I was thinking of trying to start playing a fretless guitar so I could eventually use this knowledge to learn classical instruments. I already can play a minimal amount of double bass and that is where I found my interest in this area. Is there a possibility of somehow 'sanding' down the frets level with the fretboard of a guitar? I have started constructing a ukulele and it will be fretless because of my lack of skill in installing frets, will this help? How do I take care of a guitar fretboard such as this? Tonal differences? Action need changing? Plz just give me any info you may think applicable...

  • Which fretless instruments are you thinking of playing? In particular, any bowed instrments (which have rounded, rather than flat, fingerboards)? Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 14:28
  • @CarlWitthoft - I guess the OP is more thinking about the 'fretting' hand fingers, with good intonation. Surely that can't be fretting - there's a more apposite term, I hope!
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 16:30
  • @CarlWitthoft I was thinking of eventually buying a cello
    – user30646
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 22:08
  • If you're thinking of learning classical instruments - I assume you mean the violin family - they only have 4 strings. So, why not get yourself a fretless electric bass guitar? You can get a decent one to learn on for not too much money on the used market - maybe even a short scale model.
    – Stinkfoot
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 3:54

1 Answer 1


With basses, the usual way to make the fretted ones fretless was to carefully lever out each fretwire, and sand down any edges left. Don't try to file the wires away. The action may need tweaking after, to get as clean a sound as possible. At least, this way, there are accurate markers left in the fret(less) board.

  • 1
    Just wondering: wouldn't you also lower the nut and the bridge in this case? Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 14:28
  • @CarlWitthoft - yep, indeed, if you want the same action, you would have to do this. Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 15:23
  • I don't think I've ever heard about lowering the nut Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 5:59
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    @DaveJacoby - normally on a fretted guitar it's not necessary. However, the nut is similar to a zero fret (found on some guitars) and if all the other frets disappeared, it would make the nut relatively high.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 7:47
  • @Tim, I trust that to be true, but when I read about Ned Evett talk about putting glass fretboards on his guitars, I don't think I read about changing the nut. Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 16:47

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