Anybody try fret levelling with a hammer?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by schoolie, Apr 25, 2021.

  1. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,840
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    Location:
    NYC
    In my experience, new necks often have at least one (usually more than one) fret that isn't fully seated. I just hammer them down with a small soft-faced hammer, and they stay down. It's not a difficult or complicated task, and it doesn't have to be dangerous.

    Make sure the neck is well supported. If the strings are on, loosen them and move them well out of the way before picking up the hammer. And keep your digits out of the way, too.
     
    DrBGood likes this.
  2. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    38,073
    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Location:
    Wisco
    I had an issue where the high E string was getting caught on the edge of the first fret because that fret was sitting a tad bit high on the high E side.

    A couple sharp hammer raps on that side of the fret alleviated the sitation
     
    RichCuellarPDX and DrBGood like this.
  3. DrBGood

    DrBGood Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    888
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2015
    Location:
    Sutton QC, CANADA
    I must live very ... very dangerously then :)
     
    SAguitar, mkdaws32 and LutherBurger like this.
  4. greasamizer

    greasamizer TDPRI Member

    Age:
    76
    Posts:
    99
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2017
    Location:
    Burlington, Ct
    On hammering: I am no expert, so whatever I say comes from the amateur. Approach hammering with kid gloves; that is only metal, like copper or stainless. It is easily distorted-and once you do that, you'll be off to your friendly neighborhood luthier with a tale of woe...
     
  5. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,561
    Joined:
    May 29, 2016
    Location:
    Kansas
    He's not wrong. You're literally filing off material that can't be replaced. But there's a reason you mow the lawn with a lawn mower and not a hammer. Different tools for different jobs.
     
  6. ashtone54

    ashtone54 TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Age:
    67
    Posts:
    19
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2011
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Anybody try cleaning their fingerboard with a rake?
     
  7. warchol

    warchol TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    99
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2004
    Wow, strong child!

    Very cute BTW

    Do they play any other tools (I mean instruments)?
     
    Blue Bill likes this.
  8. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    29
    Posts:
    9,043
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2019
    Location:
    Land of Mary
    I’ve done this :(

    Didn’t work, went with a nicer neck

    No AllParts for me, everything I’ve bought of theirs has been a problem, the neck wasn’t really bad just needed fretwork which is common

    (If you don’t/can’t do fret work, don’t go with an unfinished neck)
     
    telemnemonics likes this.
  9. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    2,494
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2018
    Location:
    Sauth Carolina
    Re-seating, yes. If I see a fret that is standing proud of the fingerboard (gap under the fret), I'll make the attempt with a small soft-faced hammer (plastic or leather)...it usually works. If the fret is high but properly seated, it gets dressed with a file.

    I had a custom banjo built (many years ago) and after 3 yrs, it arrived...unplayable due to frets popping up in the first 3 positions. I judiciously tapped them...nothing. I called the maker, he said "shipping issue, send it back or find a local luthier to reseat the frets". I took it to a luthier I knew and he pulled the first three frets...the slots were full of chips and shavings, impossible to reseat. He cleaned out the slots, reseated the frets and I've been playing it ever since.

    The Fender necks I've bought from Stratosphere have all been exceptionally good. Very minor dressing needed, a little cleanup, etc.
     
    Caffiend and LutherBurger like this.
  10. hotdotdog

    hotdotdog TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    25
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2011
    Location:
    glendora ca
    I've done it twice with new Mighty Mite necks, one or two high spots have knocked down to level by hammering a wooden dowel contacting the fret wire. I figured that wire is all the same size and for the 2 necks I've done that process, that was all that was needed. That's not always going to work but if the fret wire is not fully seated this will do the trick.
     
  11. benderb9

    benderb9 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,061
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2011
    Location:
    St Petersburg,FL
    I have one of these Fret Setters from StewMac, fret-setter.jpg although I don't use it often but it's a great tool to have. StewMac priced accordingly LOL.
     
    RichCuellarPDX likes this.
  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    28,155
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    Seems like there's some mixing up here of frets that are not properly seated and the overall L&C that makes a neck dead on perfect.

    The OP referred to hammering as a leveling method.

    Certainly now and then a fret is not seated properly.
    Are we buying necks with lots of frets sticking up?
    I'm not having that problem with Allparts and Warmoth or even Fender.
     
    Boreas likes this.
  13. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    15,325
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    The Far-Flung Isles of Langerhans
    But grass grows back.
     
    DrBGood likes this.
  14. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,561
    Joined:
    May 29, 2016
    Location:
    Kansas
    Not if you mow it with a hammer.
     
    SAguitar and Blue Bill like this.
  15. dirtguitar

    dirtguitar TDPRI Member

    Age:
    71
    Posts:
    39
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2018
    Location:
    US
     
  16. schoolie

    schoolie Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    653
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2008
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Maybe I just got lucky, but this neck is perfect. Even dyed nice and dark..real purty:
    [​IMG]
     
    Steve Holt likes this.
  17. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    2,614
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2019
    Location:
    Moncton, NB Canada
    I learn so much here. What to do and what NOT to do!
     
  18. DrBGood

    DrBGood Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    888
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2015
    Location:
    Sutton QC, CANADA
    I'm curious as to what you learned NOT to do.
     
  19. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    2,614
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2019
    Location:
    Moncton, NB Canada
    Lol! Not to try to drive the frets level with a hammer without understanding why it’s high to begin with (unseated/poorly seated vs. Needs to be levelled) - not that this would have occurred to me without this thread. But now I do know to check if a high fret is seated well before I level it!
     
    DrBGood likes this.
  20. DrBGood

    DrBGood Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    888
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2015
    Location:
    Sutton QC, CANADA
    Loosely translated (don't get offended), in québécois we'll say "You'll go to bed less dumb tonight".
     
    benderb9 and mkdaws32 like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.