Extreme Surgery, Fretboard Removal, How Crazy Am I?

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by DiezelMonster, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. DiezelMonster

    DiezelMonster Complainasaurus Rex

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    Heyo.


    So I have this really cool guitar, I bought what appears to be a Chinese/Korean Jackson Firebird that is a copy of the Robin Crosby Firebird with a floyd and 1 humbucker. It's got a reverse headstock.

    Overall the construction is pretty good, set in neck and the actual neck shape is very nice.

    As it sits it sounds great, I've ripped all the crummy hardware off of it and put an OFR, a new pickup and CTS pot, new jack and it sounds incredible now.

    I have 2 main problems however. One is that there is no neck angle, and since it has a flat top floyd the strings just sit way too high off the fretboard and there is no further room to adjust to get the action lower, 2.) the fretwork is absolute garbage.

    There are two solutions I've been mulling over, one is to rip the shitty rosewood board off and put an ebony board with real MOP sharkfins on it, which I'm really leaning towards and do a very slight route for the trem.

    Or just the route and a refret.

    So, the traditional way to remove a fretboard is to heat it off with an iron, or some steam.
    I'm not sure what glue they could have used. What I thought about doing is since I want to re fret it anyhow, I could pull the frets out and route the fingerboard off, I could make a jig and that way I can precisely route the depth just to the point of seeing the mahogany of the neck then I could finish up with hand tools. Also it's a painted neck with binding so I'd score alone the binding with a sharp xacto knife.

    I know this sounds like an awful lot of work and there will be issues and I could potentially screw this totally up.

    What say you fine opinionated folks?!
     

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  2. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Cant shim the neck?
     
  3. DiezelMonster

    DiezelMonster Complainasaurus Rex

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    It's not a bolt on, it's a set neck, glued in and the neck is painted.
     
  4. dmlinger

    dmlinger SS.org Regular

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    Oh man, removing a fretboard has always scared me.

    I would tend to lean towards routing the top to make it a recessed floyd. Plus you could use the trem in both directions.

    Seems much less could go wrong this route (pun intended). Keep us posted on what you decide and on the progress!
     
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  5. Defyantly

    Defyantly Aspiring Builder

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    Either way your in danger of messing up the finish of the guitar. More so on the fretboard removal depending on the glue used. Routing the top would be easier and they have plenty of OFR trem templates that can be purchased. Depending on the condition and height of the frets changing them to jumbo or extra jumbo could get you very close to what your after with a slight trem recess. I would however becareful removing the frets due to the condition of the fingerboard. Is it old and are your sure it is rosewood? Cheaper rosewoods and old rosewoods tend to chip very badly especially if they glued in the frets. Any pics of the guitar?
     
  6. DiezelMonster

    DiezelMonster Complainasaurus Rex

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    20190627_235340.jpg 20190627_235340.jpg Screenshot_20190616-072343_Facebook.jpg IMG_20190616_213347_578.jpg

    Here are some shots of it.
    I know it would damage the finish around the neck but if I minimize it maybe I can get away with spot touch ups and using gluboost CA finish to get it back?

    It is a fairly new guitar as well. Not old.
     
  7. Defyantly

    Defyantly Aspiring Builder

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    Pretty neat looking guitar! Good luck with whichever option you choose!
     
  8. dmlinger

    dmlinger SS.org Regular

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    I'd hit it
     
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  9. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire thy fart is murder

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    this isn't something I'd try on a guitar you actually like, at least not for your first time. Buy a shitty pawn shop guitar and butcher that for practice 1st. Or just pay a luthier to do this shit :lol:
     
  10. DiezelMonster

    DiezelMonster Complainasaurus Rex

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    This is where it gets tricky, I do like it and I know it can be an even more amazing guitar if I get this work done. The only luthier I trust to do this level of work is Lee Garver at GMW but he wants $2k to do it, and on a guitar I only paid $300 for, there lies the conundrum which is why I made this post to begin with haha
     
  11. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire thy fart is murder

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    2K?!!! that's fucking robbery for routing a floyd cavity and making a new fretboard.
    I still say practice on a shitty pawn shop guitar before ripping up a guitar you like.
     
