Dan Erlewine type neck jig for fret level

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by hahns, May 20, 2019.

  1. hahns

    hahns TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    10
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    auburn
    Hello,

    I am sure this is a stupid question, but how is the Erlewine type jig helpful for fret leveling?

    Just a little background, I'm building a guitar and can never seem to fret level well.

    I ended up finding a post on how to build a knock of Erlewine jig and have started building one in hopes that it would help me with my levels. However, I am a bit lost as to the need of it if I am going to start by straightening the neck so the fretboard is dead level. There would be no need to simulate string tension then would there? Dan certainly knows a ton more than I do but maybe I am missing the intent of this jig?

    BTW, I have invested a lot of money in STEWMAC tools, and am not condoning ripping of their designs, this one was just too damn expensive.
     
  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    19,811
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2003
    Location:
    Ontario County
    If your building a guitar from scratch, I would think that getting the most level fretboard and installing frets with a consistent pressure would result in having to do little leveling work. I'd invest in their aluminum radius beam and an arbor press. I've built a few guitars over the years and never felt the need for that jig. I would imagine it's something that could benefit a repair facility.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
    eallen and PingGuo like this.
  3. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,343
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    Location:
    england
    Get yourself a good level beam and to back it up a fret rocker as much as you think you have knocked all that ink marker off the tops there will still be spots no one is a human plek machine
    the fret rocker will help you out with that
    as for ripping off someones design mate most luthiers tools gets cloned or improved on one way or another
     
    eallen likes this.
  4. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Meister

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    425
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2017
    Location:
    Palmetto, Florida
    What part of your fret leveling is not going well? Two tools I find absolutely essential are an accurate straight edge and a long enough leveling beam. I get the neck set to dead flat to start, this requires a little finessing of the truss rod. Then I use a ground steel tubular sanding beam with fine grit (320) paper. Blacken the frets and sand (lightly!) just enough to kiss the crowns of all frets. It takes no pressure, the weight of the beam does the work. I like a slight fall-off 0.010" from the octave fret on down so I put a few layers of masking tape on the 7th fret to key off of. I put sandpaper on only one end of the beam and register the unpapered end off the taped fret, sanding just enough for the tapering to reach the 12th fret. Dress the ends, recrown, sand, and polish. Sorry if this was TMI-TP
     
  5. boredguy6060

    boredguy6060 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,360
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2012
    Location:
    Sou Cal
    I wouldn’t worry about ripping someone else’s design, Dan probably ripped it from someone.
    How many guitars do you build a year? Or how many do you plan to build a year?
    Whether you buy or build a jig depends on how many times you’re gonna need it.
    If we’re talking a couple times a year, I’d stick with a fret rocket and magic marker and a sanding stick.
    If we’re talking a couple times a month, I’d probably build a jig.
    If we’re talking a couple times a week, I’d probably buy a StewMac jig.
    That’s pretty much the way I’d approach the question, based the answer on how many times do you need to do the job.
    Good luck,
     
  6. Luthi3rz

    Luthi3rz Tele-Meister

    Age:
    49
    Posts:
    134
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2018
    Location:
    AZ
    It's more accurate because it gives you a reading using Dial Indicators. While a metal straight edge does not.

    There is nothing wrong with making your own you just can't sell them to people.
     
  7. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    31,434
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Lubbock, TX
    The neck tension jig ideas started with Don Teeter and was refined by Dan Erlewine through several incarnations. I trained on the neck tension jig bench in what had been Dan’s old shop in Big Rapids. Bryan Galloup has brought that bench to fruition while working for Dan. The bench that held the jig was a stationary table. Bryan was having trouble with a particular guitar and found that gravity had an effect on the neck. He laid the table over on its side to put the guitar in the playing position that most of us use. Note: to prove the effect of gravity, tune a guitar laid with the top facing up. Then, pick the guitar up into playing position and check the tuning.....it has gone flat due to gravity.
    So, with this revelation, Dan and Bryan created the rotating top for the neck tension jig bench. The purpose of the jig Is to hold that neck 8n the playing position regarding relief AFTER the strings are removed. One adjusts the truss rod to return the back of the neck to the contact points established by those witnessing pins that one brings to the back of the neck while the guitar is strung, toned and in the playing condition.
    IMHO, the jig without the rotating bench table is just a part of the equation. Yes, I have a neck tension jig bench...custom built to my height. I was measured for the bench at Stew Mac on my way home from my apprenticeship in .big Rapids in 1991. I was also sworn to secrecy as to the fine points of the use of said bench....but that was in pre-internet days when everything is revealed, right? Besides, I have just given the bare essentials of how the jig works and how the rotating bench is the final key to it all.
    That said, IF a person understands how a neck works and can see what is going on; a fine level and dress can be done without either the jig or the complete bench with jig.
     
