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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Fret leveling yer tele.......101

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Ronkirn, Feb 27, 2010.

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  1. vtcyclist

    vtcyclist Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 19, 2008
    Vermont
    Ron: A tangent from the leveling discussion.....do you have any words of wisdom regarding shaping and filing the fret ends? As in how much to file off, angle, protecting the wood while flush filing, polishing, etc.

    Thank you for doing this thread. Coincidently, I just pulled all the frets from a Squire Strat neck I have, soley for the purpose of practicing a refret, file, level, finish. Gotta learn somehow, eh?

    [​IMG]

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  2. gogirlguitars

    gogirlguitars Tele-Holic

    Yep me also, 600 I find does not leave deep horizontal cuts. i do my fret work under a very bright light and jewelers magnified glasses. You can really see every scratch on the fret this way, and it takes a while to get the fret completely perfect.
     

  3. 4string

    4string Friend of Leo's

    Feb 11, 2010
    Central California
    (quote) Im considering the diamond files

    I just have to chirp in here, even though Im probably the last person who ought to comment re: available luthier tools. My comment is in regards to the specific "type" of diamond tool stewmac et al is offering to the public. Every diamond tool for guitars Ive seen is the electro-plated diamond encrusted variety, which is the junk bargain basement variety of diamond tooling. Rub that garbage against some truly hard material and its dull in about 3 strokes. With that in mind, Ill give it 20 or 30 strokes on stainless. I automatically would stear clear of diamond tools for steel cuz diamond tooling needs to be engineered for the material it is to be used on. Specific applications generally fall into hardness groups. All diamond tooling other than the electroplated variety involves diamonds suspended in a matrix which has been designed to wear away slowly, exposing more diamonds. The exact matrix is tayored to the material being cut. The diamonds themselves get rounded-off (dulled) in the cutting process, and this is why more diamonds need to be exposed on a constant basis.

    The diamond blades we put on our big saw has diamond segments about an inch tall and yeild about 5000-10000 lineal feet of cut material before wearing down to the steel blade core. Now THATS a diamond tool. We go through a blade a month, less when we're busier.

    That electroplated stuff is POS. When it gets dull and stops cutting you can toss it in the trash. It has zero diamond back-up;what you see is what you get. I would automatically stear towards a conventional carbon steel file w/ teeth. Im sure stainless will dull it, but dont expect the POS diamond stuff to not dull. At least that Gurian job sells replacement files.
     

  4. gogirlguitars

    gogirlguitars Tele-Holic

    The diamond files are not recommended for stainless steel frets, however I find them the most gentle and effective on nickle/silver.

    I also have a set of the others with the teeth, but they add more and deeper scratches and chatter!

    I sometimes wrap sandpaper around the crowning file and use that, or i use the side of the file with sandpaper like a triangle file and work the fret round from each side.

    the diamond file is great for doing the ends of the frets also, it's takes a bit of technique, but gentle goes is the key.
     

  5. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 4, 2007
    New Jersey
    What a great thread - thanks Ron.

    I've never tried to level or crown but I've always wanted to learn. This thread explains it very well and I think it's time for me to order a few tools and get started!
     

  6. lcipher

    lcipher TDPRI Member

    4
    Feb 11, 2010
    IN
    Not trying to be dense - but the second file *is* a diamond file. So that's that one to get (provided you're NOT doing stainless steel)>?
     

  7. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    If you want some quality tools... and aren't on a budget, Allparts, Stewmac, or Luthier Mercantile are the preeminent suppliers... there are others, and I'm sure others will be mentioned.. But these 3 supply those that do this stuff professionally...

    And I agree about the quality of tools, but some cannot afford the professional level, and will only do a few guitars, for those the lower priced “student grade” will suffice.

    Ron
     

  8. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    55
    Sep 23, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    I'm still a bit perplexed here. Many of my guitars are in fact about fifty years old, and their frets are slightly narrower than anything available today. I believe eleven or twelve of them fall into this category. I also get paid to do repairs and set-ups from time to time; I may encounter wider frets on other people's instruments.
    This is the file that really seems to speak to me, and my only concern is that it might not be appropriate for some of those older instruments. If a slightly wider file can easily be manipulated to work well with narrower frets - say, by using one side at a time - I won't worry about it. But this set looks good and is very reasonably priced. What to do?
     

  9. gogirlguitars

    gogirlguitars Tele-Holic

    I have a set of those in your second link. I do not like the teeth on them, they chatter and they leave bad scratches. If i use them I wrap 600 grit sandpaper around them.

    The three of them are for different widths, lg, med and vintage thin, so that's good, but the cutting surface is awful.
     

  10. XinTX

    XinTX Tele-Meister

    118
    Jan 16, 2009
    SE Texas
    I used a dremel. It eliminated the blister. But that's what I did. I used an 18" straight edge that cost about $3. A few minutes with a dremel and it's done.
     

