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Author Topic: Photo essay of a fret job  (Read 8644 times)

Offline n/a

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Photo essay of a fret job
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2006, 11:35:14 PM »
 

Offline Dreadman

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Photo essay of a fret job
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2006, 06:20:17 AM »
quote:
Originally posted by Vestapol

Yeah me too, I learned a lot.  Dreadman, Is this technique you used a standard procedure or is it one you developed?  It is way cool.  Hows a guy get someone who owns a machine shop to make one of them fancy precision leveler bars?  I've used a 6 steel rule on edge to find the high ones, it rocks back and forth over those, but it won't do anything for low ones.  Maybe it's a stewmac or LMI procurement?

It's more or less a standard procedure. You don't need a machine shop to make a leveler, Stew Mac has one for $64 - less than shop would charge - http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Fretting_supplies/Leveling/Fret_Fingerboard_Levelers.html

You'll also need a crowning file - http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Fretting_supplies/Shaping_and_crowning/Three-in-one_Fret_File.html

P.S. - Thanks for the compliments guys. I'm glad you liked it. [:D]

Dreadman
Dreadman

The easiest way to make people believe you are a good man is to be a good man.

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Photo essay of a fret job
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2006, 02:07:22 AM »
Purchasing these tools are worth every penny, you can do this procedure to all your guitars (I've done it to all of mine) and they will all play like a dream. (dream as in when your done you can set your guitar to a 2/64 action, it will play fast and smooth with no buzz)

ps. remember to try doing this for the first time on one of those couple hundred dollar pawn shop guitars.
 

Offline Vestapol

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Photo essay of a fret job
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2006, 07:03:03 PM »
Yep,

Guess I gotta drop some more change on cool tools.  

I've done quite a bit of work on high frets with some standard files and thin stainless fret masks, and steel wool, etc.  It'll be awesome to do the hole fretboard that way.  Wow!  

Thanks Dreadman.
Jam on
Randy

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« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2006, 02:51:09 AM »
this company makes alot of great tools for working on guitars:

http://www.dremel.com/en-US

 

Offline Vestapol

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Photo essay of a fret job
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2006, 12:54:44 PM »
Dremel is the duct tape of tools!

lol

[;)]

Jam on
Randy

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Photo essay of a fret job
« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2007, 05:22:34 AM »
quote:
Originally posted by Dreadman

Also posted at http://madaboutguitars.com/viewtopic.php?p=267#267

Okay, here's the beginning of Project Hollowbody. I've recently rekindled my passion for hollowbodies and in the past month I've bought three. The first was the washburn HB32DM which had badly uneven frets and a defective switch so it went back. The next was a Tokai and not only does it play and sound FANTASTIC, it looks so good I wouldn't dare modify it. That brings us to this one. I wanted to modify the living crap out of a hollowbody so I went on ebay to find the cheapest stock possible. It turned out to be a washburn HB30, around a hundred fifty bucks. The seller said he only played it once and it was like new. Once it arrived I realized why he only played it once. The frets were a nightmare. LOL  Just like my previous HB32DM but worse. I thought about giving him a glaring negative feedback but now I'm conflicted. He described it as like new and if he was a new player and didn't know what a well made guitar was, then he was being honest. It's just that new on this particular guitar isn't so good. It's an '05 and it does look brand new in every way, not a mark on the body or frets at all.

Anyway, my plan was to paint it alpine white and replace the white binding with black but my wife said no. She thinks the glossy natural maple looks too good to cover with paint and I agree (little does she know that means I'll be on the lookout for an alpine white Epiphone Les Paul. he he). My other plans include replacing the stock pickups and electronics with some real cool Dimarzios, probably a Fred model in the bridge position and a Super Distortion model near the bridge. I'm changing all the hardware to gold - tuners, knobs, switch, jackplate, truss rod cover and screws. I'm also putting gold pickup covers on the dimarzios and adding....are you ready for this?......a gold Floyd Rose tremolo bridge! This guitar is gonna rock in a serious way. Adding the Floyd requires filling the existing bridge and tailpiece mounting holes and quite a bit of body routing but it will be well worth it, the Floyd is a killer bridge. All this hardware has been ordered and should be here soon. I'm pretty excited. I'll probably make some kind of funky pickguard and veneer over the headstock in something wild, maybe zebrawood.

So the point of this post is that I thought you guys might like to see how a fret job is done. This won't really be enough to teach the whole process but it'll be a good primer and if nothing else you'll be able to discuss this procedure well with your tech if you ever have it done. The following work is called a level and crown. I'll level the frets so they're all the same height then use a fret crowning file to make the tops round again. This procedure is identical for acoustics and electrics.

