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Old February 8th, 2013, 09:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Fret end dressing the stupidly simple way

I don't know if anyone else has posted about this here, but it worked for me so I thought I'd share it.

I'm working on my first two fretboards, both really practice pieces for me to learn on. On one of them, I rolled the top edges too far, which I didn't really get the importance of until I had to dress the ends and it all went cockeyed. Google turned up this, and it works. Yes, it tore up my sanding sponges, but they're disposable anyway.

I was so pleased with the result that I used the sponges on the other fretboard, which I hadn't screwed up, and it smoothed them out nicely, too.

No, it's probably not as nice as a well-done pro job, but for a beginner amateur, it does the job.

It's the last step on this page: http://www.projectguitar.com/tut/fretting.htm

Here's the relevant section:
Quote:

Grab a course sanding sponge and run it up and down the length of your board at the same angle as your bevel cut. Do this quickly back and forth a few times, then move on to the other side and Repeat.


Now grab a finer grit sanding sponge and repeat the process again. After your finished doing this simply wipe the dust off and buff out the top of your neck!

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Old February 8th, 2013, 09:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Those are some pretty colourful inlays!
Thanks for the tip.
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Old February 8th, 2013, 09:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yeah, those inlays are not my cuppa tea at all, but different strokes, etc.
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Old February 8th, 2013, 09:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Who cares about the inlays, I see you didnt mask off the fret board. Did you sand into it at all? I mean would this damage a neck that has finish?
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Old February 8th, 2013, 09:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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its a steve vai model guitar. hence the inlay
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Old February 8th, 2013, 10:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Those aren't my pictures, they're from the tutorial I linked to.

As far as masking the wood, no, I didn't. My necks aren't finished yet, so I wasn't worried about the sides of the neck, and since these were practice pieces, I was interested to see how the fret board itself would be effected. Honestly, it looks like the sanding sponges didn't do much to the wood. I had filed the fret ends with a 35* file block first, so it was really just taking down the rough edges off.

The boards I'm working with are red oak and lacewood, so they're pretty soft compared to rosewood or maple, but they did seem to weather this treatment pretty well. YMMV, of course.
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Old February 9th, 2013, 01:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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there's a prs youtube video showing the same thing. no masking either
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Old February 9th, 2013, 02:08 AM   #8 (permalink)
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sadly, the only neck I've got here that needs the fret ends dressed... is a cheap 24 3/4" scale one I got ...

and it's got white plastic binding.... oh dear... it's going to be messy..;)
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Old February 9th, 2013, 02:53 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Fret dressing the stupidly complicated way (but oh how comfortable - if you ever get a chance to play a guitar with fret ends done like this, you'll be spoilt forever).

I doing my next one like this.

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Old February 9th, 2013, 04:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Not too complicated, but imagine doing that 44 times.
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Old February 9th, 2013, 05:27 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick JD View Post
Fret dressing the stupidly complicated way (but oh how comfortable - if you ever get a chance to play a guitar with fret ends done like this, you'll be spoilt forever).

I doing my next one like this.

Hmm, I really like the idea of fret ends like this, but at the pace I work, it would take a month....
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Old February 9th, 2013, 08:20 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Hmm, I really like the idea of fret ends like this, but at the pace I work, it would take a month....
Takes a couple hours at most. What else ya gonna do? Watch When Harry Met Sally again?
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Old February 9th, 2013, 08:48 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Takes a couple hours at most. What else ya gonna do? Watch When Harry Met Sally again?
I don't think I made it all the way through the first time.... But I don't think I would be able to do those frets in a couple hours, either. It'll take me longer than that to do 'em the standard way.
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Old February 9th, 2013, 09:10 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Not too complicated, but imagine doing that 44 times.
I don't think I'm going to live that long
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Old February 9th, 2013, 09:29 AM   #15 (permalink)
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What's the difference between this method in this last semi hemi video and using your file and abrasives to dress the fret ends after it is on the fretboard.....? After installing them you knock the corners off the fretwire to round them, do the bevel with a Don Teeter designed fret angle jig, and just go a bit farther into the wood to have the wood proud over the fretwire, and then finally round it. It's just how much time you want to put into it I guess. The only thing I see that is different is that he has trimmed the tang shorter...and you could do that with the stewmac fret tang notcher before you install the frets.
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Old February 9th, 2013, 03:07 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Wow, that does look time consuming. The video is 10 minutes long and that's to do one fret.

I'm sure he gets a great end result, but I'll be stealing xardoz's idea.
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Old February 9th, 2013, 04:29 PM   #17 (permalink)
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??? Don't understand all this extra work in the video unless this is a bound fretboard that he is installing these frets on. However that is not what he shows on the board that he is using in the video.

The cut back of the fret tang on the fret ends is interesting, but why? Unless you have cut the fret slot so that it does not extend to the edge of the board you are going to have a slot in the board to fill. You can go back and fill this with superglue and wood dust from the board sanding operation but why all the work?

What am I missing here?

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Old February 9th, 2013, 07:03 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by aikiguy View Post
??? Don't understand all this extra work in the video unless this is a bound fretboard that he is installing these frets on. However that is not what he shows on the board that he is using in the video.

The cut back of the fret tang on the fret ends is interesting, but why? Unless you have cut the fret slot so that it does not extend to the edge of the board you are going to have a slot in the board to fill. You can go back and fill this with superglue and wood dust from the board sanding operation but why all the work?

What am I missing here?

Guy
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I had similar thoughts.

One of my guitar's has frets dressed this way. It feels good, but not really any better than a guitar that has had its frets installed on the fretboard, then dressed. Taking the time to profile the ends of course.

As to using the sanding sponge, I actually tried that on my last build. Never seen it before, I just had a sponge sitting on the bench and I tried it. It worked ok, but it is hard to manage the area of abrasion. I found that it was easy to apply too much pressure and compress the sponge while you are working it. Once thh sponge compresses you are hitting too much of the tops of the frets IMO. I went back to my small hard wood dowels with sand paper wrapped around them. Much easier to control with better results.
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