Basic Setup

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Freeman Keller, May 26, 2019.

  1. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    There are a couple of threads running right now where questions have been asked about leveling frets, making nuts and other setup related topics. I’ve commented a bit and I’ve received a few private messages asking about aspects that we’ve been discussion. I thought maybe it was time to start a thread dedicated to finishing up your guitar and making it playable.

    I managed to take enough photos of the chambered tele clone when I built it so it makes sense to kind of follow how I got it ready to play, but I’ll probably pull in a few pictures of other guitars so don’t worried of all of a sudden there is blue guitar when the last one was red.

    And while we will be talking about a basic Fender style guitar, I use the same steps and procedure on almost any guitar I’m working on – electric or acoustic, and it really doesn’t matter if it’s a brand new guitar like the tele-clone or one that comes across my workbench for whatever reason. I’ll talk a bit how I approach a used guitar that just needs to be set up.


    Some disclaimers. There are as many ways of doing this as there are people who do it. This works for me, it may be completely wrong for you. I’m an engineer – I measure everything. Some of you have micrometer eyes and can sight down a neck and know exactly what it needs – I can’t. Some of you have so much experience playing guitars that your fingers will tell you exactly what it need. Mine might tell me that it needs something, but otherwise they are just fat sausages.

    The other thing I want to stress is that there is no perfect setup for every player and every guitar. StewMac has a very interesting page on their site where they list the setups for a lot of different guitar god’s guitars. Half of those I couldn’t play if I had to but it works just fine for SRV or BB or whoever. The target values I’m going to suggest here are a good basic medium/low electric action or low fingerstyle acoustic action. Many players, including lots of new players, will like this action – but again, you may prefer something else.

    Lastly, a few conventions. I do all my measuring in the English system, and for measurements less than one inch I use decimal inches. It saves me lots of thinking and converting and errors trying to remember if 3/32 is less than ¼ or 5/64th. I use measuring tools calibrated in decimal inches (feeler gauges, calipers, my string action gauge) – if I take something in fractional inches I’ll usually convert and round it off.

    I make my “action” measurement at the 12th fret of every instrument I work on. That keeps things completely consistent and the math is easy. You’ll see others using the 17th or 18th fret but tell me, if you want to change the action at the 17th fret from 3/32 to 5/64 inches how much to I lower (or raise the saddle)?

    I also know that some adjustments affect others, while some do not. I do things in a consistent fashion that takes this into consideration.

    I’m not going to say anything about vibratos or tremolos. They complicate doing the setup, each one is different, and there are good instructional videos available on each variety.

    Last, and far from least, years ago I put together a little spreadsheet to help me keep track of each guitar that I work on. If it is a used guitar I measure EVERYTHING before I start and fill out a column in the spreadsheet. I have a column called Target – that is the value that I am shooting for when I consider the guitar done. I also have a column that I called Reference – that’s where the target numbers came from. If someone says “please set up my guitar to Fender factory specs” that becomes the Target and Reference. If someone says “make my guitar like Stevie Ray’s” again, that’s what goes in those columns.

    So I don’t have to go looking all over the shop or my computer to find out what various manufactures and technicians use for their specs, there is a tab in the spreadsheet where I’ve recorded that stuff as I have found it. Again, its just a handy way to keep all of this in one place.

    The spreadsheet and instructions are available to anyone who would like it. PM me your e-mail address – I can’t post it here.

    I’m going to do this in several stages spread out over a couple of days. If there is no interest I can just stop, if it seems worthwhile I’ll muddle forward. I break setup work down into the following steps, that’s the way I’ll post things

    (1) Evaluation. Structural condition of the guitar – hydration, loose or broken things, geometry and neck angle, starting measurements

    (2) Frets

    (2A) Making a nut

    (3) Neck relief

    (4) First fret action

    (5) Twelfth fret action

    (6) Intonation

    (7) Pickups and miscellaneous

    Because this guitar is brand new and doesn’t have a nut I will have to do that before setting the relief, but ordinarily I wouldn't have to do (2A)
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
  2. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    Evaluation

    Lets get started. The very first thing I do with any guitar that crosses my bench is assess its condition. There are a number of things I look for or at, the idea being that I want to fix anything that might prevent me from doing the setup. Its better if the guitar has strings on it, the tele-clone is brand new so I assume its in good condition (after all, I built it). First, just look for any obvious structural issues – particularly with an acoustic Any cracks, is the bridge coming off, are there any signs of dehydration. If a guitar is at all dehydrated I won’t do anything until that is resolved – put it away with some humidifiers and wait for it to get better (I might shim the saddle so its playable).

    This guitar is dramatically dehydrated – it should have a nice dome to the top. I’ll start rehydrating it and come back in a month

    IMG_3623.JPG

    Obviously this needs to be fixed before I do anything else

    IMG_2006.JPG

    I start the actual work with a 24 inch straight edge on the frets between the G and D strings and look at where the end is relative to the bridge. I am going to refer to this as the “fret plane” – it is simply the extension of the tops of all of the frets to the area of the bridge. I’m going to assume here that the frets are pretty level, we’ll come back to this.