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  12. Defyantly

    Defyantly Aspiring Builder

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    For 2k I'm pretty sure he is adding in a whole bunch of other stuff your not thinking about. For the whole thing maybe 3-4 hundred buck is more reasonable for a respectable and professional luthier! (Ill do it for 50 :lol: jk)

    To be honest he is probably quoting you for all the removal process, reinstall the the new FB, bind it, radius it, fret it, level and dress the frets, set up, and repair any finish on the neck, then the Floyd route, painting the cavity, refinishing anything that happened to the finish around the cavity, the set up the guitar. Plus his labor costs.
     
  13. TonyFlyingSquirrel

    TonyFlyingSquirrel Cherokee Warrior

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    $2K is a bit steep, but I wouldn't be able to do it for $300.00 either. This is a painstaking process, which is essentially re-building half of the neck from the fretboard side. There is a lot of labor involved and for someone like myself who's rates are based on $45.00/hr operating, the hours can add up on a process like this. There's lots of checks & double checks along the way to ensure accuracy. Doing it for $500.00 would be roughly 12 hrs of work, and believe me if you have radiusing, inlay, binding-prep then binding/scraping, then leveling/crowning/polishing the frets, the time will add up quickly.
     
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  14. Kashmir

    Kashmir SS.org Regular

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    2K is that luthier's way of saying "I don't really want to do this job, but I will if you pay me an exorbitant rate". TonyFlyingSquirrel is 100% correct with his estimate, and even then his estimate is on the lower side of things. With any operation like this you run the strong risk of having the paint damaged, at which point you either have to do a touch-up or repaint part of the guitar. As a whole this is a tricky operation most luthiers would shy away from, set-ups is where the bread and butter is!

    All-in-all with a project like this you're getting really close to the line of modifying an old guitar versus having a luthier build you a new one. Just in labor and the parts you've already purchased you'd put at least $900 into this guitar before it gets close to where you want it. For not much more you can have a new instrument professionally built with any appointments you'd want. Guitars are a very special thing, but not all of them are deserving of sentimental attachment.
     
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  15. DiezelMonster

    DiezelMonster Complainasaurus Rex

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    Guys, believe me, I do understand all that. I was simply responding because I have talked to a few luthiers. GMW was the first person I spoke with because I know Lee and he has a trusted history of doing the work and not running away with money or gear.
    He did give me a break down, and I certainly am not complaining so if I came off that way, that wasn't my intent, I've actually built a few guitars and done work like this in the past I just don't have a space or tools any longer to do it. That is why I posted.

    Basically talking out loud so I can justify where I go with this and to convince myself or not if I should pursue is or not.

    This will be a lot of work, the trouble is if I want the same guitar built by Jackson they start at $5-8K for a Firebird if they will even build it.

    Anyhow, thanks for the advice dudes!
     
  16. Defyantly

    Defyantly Aspiring Builder

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    Whats your current string height at the moment and what is the conditions and height of your frets? Also this idea just popped into my head what if you were to file down some material under the locking nut instead and try that out? If you go to low you can always put a shim under it.
     
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  17. DiezelMonster

    DiezelMonster Complainasaurus Rex

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    At the nut isn't the problem, it's at the other end of the fretboard that is the issue, basically the company that built it did not put any neck angle in the set neck, therefore it should have gotten a trem route to set the action lower, I don't have the guitar handy to show what I'm talking about or give measurements but it is significant.

    I've thought about just doing the route and refretting with the biggest fretwire I can find, that will most likely be what I do since removing the fretboard and binding it again with a new fretboard is invasive and could even ruin the guitar so I will probably just leave it, unless when I pull the frets the board is uneven and will require a lot of work to get the radius correct.

    It's at 14 inch radius now, in some spots the board does taper a bit lower and looks like it might have "fall away" at the body end of the fretboard, so I may need to put a new one on anyhow hahaha.

    Thanks for all the advice guys.
     
  18. Defyantly

    Defyantly Aspiring Builder

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    Ah I got you. I know what it feels like to fall into the project guitar pit! Good luck with it man! Hope it comes out ok in the end!
     
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  19. MaxAidingAres

    MaxAidingAres SS.org Regular

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    Id re-fret it. You can probably swap the inlays for real ones and stain the fretboard. Not 100% sure how it would turn out nor how it could work but I’d look into that option.
     
  20. DiezelMonster

    DiezelMonster Complainasaurus Rex

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    Thanks dude!
     

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