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help with first guitar project

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I am refinishing a 4 string bass, mainly as a practice to get used to tools and things before jumping into building from scratch. i have a lot of new questions everyday.

first thing is the neck. i would like to convert it into a fretless. how hard is this, and what would be the best way to do it? currently, it is a rosewood with binding and pearl inlays (not sure if real, probably not). i would like to sand off the face and restain it black. if i do this, would i be able to sand over the inlays as well, and when i go to restain it, would i be able to just use a rag or foam brush so that the excess would wipe off of the inlays?

next is the finish. i am currently sanding off the outer paint using about 120 grit paper. i would like to restain a colonial cherry. what other grits should i use, or will 120 be fine the whole way? also, should i put a laquer top coat on? if so, what type? i see at least 2 different bases for the laquer.

that should get me started, but please keep checking because i'm sure i will be posting a lot here. i have learned so much already here.

thanks in advance for your help.

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As for going fretless: A guy I know once filed the frets off of his Warwick Dolphin bass, leaving the little bell brass fret lines. Good idea, but he got some buzz when he played notes right on the fret lines (I wouldn't have the guts to do that to a Warwick, though.) Another option, although I've never tried it, is to pull the frets and squeeze in strips of maple or some contrasting wood, maybe even strips of plastic binding or MOP, who knows? Sand it smooth with a radiused sanding block, and you're on your way. I can't see how this could go too wrong. Whatever you decide on, keep us posted!!!! :D

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A friend of mine decided he wanted a Fretless Pbass and so he pulled off the frets, filled them with thin strips of Maple, and sanded the whole neck down so it was level... Looks good and sounds good too.

As for the grit... No idea im still new to this thing too :D

hope this helps at all...

Big Tom


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I pulled the frets out of my old bass using a utility knife and careful plier work. I filled them in with darker wood filler for contrast and sanded smooth, then just put Varathane all over it. Believe it or not, the Varathane made for a super slick neck, though it's not as clear as other finishes.

It looks and sounds great.

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chisel to move the frets out? is this really posibble? i mean, if it's not a recommendation but agreeable, i would try it as a practice then, used it on one of the neck that i have lying around.

No! Not a recommendation... hence the :D smiley. That's what I had around when I was a kid... way before I knew about stew-mac, heck way before the internet (in it's current form B).)

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