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Spot Leveling vs. Leveling The Entire Fretboard and String Spacing on the Saddles

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by VinceM, Mar 8, 2018.

  1. VinceM

    VinceM TDPRI Member

    60
    Dec 27, 2011
    New Jersey
    This is a two parter:

    Firstly, the All Parts neck I got for my Strat build has a few high frets. The 13th fret is a little high causing very minor buzzing. There are a few other spots on the neck with high frets as well. So I'm wondering, should I just level out those few high frets or do an entire fret leveling on the whole neck? Is it overkill in this situation to do the entire neck?

    Secondly, the string spacing is a little wide on my Strat as you can see in this picture:

    [​IMG]

    The strings are barely hanging on to the end of the frets.

    At the bridge, you can see how the strings are coming off the saddles and how the high e and low E are pushing themselves closer towards the center:

    [​IMG]

    This is the Vintage USA Strat Steel Saddle Trem from GuitarFetish. Apparently it has the 2 7/32'' spacing on the saddles. I guess I need the more narrow 2 1/16'' saddles to go with my All Parts neck.

    So here's the dumb question, can I just replace the saddles? That's not going to cause any weirdness with the bridge right? There is a set of the 2 1/16'' Fender saddles on eBay for for like $18. Would that be an easy fix?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. danlad

    danlad Tele-Meister

    251
    Mar 24, 2015
    Here and there
    Unfortunately narrow saddles swapped into your bridge would just mean same string spacing, just with big gaps between 'em.

    You can get bridges with the vintage 6 screw mount to the body with the narrower saddle spacing though.
     
  3. Bob Arbogast

    Bob Arbogast Tele-Afflicted

    That close to the edge string alignment is par for the course with a vintage-style Strat. It's part of the charm!
     
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  4. Doghouse_Riley

    Doghouse_Riley Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    56
    Sep 11, 2016
    L.A.
    Can you tap the high frets down with a small hammer to even them out?
     
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  5. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

    Oct 29, 2013
    NYC
    That's always my first step, with one of these:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. VinceM

    VinceM TDPRI Member

    60
    Dec 27, 2011
    New Jersey
    I haven't tried that. Is there a preferred tool for this? A small mallet I guess?
     
  7. Doghouse_Riley

    Doghouse_Riley Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    56
    Sep 11, 2016
    L.A.
    I use a small brass hammer. A plastic face hammer like LutherBurger posted would be good too. I've even used a small claw hammer and tapped lightly.
     
  8. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Friend of Leo's

    Oct 29, 2013
    NYC
    I know whose Ignore List I'm on. :)
     
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  9. VinceM

    VinceM TDPRI Member

    60
    Dec 27, 2011
    New Jersey
    I saw your picture but didn't know what that was exactly. A reverse google image search shows it's a Jeweler's Hammer.

    Thanks!
     
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  10. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    northwest
    NO, the spacing on the strings is defined by the holes in the body or trem block.
    Some help:
    [​IMG]
     
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  11. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    61
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    I'd try tapping down first, but as a rule, I consider any new neck needs a light dress. Whole neck. So much nicer all around.

    And yes, the strings falling off the neck is pure vintage Strat. Enjoy :)
     
  12. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    I agree with moosie on the light fret dress, but if the strings are falling off I'd seriously consider going narrower on bridge and/or possibly nut. I hate that....
     
    telemnemonics likes this.
  13. VinceM

    VinceM TDPRI Member

    60
    Dec 27, 2011
    New Jersey
    This illustration helps a lot. Apparently I could get the Callaham "American Vintage - Narrow" to rectify this situation since it has the 2-7/32'' screw holes but the 2-1/16'' string spacing.
     
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  14. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    59
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    WRT dressing vs tapping high frets down, I think it's important to make certain what is wrong before attempting to fix it.
    If a fret is high because it isn't seated, you can see the gap between the fret and the board, of if your eyes are bad and you don't have reading glasses, you can try to slip the corner of a piece of paper under the high fret.
    If a fret end is not seated, I'd prefer to put a drop of crazy glue in the end before hammering it home, and maybe even clamp it till the glue hardens. Might stay put but why is it high?
    Hard to say why a high quality neck like Allparts would have been shipped with the frets not properly seated. I see that on cheaper necks though.
    Tapping down a fret too hard can put a kink in it and make it worse.

    Frets can be firmly seated and yet not dead level, so it would be pointless to start hammering on properly seated frets.

    Course, if everyone had said "file down the high frets!" I might just as well have added that they may not be fully seated. Just adding what seems useful at the moment.

    Yeah it's funny how the vintage strings too close to the edge and flush B string polepiece are still a standard. Fix that stuff Fender!
    Actually the Mexi narrow bridge is a little too narrow for my taste.

    I generally file each saddle to bring the strings in just a little more on a vintage spaced bridge.
    In the pics your strings are already pretty far in on the saddles, does the neck have a wider nut or wider string spacing at the nut?
     
  15. VinceM

    VinceM TDPRI Member

    60
    Dec 27, 2011
    New Jersey
    No. From what I understand, the All Part are a true 1 5/8'' at the nut. The strings coming off the nut are pretty much perfect. They're not hanging close to the edge. It's the bridge and saddles that's causing them to flair out a bit so the higher I play on the neck, the closer towards the edge the strings get.

    Apparently there are a number of bridges that could rectify this. The Wilkinson WV6 SB bridge says "String Spacing is 2 1/8 and screw hole spacing is 2 3/16" so that would definitely bring the strings in closer.

    I think I'm just going to play the guitar for a while and then make a decision on the string spacing.

    Thanks for your help.
     
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  16. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    61
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    Excellent idea.
     
  17. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    +1 for don't hammer the fret, you'll ding it by accident and make for a mess. Many frets are pushed in then glued.

    If you want to try spot leveling, look up Sam Deeks on youtube. Otherwise Dave's world of funs stuff has a few fret level videos in there.

    .
     
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  18. VinceM

    VinceM TDPRI Member

    60
    Dec 27, 2011
    New Jersey
    Thanks for suggesting this guy. I just watched a 3 hour video of him refretting and setting up a Tele and boy did it answer a lot of questions.
     
  19. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    57
    Mar 17, 2003
    Spring City, Pa
    Maybe I'm not a great tech (understatement!), but I seem to always need to touch up a couple spots after a refret or level & crown.
    I'd just fix the spots.
     
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