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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. bubba105

    bubba105 Tele-Meister

    159
    Mar 11, 2009
    New York City
    Thanks for the tip 4string. I know he does quartz/poly, I'll have to help him get rid of some. I just figured granite would be very flat. Live & learn. Interesting to watch the cutting process. You guys must go thru a bunch of edging bits.
     

  2. 4string

    4string Friend of Leo's

    Feb 11, 2010
    Central California
    Granite is every bit as flat as quartz poly. They are both processed to flatness (and polished) the exact same way. 2cm (3/4") thick granite at 2" wide is not so stable, and fairly fragile. Granite is quite stable at thicker dimension. Granite surface plates start at 3" thick for smaller sizes and go up to 6" thick at "dinning table size".

    If you were near my shop, I could give you a truckload of granite scrap, which you could make into 157,000 live-times worth of leveling beams each one single use:!::..........:)lol:)

    It's like, how much do you want?

    We actually don't use that many router-style bits. Our edging machines look like this:

    http://www.parkindustries.com/content/view/24/25/

    We have three of these. They use 4.5" dia diamond cuttinghead discs ranging from 24 grit to 3600 grit. Even when stone is being "cut" it is actually being ground. We only use router bits for concave shapes. The tooling is very expensive. We have a 14" diameter planeing wheel 2" wide for our saw that cost $2700. Lasts a long time though. We go through $600 worth of blades for our big saw per month: not surprising considering it has a 25 hp arbor motor w/ gear reduction, giving it the equivelent of 40 hp @ the shaft! We have a Park Industries "Jaguar" full CNC semi-auto w/ 40" blade capacity, looks like this:

    http://www.parkindustries.com/content/view/52/53/


    The sucker tears through 2cm and 3cm material at a mind-bogling rate, and 14" blades too..... Our equipment is 100% made in the USA in St Cloud, MN. When something breaks we cann't wait days/weeks for parts to show up!
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2010

  3. rainedave

    rainedave Tele-Holic

    638
    Jan 3, 2010
    NC, USA
    I went by a local counter shop today. The guy there was very helpful. He let me dig through their dumpster and take what I wanted. I took two strips of marble, one about 18.5" x 1.25" x 1.25" and one about 20" x 1.75" x 1.25". Both have one face that is polished glass-smooth. Both pieces are pretty heavy.

    I placed a true straight edge on the polished surfaces. Held up to the light I could just see light with the larger piece. The thinnest feeler gauge I have is 0.0015" and it will not pass between the straight edge and the marble. That's less than 1/667th of an inch. The smaller piece didn't show any light.

    RD
     

  4. 4string

    4string Friend of Leo's

    Feb 11, 2010
    Central California
    There you have it. The process to polish stone has the side benefit of making it extremely flat. There is only one process that can make something flater, and that is lapping. Rubbing two ALMOST flat surfaces together with abrasive compound will produce surfaces so flat that the literal vacuum between them makes them near impossible to separate as the relative air pressure holds them together. I can produce the same effect with two pieces of quartz poly 24" by 24" by getting them wet and sticking them together face-to-face. The water will act as a seal. They are impossible to separate using human strength until after the water has dissipated between them! They will not slide apart. You would think they were glued together. They will not budge. And since quartz poly is impervious, this can take more than a day! Things of this nature can give one a greater appreciation for the laws of physics............

    None of this has much to do with fret leveling. And why is it called leveling? That term is reserved for relativity to gravity as perfectly horizontal. It should be called fret planeing!:confused:

    I've been trying to hint at it all along: your local countertop guy has plenty of free flatness! Good score raindave!:D
     

  5. rainedave

    rainedave Tele-Holic

    638
    Jan 3, 2010
    NC, USA
    I took the neck off my Hwy 1 (stamped FEB 07 2003) and gave it a shot. First, I used my notched straight edge to adjust the truss rod until the fret board was as flat as I could get it. You don't want to sand frets when there's relief or back-bow in the neck! I think it came out fine. There were about three frets that were noticeably high and a few that were lower than the others.

