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Thread: First bass kit (fretless P)

  1. #1

    First bass kit (fretless P)

    My girlfriend's brother is a classically trained violinist/music teacher and mentioned that he wanted a 5 string fretless with no markers. I proposed that if I assembled one, he could pay by buying me the kit I had been eyeing for months. He agreed and I ordered the kits from the internet. My intent for my payment bass was a 50's style P bass (with a humbucker) with maple fingerboard. I ordered the "PBG-BN4MF FRETLESS MAPLE NECK W/MAPLE FRETBOARD FOR JB AND PB STYLE KITS" from Pitbull. I also ordered some black Gotoh Lollipop tuners and a black Gotoh bridge, they should arrive soon. I might put an additional humbucker at the neck position, as that was my original plan, but I haven't yet decided. I have dyed the body with a black/blue burst and coated with poly. I now have to wait 30 days for the poly to cure to finish sand and polish the body. This is my plan:
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    Last edited by Toolman76; 29-04-2021 at 01:11 AM.

  2. #2
    This is what I have so far.
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  3. #3
    Mentor fender3x's Avatar
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    Looks good! Very cool headstock. I don't think I have ever seen a maple fretless before. Was that a special order?

  4. #4
    Erm, am I the only one who's noticed it seems to be a string short? I count 4 tuner holes, not 5.....

  5. #5
    I'm sorry if I was unclear. The 5 string is a jazz bass I will be doing for my girlfriend's brother-in-law. This blue P-bass was my payment for doing the 5 for him. I'll post pics of his jazz when I start working on it. I have only seen a few maple fretless fingerboards and they were stunning. I don't know how well it will wear over time but that's part of the experiment! I am still unsure whether I will use CA glue, epoxy or oil on the fingerboard. Yes, it was essentially a special order. The kit came with a fretted maple neck and it was from another website. I ordered the fretless neck by itself from Pitbull. It says on their website that if you order a kit from them (Pitbull), you can get a different neck if you contact them and give them some extra time to match it to the kit. Thanks, my headstock idea was an homage to Leo Fender's original Tele headstock. It was fun getting out the old carving tools and whittlin' in the sunshine!

  6. #6
    Mentor fender3x's Avatar
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    I imagine it will need something to harden and protect the neck. Hard as maple is, it is not as hard as rosewood or ebony. I have never used CA or epoxy, but I understand that CA at least needs periodic re-application. I don't think the oil would be durable enough.

    I am working on making a fretless with a rosewood board. Will be using round-wounds to try to minimize wear.

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  7. #7
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Almost any neck finish will require some re-application at some point in time. I can't think of any finish that will be quite as hard as steel, so the strings will always win.

    At least with a fretless, you've got no frets in the way, so its easy enough to take the neck off, sand it down smooth, reapply your finish, sand that back smooth and fine sand and polish to your requirements.


    The Pitbull necks all come with a 12" radius as standard, so unless the Pit Bull fretless neck is any different, getting hold of a 12" radius sanding block will help ensure that you keep an even radius across the neck when sanding down your finish.

    IIRC, there are no fret position markers on the neck, but there are side dots where they'd normally go on a fretted neck i.e. midway-between some of the fret positions. So you might want to consider removing those if you find them off-putting, or even then adding your own where the frets would normally go.

  8. #8
    Yes, the Pitbull necks have a 12' radius. I ordered the block along with the neck. It does have the fret markers in the fretted positions. I had considered replacing them to the correct positions for fretless, but haven't yet decided if I will or not. I was thinking of adding a light dye stain to bring out the natural grain of the maple, then adding the CA glue but am hesitant as I don't want it too yellow or orange. Does anyone know if CA glue will work if I treat the fingerboard with boiled linseed oil first? I asked at my local Woodcraft store, but they weren't entirely sure. I know that BLO will create a good look, but don't know if the glue will hold. I will apply the scientific method in the meantime: experiment, observe, take notes and learn.

  9. #9
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    I have a feeling that CA will work best if applied straight to the fretboard. It will probably stick to the BLO at first, but might peel away with age. You'd probably need the BLO to be very well cured before doing so, which could take at least a month or more.

    I'd apply a very light water or spirit stain to the fretboard first. You can always dilute it significantly so that you get very little tint on each application.

  10. #10
    I was thinking it probably wouldn't work. I will probably lightly stain it. Luckily, I was able to get some maple scraps to ruin until I figure out my process. Thank you all for your input and feedback!

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