Got in a late 70s P-bass with J-bass neck.  Dates to about 1977 per serial number/Gruhn book.  Bound fingerboard.  Frets right up to the edge of binding, but not overlapping.  Original frets; lacquer/poly 'fillets' along frets.  I've got a lots of fret experience, but never done one of these.

1.  How to remove frets?  Sideways won't work with binding.  Use standard heat-pull straight up method?

2.  How to fit new frets without overhanging binding.  How to bevel, round, flush?  Rusty, you've done this

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Any way to get the block out without destroying it?

Good segway, Rusty, I was getting to that.  The inlay block in the first fret is really high, about .01".  All the others are flush, or close  to it.   Truss rod issues?  Its firm and stable, just proud.  In reflected light you can see where it's pulled the finish up.  What to do?

Hi Christian,

You <probably - see later comment> need to have a look under the block to see if the truss rod has intruded into the block cavity or whether the glue has given up. 

As you are going to refinish the surface anyway, score around the inlay block, scrape the lacquer off the surface (trying not to put too much pressure on the block which may not be supported well and crack) and work a thin edge (a fret shield or a thin feeler gauge works OK) down the side of the block to check for security.  

If it's pearl (and I recall most are not) you can heat it to break the glue bond - if it's plastic and it's stuck fast there are limited options and carefully working the block free is about it. You can try making up a gaffer tape extraction block (gaffer tape rolled in ball and stuck to surface of the block) or use thick double sided tape on a conformal mini caul.  

Alternatively, if it's stuck fast as you indicate, you can try stressing the truss rod while watching/feeling the surface of the block for movement.  If it doesn't move, wick as much CA as you can into the block cavity, level it and refinish is about all I can suggest.

I'm just about to leave for Brisvegas for guitar tech duties to a Silence the Sun gig for the Australia Day celebrations - I will follow you best I can on my phone but will be out of contact today for some transit and flight time and noise-making etc - not ignoring , just out of contact.   Good luck bro,


Thanks.  I think it's pearloid, mother of toilet seat.  Monday.

It's solid.  Doesn't move when the rod is stressed.  I'll wick some CA as you suggested.  Rest of the finish is off.  I'm going to use wider frets as a few of the slots are torn up a bit.

Stripping finish

as for radiusing the frets before installation... if you have not already decided how you are going to do it, I can send you images, and instructions to build a jig to is similar to the Stewmac fretwire bending jig, only mine also has a the ability to also "unbend" or increase the radius.  I decided to add this because where I order my fretwire from, it comes spooled up fairly tightly, and for acoustics, etc..., I need to decrease the bend.  The jig I built and use will do a whole strip of fretwire at once, so you are not doing each fret indepently.

Also, if you do have binding, check out Stewmac or LMI's tool for cutting the tang off of the ends of the pieces.  However, I have found that with either tool, I still need to do some hand filing to make sure the hole tang is completely gone and there will be a tight fit with no gap on the binding overhang.  

Another thought - if you find that you need to widen the tangs because the frets are fitting tightly and are pulling up, I can send you a picture and instructions on making a tool to quickly crimp some spots along the tang to ensure a snug fit.

Let me know if any of this would be of use to you.  Thank you, Jason

I've got collings tang nippers.  I'll probably lay the frets over the binding and finish.  Thanks. Got lots of experience with fret issues.

Well' it's done.  4 coats of Behlen lacquer from an aerosol can.  Turned out pretty good for my first job with nitro.

Your planning & hard work paid off, Christian.

Very nice work and a super attractive look...more so than "factory"!!!

A very impressive job buddy :-)


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