    I just ordered a crowning file from StewMac, so I'll have to wait until next week to crown the frets. I also ordered a full set of nut files from Warmoth: http://www.warmoth.com/Nut-Files-Set-of-8-P45C215.aspx

    RD
     

    Attached Files:


  6. LeDocteur

    LeDocteur Tele-Meister

    323
    Oct 20, 2009
    PA
    I haven't read every message in this thread yet, so I don't know if this concept has been touched upon. Let's consider the string as it runs from the nut to the bridge as being one plane. And a level line drawn across the tops of the frets as being a second plane. And a level line extended across the flat of the guitar body (or centerline in the case of a carved top) as a third plane.

    What is the ideal relationship of these three planes?
     

  7. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    that is over complicating a simple procedure.. but if the question pertains to playability, that is an issue that is only relative to whoever owns and plays the guitar.

    Ron
     

  8. LeDocteur

    LeDocteur Tele-Meister

    323
    Oct 20, 2009
    PA
    Ron, thanks, I understand what you're saying.

    I've been getting my feet wet doing fret work and have acquired a couple of inexpensive strat clones to experiment with. I would characterize the results obtained as okay, but in need of improvement. I'm a plucker, not a picker. I play classical guitar which gives me the tendency to hit the strings hard. No doubt magnifies the errors.

    I keep experimenting with neck shims, relief, and string height, in an attempt to clean up the sound. I'm shimming the neck slightly to raise the headstock end but still have problems, especially with the low E above the octave. If I go any farther with shims the bridge saddles will be nosediving. It has me puzzled.
     

  9. rainedave

    rainedave Tele-Holic

    638
    Jan 3, 2010
    NC, USA
    After you level all of the frets, put several layers of masking tape on top of the 12th fret and color the 13th through the last frets again with your marker. Now, sand the frets again until the ink is all gone being careful not to sand through the tape on the 12th fret. This will produce what I believe is called "Fall Off" and should get rid of any buzzing one octave up the neck.

    RD
     

  10. rainedave

    rainedave Tele-Holic

    638
    Jan 3, 2010
    NC, USA
    One thing I noticed using my 2lb 14oz marble bar with 150 grit is that it cuts through frets really fast. If you're going to use a heavy stone bar I suggest checking the Sharpie marks after every two strokes. Get carried away and you'll be sanding rosewood or maple.

    RD
     

  11. 4string

    4string Friend of Leo's

    Feb 11, 2010
    Central California
    I experienced similar using a courser grit (180). I tried 220 and that cut at a more manageable pace for a beginner like me.

    I think it is worthwhile to thoroughly examine the overall condition of a neck prior to going at it with the beam. I have a Tobias Growler that really didn't need leveling. It was probably leveled at the factory. I used 400 grit on it which worked perfectly to determine/show that it was level. I also used a red marker, which is easier (at least for me) to see what is happening as the cutting is happening.

    I bought a $20 "Harmonia" neck off the "bay" just for a photo shoot. Talk about messed-up! It took 2 PIECES of 180 to level that POS !!! I had flat spots approx 2/3 the width of the fret on some of the high ones! Amazingly, after re-crowning/polishing, the frets look great! You would never know they got cut like that. If I had something to put that neck on, my money would be on that it would play like a million bucks.

    Only goes to show that Ron is absolutely correct about the need for this proceedure, and about EVERYTHING ELSE HE SAYS. A thread like this one is 100% charity on his part. You ought to have claimed this on your tax return Ron................

    Like the old saying goes.........'Don't look a gift horse in the mouth". I hope that's not too folksy.
     

  12. LeDocteur

    LeDocteur Tele-Meister

    323
    Oct 20, 2009
    PA
    I have a roll of Stew's 220 and 320. I find myself preferring the 320. Whatever you use, you're going to have to get that grit of sandscratch out of the frets. It makes sense to me to minimize what you do to them after the initial leveling process. The smoother I leave them, the quicker and easier the rest of it goes.
     