The first step was examining the fretboard by playing every note. It seemed that the 6th, 11th, & 19th frets were high and a general uneven-ness all over but it turned out that the 5th, 10th & 18th were actually low. That makes it worse. Rather than lowering a few high ones and evening it all out I had to lower almost all of them to the height of the few low ones. Lot of work. Okay, here we go....



Here's the stocker. Bear in mind that my digital camera was made in the 1920's before the advent of quality. LOL





First I removed the strings, bridge, tailpiece and studs, then lowered the pickups out of the way.




Using an 18, bevel edged straightedge as a guide I adjusted the truss rod so the neck was perfectly straight without strings on it.



Next I covered the fretboard with masking tape to protect the wood, then colored the fret tops with a black permanent marker.




This is the fret leveler I made in the shop. It's a piece of precision machined aluminum bar with adhesive 220 grit sandpaper on both sides. It has to be perfectly flat so all the frets come out at exactly the same height.



I first made a light pass with the leveler along the frets to see exactly which frets were high and low. It's kind of hard to see in this picture but the low spots are where there is still black on the frets and the shiny parts are high. The first fret is completely shiny because it was a mile high. The second fret is low in the middle and the third is high on the treble string side, etc..........This is really pretty crappy.



On frets 14 - 19 you can see a lot of uneven-ness. It's not consistent with string wear, just a bad fret job. A LOT of leveling was required to get everything even.



Here's another shot showing some progress. I kept going until all the frets were the same height as the lowest spot on the lowest fret (which happened to be the 5th in this case).


The next tool is a fret crowning file. It's basically an ergonomic handle with a file insert that has a concave cutting edge. The inserts come in 3 sizes, narrow, medium and jumbo - for different fret widths. Normally I'd use a medium file on these medium frets but I had to take off so much material that it would take forever so I used the jumbo insert, which will give the fret tops a wider radius. That will make this guitar a little easier to do slides on and it will go longer before it needs fret work again.



I re-color the fret tops with the marker so I can gauge my progress. Great care must be taken not to file lower than the new top, otherwise you'll have low spots again. Crowning is tedious work. The file is pushed firmly, carefully and evenly across each fret maybe 20 or 30 times until the black becomes a very thin line and eventually disappears. I didn't get any pictures of myself filing but this is the finished job. You can see the markings on the tape that I use in the beginning to remember what's what. The straight lines indicate high spots and the X's indicate low spots.



After crowning, and before removing the masking tape, I run 400 grit sandpaper vigorously over the frets, end to end,  to shine them up and make them very smooth. I've used steel wool and even polished frets in the past but I'll save that for later on this guitar. Here's where we are so far.



I rubbed some boiled linseed oil on the fretboard afterward to clean and beautify the wood. This fretboard wasn't very bad at all but if you look carefully at this picture you can see the results between the first 5 frets.



Not that this picture looks any different from the first one but here's the finished product. I restrung it and gave it a setup and was able to get the action down to .040 (a little less than 3/64 or a little more than 1/32). Arguably lower than is comfortable for playing. I'll raise it up a bit later but I like to see how low I can get it as a gauge of my work. I can safely say this neck is now in great shape.



If time and mood allows I'll document the rest of the work I do on this guitar and post it. I really don't like stopping to take pictures but I do enjoy writing about it when I'm done. LOL

Dreadman

Hello! I have a Washburn Nuno signiture model EA22 acoustic guitar. This is a black one(I think it is the only colour)and I had to pay extra money to have the original hardcase. It has no scratches, and it was not played so much. The only problem is that the preamp(Equius) is not working, and I did not take the guitar to solve this problem. I am an electric guitar player, so I prefer to sell this guitar. It is a beautiful guitar, but I dont use it.I bought this guitar new from the shop. Do you know somebody who is interested in a guitar like this? Bye for now!
 

Offline enoughallready

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Photo essay of a fret job
« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2007, 07:03:49 PM »
quote:
Originally posted by Dunpet

Hello! I have a Washburn Nuno signiture model EA22 acoustic guitar. This is a black one(I think it is the only colour)and I had to pay extra money to have the original hardcase. It has no scratches, and it was not played so much. The only problem is that the preamp(Equius) is not working, and I did not take the guitar to solve this problem. I am an electric guitar player, so I prefer to sell this guitar. It is a beautiful guitar, but I dont use it.I bought this guitar new from the shop. Do you know somebody who is interested in a guitar like this? Bye for now!
[/quote]
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