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defretting?


Clipside
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hey guys,

I've got a an old bass here and thought I might tinker around with it, use it as a test bed of sorts, my first thought was to tap out the frets, pretty simple, but whats the best method to accomplish this? any help appreciated, thanx

and yeah I'm a noob, but I know enough to search first. I have been sucking around here for a few months.

ROCK :D ON!

Edited by Clipside
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Welcome to the forum. I wish I could say that I have done a fret removal, but I can't. I would think instead of tapping them out you would use a removal tool as the one shown here on Brian's (Brian owns and moderates the Project Guitar web site) Universal Jems web site. Here.

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I use a pair of end nippers with the ends ground flat. A very thin steel edge is useful for getting them started. Just gently lever up at one end of the fret until you can get some grip with the nippers. Then gently rock back and forth working your way along the fret. If they were previously glued in w/ CA (super glue) or epoxy then yes, heating might be required to soften the glue. Keep any chips that might come off and glue them back on w/ super glue.

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Frets are often glued in with CA (super) glue. Heat will release its bond. So try this. Use the nippers that Southpa mentioned. They're important. Heat one end of the fret with a soldering iron -- then push a dab of solder into the iron, thus melting said solder. Then drag the solder bead accross the fret. It's easiest to apply solder on the far end of the fret and pull it toward yourself (safety glasses...it can splash). Give it a second to heat the glue. Then immediately pry the fret off starting at the far end and working toward yourself again. It only takes a few seconds to lift the fret. If done right this should result in no chipping...but should it occur, do what Southpa said. Keep the chips and glue them back in carefully. Let us know how it goes!

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Maybe it's a nice neck that should only have reversible changes done, or maybe not. So, lets say it's not a piece of junk and should not be treated that way, just to be on the safe side. So, I suggest that you only fill the fret-slots with something that can be tapped out later, so it can easily be fretted again if someone wants to do that. Often, they'll pull the frets and pack some filler/glue mixture that creates quite a mess later when someone decides to put frets back in , because that filler just won't come out anywhere near as easy as a fret comes out of the slots. It often would have to be sawed out. If I was doing this to my own bass, I'd want to fill the fret-slots with something that fits firmly into the slots, but doesn't need glue to hold them in. Something like brass, aluminum, maybe even nickel-silver, if I wanted silver-looking lines. I'd try not to widen the fret-slots and find filler-strip material the same width as the slot, or very close. The metal filler-strips would be sanded flat, level with the rest of the board. You can retain the fret-compression stiffness doing something like this too.

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