  13. rainedave

    rainedave Tele-Holic

    638
    Jan 3, 2010
    NC, USA
    220 grit probably is a better choice for learning. Better to take it slow.

    RD
     

  14. jim_pridx

    jim_pridx Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 1, 2008
    WI
    I've been following this thread all along and, like yourselves, I, too, like to apply similar procedures upon myself to improve the playability of my guitars, and I really appreciate Ron's input into the matter. Of course, there are literally hundreds of guitar builders out there that apply a vast array of technique, artistry, and knowledge into their craft - none of which can be considered absolutely right or wrong - for it's really all about what works best for you. It just so happens that Ron is damn good at what he does, and he's taken it upon himself to supply us with some valuable information here that's not only very easy to comprehend, but it works! It's not "rocket science" by any stretch of the word(s), but I find it a little disheartening when some feel the need to counter his knowledge when they don't really contribute any valuable information of their own, especially when considering that Ron's input is - as 4string put it - "100% charity on his part." Seriously, how many other master builders on the TDPRI would even think about taking the time to share their knowledge with you as extensively as Ron does? Thank you, Ron!

    Jim
     

  15. 4string

    4string Friend of Leo's

    Feb 11, 2010
    Central California
    +1 (can I vote more than once?) THANK YOU RON!

    Marty
     

  16. Ziggy

    Ziggy Tele-Holic

    719
    Dec 10, 2009
    Tennessee

  17. soulfixinman

    soulfixinman Tele-Meister

    120
    Jul 21, 2009
    Summerville, SC
    Did the 4string method of getting some flat stone


    Ok hope you all don't mind getting back to fret leveling 101 for a minute, let me put my popcorn down.


    Well I took 4Strings advice and looked up manufactured stone on the net in my area and located a shop in a suburb of where I live. Took my printed out list of what to do when I got there, because I surly wanted to have a chance at scoring some quartz polymer resin.

    Following the directions I went right in the front door and noticed a few guys chatting in one of the small offices and also became aware of all of the beautiful polished stone all over this showroom, not to mention the very attractive woman helping someone pick out some of that there fancy engineered stone.

    So I just popped in that office and asked them who was in charge, they laughed and said no one at the moment, so I just told them I heard this manufactured stone was the best material one could get for leveling something and that I was wondering if I could get a few pieces of scrap and that I was willing to pay for it.

    So they asked me what sizes and I said 20 by 2, and if possible a piece 8 by 2, so the younger guy said he would check with the plant manager and if something close would be alright…I said sure.

    So the plant manager finally comes to the showroom and he tells me he has something that might work but to cut it would be very expensive like someone else wanted a small piece cut and he charged them around $100. So now I am hoping for the best out of the scraps they have.

    He took me to a hopper of freshly cut scrap but it was all wider than what I wanted. He also showed me a piece like 1 inch wide by 4 feet long, I almost took that one.
    Then went to the back and started looking at all these pieces leaning against the wall. By this time I had told him what I was going to use it for and he seemed somewhat a little more interested in helping me.

    What I ended up with is 2 pieces both 1 ¼” thick instead of ¾” one is 3” by 27”and the other is 3” by 9”…he was going to charge me to do any cuts, said it has to be programmed in. I don't think they had any in 3/4."

    I thanked him, shook his hand and offered to buy him lunch but he declined saying it was just scrap..So now I hope these will be ok to level with. What do ya’ll think.

    thanks Ron and 4string
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2010

  18. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    yeah baby, that'll be fine... If I knew it was available in 1 1/4 ..... all the better...

    Ron
     

  19. soulfixinman

    soulfixinman Tele-Meister

    120
    Jul 21, 2009
    Summerville, SC
    cool!....I can't believe how polished the finished side is...wow.
     

  20. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    as a side note.... many of those counter top guys do Corian or a Corian like material too, if ya want a life long supply of corian nuts, ask 'e for a "sink cut-out" that stuff gets "pitched" too..

    Ron Kirn
     

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