    The fret plane is the result of the neck angle and something called “overstand” – the amount the fretboard stands proud of the body. Together with the height of the bridge, these make up the geometry of the guitar. I have one rule for geometry – it has to allow the guitar to be playable. Duh. That means that it is such that I can adjust all the setup parameters such that I or someone else will be able to play the guitar and that I will have some extra adjustment to allow me to change it in the future. Say that another way, the correct geometry allows me to set up the guitar. Duh.

    The correct geometry depends on the guitar, and most importantly, the bridge. Here is a rule of thumb – for normal actions on most guitars, if the fret plane just hits the top of the saddles at their lowest position, then there is enough range of adjustment to achieve the action we want. Here are some examples, with a bit of information about each

    Our friend the tele with a traditional bridge (zero neck angle, about 0.250 overstand)

    IMG_3613.JPG

    A guitar with a tune-o-matic and arched top (LP, 335, etc) (4 degree neck angle, no overstand). The bridge is sitting on little blocks of wood that emulate the ToM studs

    IMG_3319.JPG

    A typical acoustic (1 or 2 degree angle, no overstand). The traditional test for correct neck angle is that the fret plane just hits the top of the bridge

    IMG_4051.JPG

    An archtop ( 3 degrees, wedge under the fretboard extension), floating ToM

    IMG_3495.JPG

    I don’t have a picture of a classical but they often have negative neck angle.

    On every guitar I have built, I have made the fret plane hit the top of the saddles at their very lowest position and every one has been easy to set up. If the neck angle is not correct you will not have enough travel in the bridge/saddles to get acceptable action and some adjustment for the future. If you would like me to go thru the math of why I think this works, let me know.
     

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    Last edited: May 26, 2019
  3. Macrogats

    Macrogats Friend of Leo's

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    Looking forward to this Freeman. I just got a new (used) Fender Stratacoustic the other week, and it’s intonation is all shot to hell. Was gonna PM you about it cos the original (plastic) nut was a piece of .... and broke in half when I tried to remove it. I have experimented with a couple of bone nuts I had laying around, but no luck so far. I’ve also decided it needs a fret level before I go any further! Will be watching thisthread in anticipation. (May still mail ya about a couple of things though - we’ll see how it goes.)
     
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  4. Cheap guitar guy

    Cheap guitar guy Tele-Meister

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    I love setting up guitars. It is a side thing that i do. I have my own painting business and i am incredibly busy right now thank god but when winter comes not so much. I guess my question is what are you asking the forum?
     
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  5. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    Let me just show some pictures of what you don't want to see. These are various guitars with bad neck angles - in most cases I won't go forward with doing a setup until it is fixed.

    Here is an acoustic guitar with a neck angle that is too low. It will not be possible to get a low action and have any saddle sticking out of the slot. The ideal neck angle will just have the straightedge hitting the top of the bridge. This guitar needs what is called a neck reset

    IMG_2988.JPG

    Interestingly, here is one that is dehydrated, the top is shrunk and the neck looks like its overset. In this case it will take a very tall saddle to get playable action which would weaken the bridge

    IMG_4375.JPG

    This guitar came to me with an impossibly high action and there was no way to get it down.

    IMG_3008.JPG

    Turns out the neck screws were loose, pulling the neck back in its pocket – so, yeah, the angle was bad (by the way, I routinely check the neck and bridge screws on every Fender I work on)

    IMG_3013.JPG

    Here is a fine old Les Paul that had suffered a broken (and poorly repaired) neck joint. Trying to get playable action means the ToM will be at the limit of its travel

    IMG_4431-2.jpg

    IMG_4428.JPG


    This is supposed to be a set neck. It needs to be removed and reglued

    IMG_4980.JPG


    Here is one more that is kind of interesting. It’s a standard Warmoth Jagstang neck and body, they should work fine together, eh? Well the owner wanted to use a Kahler bridge which requires the fret plane to be a little higher (its called out in their specifications) so we had to shim the neck half a degree

    IMG_3790_zpsjqae22fi.JPG

    IMG_3794_zps2d6pjodw.JPG


    So basically what I do with neck angle is measure it, note if it is OK, overset, underset and what needs to be done. Note that on the spreadsheet
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
  6. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    I need this thread! I want to be able to work on my tele's!
     
  7. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    I'll get to making a nut in a day or two and intonation after that. Gotta do some fret work first.

    Mail is always good but asking questions here gets more responses and we all learn.
     
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  8. xgritzx

    xgritzx Tele-Meister

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    stoked
     
  9. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Thanks for your efforts to make us better technicians Freeman!

