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Classic Vibe Fretless Telecaster

fretless guitar

Seeing as the request to turn this Tele into a fretless guitar was so unusal, we thought it was worth a feature on our blog. The guitar itself is a Chinese made Classic Vibe series Squire Tele, actually very well made guitars for the price range.


Vintage Vibe telecaster

The first thing we had to do was remove the frets and plane the fingerboard using an aluminum radius sanding beam from Stewart MacDonald.  A very accurate tool, but straightness must still be checked with a straightedge.

After a little sanding, it was obvious that this fingerboard was built with a compound radius – another sign that these are good budget guitars. A different radius block was used for the fingerboard extention to match.

Thin shims of bone were used to fill the fret slots. It’s a dense material and will allow vibrations to pass throughout the neck easily – creating a better tone transfer. The correct radius was drawn onto these peices to fill two fret slots once cut with a lapidary band saw.

shims fretless guitar

A little laborious, but worth it for the final result. Here are all the shims cut out.


vintage vibe telecaster fretless

A small brass hammer gently tapped the bone into the slots and super glue was used to keep them in place.   Safety goggles are a must whenever super is being forced into a tight slot.  A good squirt of cyanoacrylate to the naked eye will mean a sudden trip to the emergency room.

fretless bone frets


With all the pieces in place, all we have left to do is clean off the excess material.

fretless tele fretless guitar modification tele thinline fretless


Cleaned up, the bone looks great agains the rosewood.  A little set-up adjustment and it plays great. A nice looking guitar and a fun project.


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