expect.
Post by blademaster2 on Aug 21, 2019 16:14:42 GMT -5
Perhaps the brightness of rounds will not be as evident when playing on a fretless neck. The thing I always liked about fretless was the grainy, organic tone and of course the glissando. Rounds would also tend to squeak as you slide (which can be a desirable thing, but not always).
If it was mine, I might use flats at first - or even start with nylon-for-electric strings. Then I would 'graduate' to more damaging types of strings if the tone was not satisfactory.
Either way, that job you did looks amazing and I now wish I had tried something like that myself.
Post by sydsbluesky1 on Aug 27, 2019 23:04:02 GMT -5
I love the conversion! I have a few thoughts on the durability issue, but I'd be curious about the brands of poly and epoxy you used and how thick they ended up being. Not all of that waterbased stuff is created equal.
I'd expect the epoxy to be a more durable top surface, but being fretless I'm expecting you are going for a certain feel as much as any other qualities.
If you do have issues in the future, you can probably try to french polish super glue onto whatever surface you have on top. It's harder than that scummy old lacquer Fender used/uses, and is terrifically easy to touch up without the frets impeding your work. I don't know how it compares to the high end spray on poly we use at Bourgeois, but it would be a cool thing to find out at work tomorrow.Doesn't feel half bad, either. Dan Erlewine used the StewMac (I don't know the brand StewMac uses) 10/Thin regularly on vintage maple fretboard repairs. It doesn't make the natural wood look gray the way it does when mixed with maple dust. Usually we would do it before the frets were reinserted, but with the frets yonder driven forevermore, it would be as casual a task as spending an afternoon taping off the board and ruining an old white cotton tee shirt.
Treat it the same as a traditional French Polish, but the glue will grab onto the pad even more quickly than shellac. Keep it moving, and practice on something you value in life very little. Possibly on your bandmates guitars.
Or go the true Nutz way and get a vacuum bag for skateboard deck construction from Rock West and epoxy impregnate it... Hrm... Now my mind has gone on a wander...
With any luck the poly is tough enough you don't even need to worry. With the epoxy behind it, I expect it will abrade off rather than collapse under normal play. Worst case, sand it off and just slop on more epoxy?
I also think the neck looks fine on the off white. I'm an unwashed heathen when it comes to most of that stuff, though. Always intuitively liked maple on the solid colors and my bursts with darker boards.
Post by thetragichero on Aug 27, 2019 23:35:52 GMT -5
i have heard good things about the west marine epoxy but there's no earthly way is use it before it went south. i purchased jb weld brand two part epoxy from the local big box store and after having used it to seal basically two full guitars (including this neck) i haven't finished either 6 or 8oz bottle. I'd imagine the epoxy is about 1/16th of an inch (possibly less) on the fingerboard, just to give it a bit more durability to be honest i haven't stress-tested the varathane poly. I'm not nearly as reckless as i once was with my guitars