  11. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    I use the LMI set, I find them fine.... different strokes for different folks... the Stew Mac is a great file too, but not a particularly great price, particularly for the novice....

    While this may start a whole new "topic of discussion" I have found over the years, and have found many that I have talked with share my opinion... the exact correct "crown" is not necessary... that the Medium and the Jumbo crown file will do 99% of whatcha got to do.... even on the 50 year old guitars... here's why....

    The crown file cuts a round dome along the top of the fret.... I know.... big "duh" here.... but that dome presents a very small area of contact to the string suspended relatively straight across it. Take a fret.. lay a straight edge across it . . . never mind... I'll do it for ya....;)


    Note that the ruller is Metric, so you are looking at 1 mm increments .. thus the actual area of contact is less than a few thousandths....

    so.... it doesn't matter if the fret is crowned with a narrow frets dome, or a fattys.. the point of contact is really extremely small.... and .. the action of fretting a few times will burnish down the dome of a narrow fret to be the equivalent of a Jumbo frets dome in only a few sessions on the guitar.... and as a side benefit... a fret crowned with a larger frets dome will not wear as fast as the narrow fret will..

    Just something to consider..

    Ron Kirn
     

    Attached Files:

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  12. 4string

    4string Friend of Leo's

    Feb 11, 2010
    Central California
    low-rise frets on flat street?

    hey Ron, just out of curiosity, how much fret do you consider is being lost through this process? Would the courser sandpaper/crowning file scratches lead to any appreciable shortening of the frets compared with using a finer paper/crowning file? It seems like it might take forever to cut down those high frets using a really fine grade of paper on the leveling phase, but less likelihood of going further than needed. Whats yer take on that?

    :idea::idea::idea::idea::idea::idea::idea::idea: Good 'ol American Inginuity :idea::idea::idea::idea::idea::idea::idea::idea:

    I caught a 'new trick' in there............using the beam/sandpaper to adjust the neck to flat. Always thinkin', eh Ron? In "Ultimate Guide to Electric Guitar Setup" you were using a straightedge to get the neck flat.............. No more squinting to see if all those frets are touching while the straightedge swings around on top of the frets..............you are one sly fox, I love it!;)
     

  13. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    on the average neck, there may be a few where around .003 inch gets knocked off... more so on really horrible necks. Oh, .003 is the thickness of the typical sheet of plain jane paper.

    I once bought one of those inlaid fingerboards off the Bay, made over in some obscure part of nowhere, the frets were so crooked, some were cut by 50% by time I get 'em level... still have the booger around some where.... a good illustration of how not to do frets.

    Yep, accomplishes the same thing and is easier to see...

    Ron
     

  14. TheDragonReborn

    TheDragonReborn Tele-Meister

    143
    Jan 4, 2009
    Heerlen, NL, Europe
    Thanks, Ron! This exactly the info I was looking for!
    Man, do I love TDPRI!:D

    TDR
     

  15. lcipher

    lcipher TDPRI Member

    4
    Feb 11, 2010
    IN
    files question



    The file in the ebay link is not differnt widths on each side: This is the 220/320grit dual sided Diamond fret crowning file 2 sided, One side with the 220grit one side 320. It is 2.49 MM for Med/LG frets in width.

    2.49mm is 0.098"

    So is this still ok for medium to jumbo? Or better to get the LMI?

    The LMI FFR is supposed to be good for 0.080", 0.079" widths.
    The LMI FFR2 is supposed to be good for 0.106", 0.098", 0.110" widths.
    http://www.lmii.com/CartTwo/thirdpr...e=Fretting&NameProdHeader=Fret+Rounding+Files

    It doesnt say the exact width of the file, but it sounds like the FFR2 would be similar to the ebay file?

    Just trying to sort this out. I dont have a ton of $$ to spend, but I want to get a decent tool that I can use on mostly everything.

    Ron - do you use BOTH LMI tools for different frets or just one (which one)?

    Or better to go with the Stew mac which IS (I think?) a double side with different widths med/large? http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Fretting_supplies/Shaping_and_crowning/Double-edge_Fret_File.html

    .
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010

  16. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    I use the LMI FFR2 for medium Jumbo and up.... that's about 90 % of what you would see....

    r
     

  17. 68thinline

    68thinline Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 4, 2009
    Hoggetowne, FL

  18. nadzab

    nadzab Friend of Leo's

    Mar 23, 2009
    New England
    Ron, any special considerations when doing this on set necks?
     

  19. SimpleOne

    SimpleOne Friend of Leo's

    Aug 13, 2008
    Cloud
    Wow, thanks for the very patient instructions guys!
     

  20. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    Just be certain the neck is supported, but no "stress" is applied by the supports..

    Ron Kirn
     

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