  8. eallen

    eallen Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,304
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2013
    Location:
    Bargersville/Indianapolis, Indiana
    Is it helpful for leveling? Not in my opinion. Yes, a neck should be as level as possible when doing leveling. The whole preloading to simulated string tension has never made sense to me. The only difference is you are leveling out any natural relief given from string pressure. So, if you want any releif you then have to release the truss rod more to get it, thus putting you are right back where you are without preloading. Then there is the whole deal of the next humidity change.

    In the past year I have had 2 people with high end custom shop Gibson & Fenders that they paid significantly to have pleked and setup by a high end shop. After playing my builds they couldn't believe they had spent so much money on their high end setup when they felt my builds played better. The thing is, I am no better than the next guy on here.

    The deal is you don't need a gimmick. Take your time and checking every fret to ensure is level with the adjacent ones. Then take the time to set it just as a person desires.

    Eric
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  9. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,133
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Location:
    Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
    .

    The jig works. When strung up a neck makes an S curve while the truss rod only gives you a C curve adjustment capability.
    So if you only use the truss rod you are flattening to one curve and then stringing it up you are creating a separate curve, hoping the two line up well enough to eliminate buzz.

    Some guitars you can see the headstock rotate about the nut from the string tension, so look at one the next time you change strings. Lay the guitar on its back with a dial indicator at the tip and see how much it moves as you loosen the string tension.

    First necks I did with a 6-inch file, later I went to an 18inch granite beam with sandpaper, then I made the jig. Each step was vastly superior to the prior method. You can transform a $50 beater guitar into a $500 player with the file; a $1,000 player with the beam; and a $2,000 player with the jig. Only thing better is a PLEK, which has the advantage that a $10/hour kid can run several machines not a $50-$100/hour luthier stuck at the jig for an hour or two...

    Find the Matt Vinson plans on the Talk Bass forum. A couple of youtube videos are out there about building and setting up and using (look at the stewmac how to use their aluminum system video). There are some subtleties that you need to follow to get optimum results. So make notes as you run it. If you get off those process tricks you'll drop down to the $500 player level and do all that work that a six inch file could have gotten you to.

    See my neck reset repair thread that includes my modifications to the MV design, I simplified it quite a bit http://www.tdpri.com/threads/steamed-repairing-a-broken-neck-prs.762673/

    Look up Sam Deeks youtube channel for leveling while a guitar has strings on it. I haven't tried that yet but it looks promising.

    .
     
  10. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,343
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    Location:
    england
    I had a look at the Dan Erlewine jig and yes that thing is expensive ...here is a DIY design on the jig for a fraction of the price which actually looks very simple but effective
     
    ndcaster likes this.
  11. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    72
    Posts:
    11,089
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    in over 50 years I have never used such a jig.. and I would submit my 2000.00 guitars are indeed 2000.00 players at the very least..

    Lutherie is an art, thus there is an endless list of differing philosophies regarding the various aspects.. I view this in this light... the jig clamps the neck into a specific configuration.... that configuration is predicated on the prevailing environmental conditions influencing the wood at that given moment... as soon as you move it into different conditions, the parameters change... I mean, it IS wood is it not?

    The art of the fret leveling is not one who's success is dictated by the level of precision, for precision is non existent in a wood anything.... it is measured by the level of consistency... the way the guitar melds with the guitarist's ergonomic interface.. and that is a continuous variable from one guy to the next..

    r
     
    eallen likes this.
  12. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    31,434
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Lubbock, TX
    Luthiery is at its basis a science. These guitars are machines, and the geometry must be correct for the physics to be correct.
    The cosmetic aspect of luthiery could be considered an art, but that aspect has nothing to do with the instrument’s ability
    to provide a player an instrument that has the ability to make music.
    Precision??? Well, I deal in that. IMHO and ime, precision is the only way to make an instrument play well.
     
  13. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    72
    Posts:
    11,089
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    How do you incorporate then maintain any relative precision on a constantly moving object?

    Even the 3 m square by 1 m high granite blocks used for precision optical research moves... which is why the granite is so big...

    r
     
    eallen likes this.
  14. Clinchriver

    Clinchriver Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Age:
    59
    Posts:
    331
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    Location:
    Andersonville, TN
    Around here we have 3 folks who understand fretwork and have the chops to execute excellent work. One has the Stewmac Jig, swears by it, does great work. The other two hit the road a few years ago and took a very intense, hands on class from two of the very best, (Ann Arbor Michigan) Good leveling beam, good technique, and a plan, consistent excellent results. Follow the individual string paths, address the ski ramp, level, crown polish, you will get out exactly what you put in. Good Luck
     
  15. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    31,434
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Lubbock, TX
    Whatever path one chooses to use, it all starts with a basic understanding of what one is looking at and what should be done....as Clinchriver says...you gotta have a plan. That plan has to be based on an understanding of the task at hand.
     
  16. philosofriend

    philosofriend Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    981
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2015
    Location:
    Kalamazoo
    The jig makes more sense the more rubbery the neck is. Dan wants do do a good job quickly with a demanding customer who brings in a real flexi-flier.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.