Replacement neck vs de-fret to make a fretted guitar into a fretless guitar

dumdums

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950
I have a guitar I'd like to make fretless, and I was thinking I could find a neck from Warmoth that would work, but they don't have anything for Reverend guitars, from what I can see. Does Warmoth do custom work, or should I be finding a tech to de-fret and fill the existing board to make the guitar fretless? Just wondering, because I think it would be cheaper to replace the neck than either getting the existing one de-fretted or buying a fretless guitar. Any Information is much appreciated. Cheers.
 

Tony Done

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8,867
just pry out the frets, scrape some epoxy down into the slots, and sand it back with a block.

At least that way you wont have spent any money.

That's what I would do, except I have some black purfling strip to use as filler - that is what I bought it for.

Dots/markers will be off.

Can you explain that please? I think that they would work, even if the original fret locations were invisible.
 

RRfireblade

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That's what I would do, except I have some black purfling strip to use as filler - that is what I bought it for.



Can you explain that please? I think that they would work, even if the original fret locations were invisible.


Fret markers mark the spots between the frets, that's typically where you fret on a fretted guitar. If you remove the frets, then your fretting position changes to where the frets physically were. So all the indicators for a fretted neck will be wrong if you pull the frets.
 

KHAN

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4,620
Fret markers mark the spots between the frets, that's typically where you fret on a fretted guitar. If you remove the frets, then your fretting position changes to where the frets physically were. So all the indicators for a fretted neck will be wrong if you pull the frets.
You should be fretting as close to the fret as you can. Fret markers aren't for finger placement.
 

RRfireblade

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You should be fretting as close to the fret as you can. Fret markers aren't for finger placement.
So yeah, fret markers aren't anywhere near the fret. You can fret anywhere in that window and play in tune. And when you pull them off, you have to fret on the actual fret location. Not close too, not near. So I don't know if you can't understand that. Then you do you. Been playing fretless my whole life.
 

KHAN

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4,620
So yeah, fret markers aren't anywhere near the fret. You can fret anywhere in that window and play in tune. And when you pull them off, you have to fret on the actual fret location. Not close too, not near. So I don't know if you can't understand that. Then you do you. Been playing fretless my whole life.
Had no idea you were so formidable.

I defer to you, sir.
 

TooMuchFiber

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1,109
So yeah, fret markers aren't anywhere near the fret. You can fret anywhere in that window and play in tune. And when you pull them off, you have to fret on the actual fret location. Not close too, not near. So I don't know if you can't understand that. Then you do you. Been playing fretless my whole life.
Don't you actually have to fret a little in front of where the fret was, due to the height lost in removing the fret and the resulting effect on intonation...?
 

dumdums

Member
Messages
950
just pry out the frets, scrape some epoxy down into the slots, and sand it back with a block.

At least that way you wont have spent any money.
Can a newbie successfully do that without ruining the guitar? I'm pretty dextrous. Will the expoxy adversely affect the strings when I go to do bends?
 

dumdums

Member
Messages
950
Don't you actually have to fret a little in front of where the fret was, due to the height lost in removing the fret and the resulting effect on intonation...?
I was wondering this as well. Maybe you could lower the action as low as possible to compensate for the height loss?
 

wraub

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2,149
I de-fretted a Squier Strat neck about a decade ago, it's held up okay. I played only a fretless bass for a long time, and de-fretted a 24 fret Ibanez bass before I did the guitar neck. If you do it, look into compression fretting and how removing frets can affect the curve of the neck. It's more of an issue on basses but it's still a thing.

The above posts are correct re: playing on the fretlines, not "next to" as when fretted. There are a few little adjustments like that that fretless instruments require, but those instruments can be interesting and very fun.
There's a few YT vids on fret work and even on fretless guitars that can inform your technique.
Good luck. :)
 

RRfireblade

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4,944
If you do a re-fret? Couldn't you replace the missing fret with maple or something, then carefully shave it down and then sand it, and then wouldn't the wooden line act as a fret marker?

I've actually seen that a few times, and I think that's a pretty good idea, if you don't want the look of a fretless. And can ignore the side markers.
 
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I would think the side markers would still be useful as a general guide to approximate locations on the fingerboard (it's no longer a "fretboard"). My violin has no position markers, but it's a shorter scale by about 1/2 and there's a pretty steep learning curve to learn finger placement.
 

Balance

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1,087
If you were to go the epoxy route, I’d adjust the neck to have whatever you deem is the appropriate amount of relief before filling the slots.
 

wraub

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2,149
On the fretted bass I made fretless, I used a fret puller to remove the frets and then replaced the frets with maple, which contrasts well with the ebony 'board on that bass. It's held up well for over 20 years.

I used simple wood glue, then when dry I used a sharp chisel to pare the maple down, then sanded and then radiused the fingerboard. On bass it's important to think of each string path being its own fingerboard, kinda, and then shape the whole fingerboard accordingly. On Talk Bass there's a luthier called Bruce Johnson who is quite brilliant imo, and he has written at length about optimal fretless fingerboard shaping- Not sure how much applies to guitar, but it's good reading.
 




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