Fretless Conversion

September 25, 2006 11:30 by keithkaragan

I completed my first fretless conversion project last night. I bought a brand new Epiphone LP Special II at a local music store for around $150, took it home, tore it apart and removed the neck on Saturday, and last night I pulled out the frets. The process was pretty easy to accomplish. It entailed:

 

  • Securing the neck to a solid surface with spring clamps and a protecting the fretboard and back of the neck with a soft, padded cloth.
  • Grabbing the frets with a nice strong nipper tool (in this case it was a diagonal cutter) and pulling up. Sometimes this takes a couple tries.
  • Bang! out comes the fret - they were not glued in.
  • Very light hand sanding of the fretboard to smooth out any splintering.
  • Application of wood puttiy into the fret slots using fingers and a rubber glove
  • Cleaning of excess putty with a slightly damp sponge
  • Let the putty dry for about an hour
  • Sand lightly by hand (with a block) using 220 and 400 grit paper
  • Reassemble
  • Restring
  • Play
  • Set-up the guitar
  • Smile
  • Overall, I'm pretty happy with the results. I picked the LP copy after playing a bunch of low-end models and liking the sustain, nech shape, fretboard, and action on the LP better than the Ibanez and other affordable options. Had the frets been glued in, this process would have taken longer - but in this case the fret pulling to the playing took less than 2 hrs.

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