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Fretless Conversion

 
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Bacchus
Whatever's handiest


Joined: 20 Apr 2006
Posts: 19093
Location: wandering

PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 7:35 pm    Post subject: Fretless Conversion Reply with quote

So I got this Harley Benton tele last year, and it is brilliant. It is very similar to my Aerodyne tele though, in terms of the sounds available. I had always planned on making it into a fretless but I chickened out when I saw how nice it was and didn't want to ruin it. One year on and I eventually got brave enough.

First thing was defretting. I'd practised this on a junk acoustic that the school was throwing away and I did a fairly neat job. One thing I did find challenging was that after I started, I realised that the fretboard on these isn't rosewood but baked maple, so it was a little flaky and delicate and prone to pulling away more than I expected it to. After the first fret or two I was able to change my technique a bit to compensate.



I wanted to have fret lines, and decided to use maple veneer for this. I got a sample from a shop that sells parquet floors.



Started supergluing these in place:





Then I trimmed them back. Other people use a razor for this to get it tight, but I played safe and used nippers and then sanded.



Lots of sanding and a little oiling later:





I think there are still a few high spots that I'll need to get rid of. I'm hoping to get away without having to buy a radius block to radius the board to keep it perfectly straight, but I won't know until I string it up.
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dezb1
The Oppressor


Joined: 01 Mar 2009
Posts: 7352
Location: glasgow

PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool idea... is that the red Harley Benton with the F hole?
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Bacchus
Whatever's handiest


Joined: 20 Apr 2006
Posts: 19093
Location: wandering

PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's the one. Great guitar. Hope I haven't ruined it...
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Bacchus
Whatever's handiest


Joined: 20 Apr 2006
Posts: 19093
Location: wandering

PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So now it just wants strings. Going to to go heavy here, no need to bend, and the heavier they are hopefully the more they will compensate for the sustain lost by not having frets.





I took the opportunity to remove the bridge. I've been impressed by how heavy it is and was curious who made it. It's Sung Il, who seem to make all sorts of hardware.


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Bacchus
Whatever's handiest


Joined: 20 Apr 2006
Posts: 19093
Location: wandering

PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I strung this up and it is brilliant. It's weird not bending notes and having to play really close attention to where you are on the fingerboard so that you intonate properly. Being able to bend from anywhere to anywhere else is cool and it opens up possibilities for moving around the neck.

Will demo when I'm less shit at it.
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Thomas
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Joined: 09 Oct 2008
Posts: 3193
Location: Glasgow, UK

PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very cool mod!!
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