33'' Fretless - Fingerboard

After taking some time off, I'm back to work on the 33'' fretless bass.. I also have a couple of other projects I've been working on, I'll be posting some more on those builds shortly.


The Ebony fingerboard is slotted by hand, for 22 fret positions. I use a fret slotting jig from Stew Mac, which I've modified to accommodate wider bass fretboards. I've also fitted a couple of toggle clamps, which slide along a piece of track, to hold the wood firmly in place while sawing.

The Maple veneers are glued in using Titebond wood glue. A small needle bottle helps to apply the glue into the slot, with a minimum amount of mess.

A sliced up mountain bike inner tube makes for rubber bands that are a perfect size and elasticity to hold the veneer in the slot. I apply a bead of glue, fit the veneer into the slot, slide it a little from side to side to spread the glue, hook the rubber band over one end, and then stretch it underneath and fasten it to the opposite end, before wiping away the glue squeeze out.

Once the glue has dried, I nip off the ends using my fret cutters, and then carefully slice off the veneer with a sharp chisel until they're flush.

The neck is made from 3 pieces of Maple, with black veneers laminated in between. It has Ebony veneers on both sides of the headstock.

I use some masking tape to make the centre lines easier to line up, then after fitting some alignment pins underneath the fingerboard, it's glued on and left to cure, before being planed flush.

The tuner holes have been drilled, and it's starting to look like a neck... more updates soon!