Bad vision and examining fret crowns

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by roncg41677, May 7, 2021.

  1. roncg41677

    roncg41677 Tele-Meister

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    I have a lot of trouble telling how well crowned my frets are - even with a jewelers loupe. The way the light reflects off the frets makes it difficult to gauge how much crown is on the fret.

    Does anyone else have this issue? Any other methods for determining fret flatness?
     
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  2. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    Can you get a decent quality close up pic from the side profile?
    If you post it here, you'll here other folks chime in I'd bet.
     
  3. roncg41677

    roncg41677 Tele-Meister

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  4. BelairPlayer

    BelairPlayer Tele-Afflicted

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    I use red Sharpie on the top of the fret. I crown until the line is just a tiny sliver, then I start polishing. I also use sharpie to mark the high spots with a fret rocker to minimize his much I flatten in the first place when leveling. Hope that helps.
     
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  5. roncg41677

    roncg41677 Tele-Meister

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    I’m getting some terrible buzz on the high e at the frets 5 and 12-13. I’ve checked with a fret rocker and there’s barely any rocking (just a tiny touch) and I’m not seeing any obvious flatness.

    (ignore the gouge on the 6th fret. It’s a cheap neck and I’m not terribly concerned about it. Will try to buff it out later)
     
  6. roncg41677

    roncg41677 Tele-Meister

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    will using a crowning tool that covers the entire fret rub off the sharpie?
     
  7. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    Have you done a pass with the crowning file yet? Curious.

    Some are ok, some are great and some are terrible. I have had experience with the 'ok' ones and the horrible ones (haven't spend the required $$$ to get a good one... yet). But yeah, the quality of the crowning file makes a big difference.

    What BelairPlayer says is spot on re: Sharpie marking and then filing back. After a decent pass with the crowning file, you'll see that top narrow 'sliver' of the Sharpie across the top of the fret [crown]. Ron Kirn posted a very good How-To in the DIY section up on here TDPRI -- I can't recall the link offhand, but you can find it pretty easy with a quick search. He includes lots of pics with the description(s) and is very, very helpful.

    Edit: If the top of one/some of the frets is too flat, you can get some weird [soundwise] anomalies that sound sort of buzzy/unfocused/sitar-like even at times.
     
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  8. BelairPlayer

    BelairPlayer Tele-Afflicted

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    If I’m not consistent in holding the crowning file it can rub it off a little too soon, I just reapply the sharpie.
     
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  9. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Afflicted

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    To address your buzzes, you've got some areas near the ends of the frets with more flat on top than the rest of the fret which means that they may have been sanded more during the leveling. Before recrowning, you want to level the frets with a ground dead flat sanding beam, again using the sharpie first to make sure you've kissed every fret. To get a nice consistent crown, I wimp out and use a good diamond crowning file ($$$). As Belair Player said, sharpie the leveled frets again first and crown until you have a tiny sliver of sharpie left down the center of the crown (to make sure you don't file down too much). Then proceed to sanding and polishing (fun, fun, fun) :cry:
     
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  10. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    If you look real close at the last pic you posted, you can see that the top of some of the frets (under high E) are flat..

    Ok, telepraise just beat me to it. -But yeah, what he says. :)
     
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  11. kbold

    kbold Friend of Leo's

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    Need to get rid of that 'tiny touch'.
    Sounds like fret 6 and 14 are a tad high. Inspect frets to make sure they are sitting flush.
    What I would do: remove strings, set neck dead flat, use a flat rule to check fret heights.
    I sharpie every fret then run a short spirit level (1 foot or so long) lightly across all the fret lengthways. Any high frets will have sharpie marks removed.
    Work on high bits, then redo. Of course a nice fret polish after this.
     
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  12. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Afflicted

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    No! If your crowning tool removes all the sharpie, then you are down to the leveled plane. reapplying the sharpie lets you think you can keep filing when you can't (taking that fret down too low). What kind of crowning tool are you using?
     
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  13. roncg41677

    roncg41677 Tele-Meister

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    Wow! Thanks everyone! So much great advice.

    I think the $8 (or whatever it was) crowning tool isn’t doing the job.
    I’ll get the tiny touches out, sharpie and go at it with my file until I get a sharp line.

    I always enjoy opportunities to hone my skills, so I’m kind of looking forward to it,
     
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  14. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    FWIW..

    A good crowning file is essential. I've been exactly where you're at right now, and it was quite the project to undo the damage I had done using a bad (well, just mediocre) crowning file.
    They are spendy, but a good crowning file will go a long way to keep a person from trashing his/her frets. Some of the best are made in Japan these days. ( I forget the name offhand, but some Googling usually turned up the usual names). Expect to pay something like $50-$100 for a good one. Check out the ones from StewMac -- they tend to be a bit more expensive, but they don't sell junk either.
     
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  15. Electric Warrior

    Electric Warrior Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    Hosco?

    Also, good thread. I just leveled a guitar for the first time. Plays much better but think I did a poor job with crowning, I think due to poor technique (also poor vision).
     
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  16. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    No first hand experience with a Hosco, but they seem well regarded here by what I've observed.
    (Don't forget to do a good polish after the crowning is all done).

    Edit: Yeah, the Hosco is the MIJ ..IIRC
    Edit(2): It seems the Amazon is selling individual Hosco crowning files for something like $30-$40 right now.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2021
  17. BelairPlayer

    BelairPlayer Tele-Afflicted

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    That’s not exactly what I meant, but probably didn’t say it well. Sometimes you (I) can take an off center bite with the file and goof up the sharpie mark. It probably has more to do with my mild OCD of what the line should look like. Wholeheartedly agreed, don’t keep putting sharpie on and eating the fret.
     
  18. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Get yourself a 2x diopter pair of mag glasses:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KSJRHJA/

    I use these whenever I do fretwork or setups. Makes seeing the details really easy. Plenty of overhead lighting helps bunches too.
     
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  19. roncg41677

    roncg41677 Tele-Meister

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    I had some time tonight so I cut the strings, flattened the neck and did a full leveling and recrowned, paying special attention to the problem areas (5th and 11-12th). I got it to where there was no rocking anywhere on the fretboard, and used my 3 sided file to carefully crown the frets until there was only a small sliver of Sharpie left on the frets.

    I’m still getting some choking out on the high e string in the same 2 areas.
    I think I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and get a good crowning file.
     
  20. roncg41677

    roncg41677 Tele-Meister

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