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Change A Rosewood Fretboard To Ebony


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Hi to all

I have a Tokai guitar like this one. The guitar has a ebony stained rosewood board. I want to change the rosewood board out for an ebony one

PRS_NA5.jpg

How hard would it be to replace the board with ebony, put new frets, bind the board and place some dot or small cross inlays on it? Can I DIY this? How much am I looking at for parts and tools?

If this is not a DIY project how much would the average costs be to take it to a pro?

Thanks!

John

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How hard would it be to replace the board with ebony, put new frets, bind the board and place some dot or small cross inlays on it? Can I DIY this? How much am I looking at for parts and tools?

For a DIY Project, you can buy a preslotted, pre-radiused board, and go from there.

If you're buying from StewMac, costs (excluding tools you may need):

Ebony Board (looks like a PRS clone, so 25" scale, 12" radius) : $30

Cream Plastic Binding (Or you could use flame maple for more class) : $5

Black Side Dot Material: $1

12 1/4" Gold MOP Dots (will do 24 frets): $6

Fretwire: $8

But when you factor in tools, it'll be more expensive, you'll need fret nippers, a radius sanding block, crowning files and more.

The question is, have you done anything like this before? And if not, how attached are you to this Tokai guitar? It looks pretty nice to me. Are you willing to run the risk of spoiling it? That's not meant as a 'don't bother', more just to make sure you think it through. Only you can answer the question of whether you can DIY this.

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Supernova 69 is toatally correct. but i have to add

if your not sure whats involved dont just do it

read the how to's on this site and read alot of

other repair books as they will have better info than just

a building a guitar. im not trying to discredit your abillity

but if you have to ask that question then it sounds like

you lack the skill to do this type of job corectly

P.S that is a sweet looking guitar

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How hard would it be to replace the board with ebony, put new frets, bind the board and place some dot or small cross inlays on it? Can I DIY this? How much am I looking at for parts and tools?

For a DIY Project, you can buy a preslotted, pre-radiused board, and go from there.

If you're buying from StewMac, costs (excluding tools you may need):

Ebony Board (looks like a PRS clone, so 25" scale, 12" radius) : $30

Cream Plastic Binding (Or you could use flame maple for more class) : $5

Black Side Dot Material: $1

12 1/4" Gold MOP Dots (will do 24 frets): $6

Fretwire: $8

But when you factor in tools, it'll be more expensive, you'll need fret nippers, a radius sanding block, crowning files and more.

The question is, have you done anything like this before? And if not, how attached are you to this Tokai guitar? It looks pretty nice to me. Are you willing to run the risk of spoiling it? That's not meant as a 'don't bother', more just to make sure you think it through. Only you can answer the question of whether you can DIY this.

Hi

Im not really attached to it. I guess im into a guitar modding phase now.

Would I be looking at about $50 in parts and about $100 in other tools?

Would it be cheaper to let a pro do it?

Thanks for the info

John

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I doubt a pro would do it cheaper than $150, they would probably have all the parts and tools already but still, changing out a fretboard can be time consuming especialy with having to do all the fretwork over.

At My Local shop they charge $285 for a fretjob alone.

I'd suggest looking around at your local luthiers and guitar shops see what they are charging, and ask yourself is it worth what they are charging or could you accomplish it yourself?

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For tools all you need is this:

Planes

Steel ruler for straight edge

A hammer for hammering frets

Flat file to level the frets

Triangular file to crown them

Clamps to glue the fretboard down

Needel files to cut a new nut (you will most likely need a new nut)

Using spray cans mean that you dont need spraying equipment, but you will have to get some buffing suplies. Add another 80-90$ for finishing. That’s pretty much what I used for my first ten fret jobs or so and it works fine. There are tutorials for the fret job on the main site.

On the nice to have list you will find

Neck heater to remove the fret board

Special diamond crowning tools

Specialized nut files

If someone brought that guitar into my workshop and asked me to do that job I would charge you more than 350$ for labour only. If you want the pro to pull the nice looking abalone (?) inlays the cost might double.

I’m curious. Why would you like to replace the fretboard? If your guitar is the one in the picture I must agree that it is a nice looking guitar. An ebony fretboard will change the sound some, but IMHO it is NOT worth either the work involved or the risk you would take, but that’s just me

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What are you hoping to achieve by swapping the fretboard to ebony?

A mahogany/ebony neck should have a little more tightness and clarity than the mahogany/rosewood combo but this is all theory and generalisations, the fact is that wood varies so much from peice to peice that it might not make any difference at all. Its a lot of work for a small chance of tonal improvement that could be achieved by other means (turning a knob on the amp :D )

If you are doing it heres the general process:

1, DEFRET: Basically you can just rip these out if you are scrapping the fretboard, if it was a refret you would heat them and pull them out carefully to avoid chips

2, REMOVE BINDING: i would score along the length of the edge of the binding so the neck finish doesnt chip(where mahogany meets plastic), then wiggle a knife in the top edge and it should pull off quite easily.

3, REMOVE FRETBOARD: This can be done quite easily with a clothes iron and some pallette knifes. You heat up the fretboard and wiggle the knifes in the join, takes a while at first but once the glue starts to soften it should come up easily. It will probably look like a banana but clamp it flat coz you can use it as a template for the new fretboard

4, NEW FRETBOARD: I would follow the advice above and buy a pre-slotted and radiused one. You have a couple of options on how to attach it. You can either trim it slighlty oversize, glue it to the neck and trim it back to the neck after or you can use the old fretboard as a template and cut it bang on size. Either way i would stick a couple of staples in the neck and cut them so little spikes stick up and act as locating pins. One staple at either end should be enough to help locate the fretboard and stop slippage. on an already carved neck you can use stew-macs fretboard clamps or just a really large rubber band wrapped round the neck loads of times.

5, BINDING: This step depends on what you did in the last one, if you glued the fretboard oversize you now need to route for binding which is made harder by the radius on the fretboard, if you did it the other way you should have a ledge ready, just in need of a little clean up (assuming nothing slipped in glue up stage, if it did you have a problem)

6, INLAY

7, REFRET

8, SET-UP

9, PLUG IT IN AND REALISE IT WAS NOT WORTH THE EFFORT

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I'm somebody who's all for modding, but I agree with Wez on this one-- it's not worth the mod. You'll end up with likely a worse looking AND worse playing guitar. Take the skills that are needed for freboard replacement and just make a new neck. A new neck you can add to your newly self-made body. And then you'll have a complete custom. :D

Greg

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