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Going Fretless Question

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I just bought a cheap strat on ebay so that i could try out defretting a guitar. But i haven't found too many tutorials on the internet about how to do it. I saw that people used fret pullers. Do i HAVE to use those? Can't i just heat p the fret and pull it out with pliers or something? Next, What can i use to fill the frets? And lastly, when i sand the fretboard, can i use whatever grain of sandpaper that gets the job done? I've scalloped before so ive done life altering things like this before.

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Here is a quick and dirty way to do it...with little money.

Go to harbor freight and get some of those little dikes.

Remove the neck.

Get some super glue and glue along the sides of the frets. This will help prevent tear out.

After the glue dries, use a slilght nipping technique on one end of the fret, then on the other end of the fret.


Get some poplar binding strips from hobby lobby. You may have to widen the fret slots with a blade about the width of a hack saw.

Glue the binding strips into the slots with tite-bond wood glue.

After it dries you can snap the excess wood from the binding strips off.

Get some 60 grit sand paper and sand with the grain of the fingerboard.

Next use some 80, then 120, then 150, then 200 then 0000 steel wool.

Is you like you can use some linseed oil or olive oil after the fact to coat the fingerboard.

Don't be afraid to experiment, but be aware that you must be careful when pulling out old frets....especially if from a guitar more than a decade old.

Good Luck

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Oiling the fingerboard in the fret areas may help prevent tear out, not sure if this is true. But it does make sense. I just used a paint scraper to remove my frets carefully, but remember it's a very time consuming process. It's alright if you chip out some wood, it can be glued back in with ease. But remember, more mistakes = more time fixing them. Take your time and you'll make less mistakes.

I'd suggest using around 80 (80, 100, 150, 220, 300 or 320, 400, 600, 800, 1000+ish should be a good order) grit sandpaper and working up from there. Do not use a rubber sanding block. Have the sand paper in the palm of your hand and keep your hand rounded. This way you don't take out or mess up the radius.

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it's a rosewood fretboard. So, for taking out the frets, you have to go slowly or else they'll snap? I didn't think they were that brittle.

No, it's the fret tang that will snap small sections of wood around it when lifting the frets out. If you take your time, you'll prevent the tang from ripping out too much wood.

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