    Regards DC
     
  10. tubedood

    tubedood Tele-Meister

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    Freeman thank you for this helpful tutorial. I have had a few guitars through the years but I was never an active part of setting them up, just the player. This already has enlightened me on the process. Much appreciated!
    Dale
     
  11. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Holic

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    If you're working in 1000th's of an inch, the only metric conversion factor you need to know is 25.4 ... multiply inches by 25.4 gets you from inches to mm. So it's easy to quote both metric and Imperial. Rounded to one decimal place is fine. ;)
    http://mentalfloss.com/article/55895/countries-havent-adopted-metric-system
    "At this time, only three countries—Burma, Liberia, and the US—have not adopted the International System of Units (SI, or metric system) as their official system of weights and measures."
     
  12. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    Your guitar has passed the first two parts of the Evaluation - it is structurally sound and the geometry is OK. If it is a new guitar and has never had strings on it, skip to the next installment (which I haven't written yet).

    If not, this is the most important thing you can do. Before you do ANYTHING measure EVERYTHING. And write it down. I have a column in my spreadsheet called "Starting" - thats where these measurements go, but you can write them anywhere you like. Just do it.

    I'll briefly describe HOW I make these measurements but at this point I don't want to get into a big discussion about what they should be. Just read the ruler and write it down. I measure with the original strings on the guitar tuned to whatever pitch it will be played at in this order. I usually just measure the high and low E strings but it can be worthwhile to measure them all.

    Relief. Relief is the bowing of the neck from string tension. It usually manifests itself from the nut to about the body joint (we will discuss a lot more later). A tight string is a real good straightedge - I hold it down at the first fret with a capo and over the body joint (14, 16, 18) with a finger. Work the blades of a feeler gauge under the string on top of the 5th or 6th or 7th fret - find the one with the biggest gap and simply measure it. If you haven't worked with feeler gauges before you want to be able to just slide a blade into the gap - you don't want to see light between the blade and string but you don't want the blade to move the string. It takes some practice. I don't have enough hands to take the picture and do the measurement so the feeler gauge is sitting on the block of wood, you get the idea

    IMG_3692.JPG

    First fret action. Now I take the capo off and with the same feeler gauges measure the gap between the bottom of the high and low E strings at the first fret.

    IMG_3698.JPG

    Twelfth fret action - Next I measure the gap between the bottom of the high and low E strings at the 12th fret. Some people use a different fret but I like 12 - it makes everything I do consistent (I measure mandolins the same way I measure a bass guitar) and the math becomes very simple. We'll talk a lot more about this later. Because the gap is more than one feeler gauge you can stack several blades to measure it or you can use either a machinists rule calibrated in 64th of an inch or this great tool from StewMac

    IMG_3694.JPG

    It has a bunch of little lines that are 10 thousands difference and you just slide the scale back and forth on the 12th fret until one just lines up with the bottom of the string. Write down the numbers.

    Intonation - With an electric guitar I know that intonation will change as I do the setup and its so easy to correct that most of the time I don't measure it at this point. With an acoustic guitar I know that correcting intonation is a real hassle, but I might want to know if I need to before I start, so I may measure it at this time. I use the same method as everyone else (again, we'll have a good chance to explore this later) - I simply tune a string using an electron tuner with an analog meter (I use an inexpensive Korg CA-30 at this point). Then I play the 12th fret harmonic of each string (it should be in tune with the string) and I fret the string at the 12th fret and play that. Read the number of cents sharp or flat on the meter and write it down. I don't do anything else at this time.

    Strings - I learned a long time ago to measure the strings that are on a guitar. You would be surprised how few people don't know what they have on their axe. I try to use the same strings that came on it to do the setup because the process is hard on strings, when I'm done I put a new set on. If the owner tells me she wants to change gauges I may sacrifice a set of the new gauge doing the setup. The worst thing is to spend four hours getting a guitar perfectly setup with some 9's and have the owner hand you some 11's. Ask how I know.

    General - The last thing I do as part of the Evaluation stage is find out exactly why I'm working on this guitar. What is the owner complaining about, what is the problem? "My guitar buzzes around the 12th fret", "my guitar is hard to make barre chords", "I want the lowest possible action without buzzing". Write it down. Watch her play and write that down "bluegrass rhythm player", "thinks he's a shredder", "plays fingerstyle", "uses altered tunings". Sometimes I'll ask someone to play one of my guitars - how do they like it compared to their own.

    I do one more thing if I'm setting this up for someone else. Together we will decide on a set of Target specifications that seems to fit her playing style. They might be some manufacture's factor specs (altho not very often, I usually think we can do better), it might be any one of the many specs that I have learned from people I respect, or it might be something I've come up with on my own (which is why I ask her to play my guitar). I have a column for those also called, you guessed it, "Target" (I also have a column where I write down where I got those specs - sometimes that is meaningful).

    By comparing the Starting numbers with the Target number I have an idea of what needs to change (and what doesn't) and the order to do it. I can also show the owner what needs to be done if we need to agree on anything, and when its all done she will have this as a record.

    Next we'll get to work.
     
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  13. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    Moving forward, the next thing that I worry about is the frets. Frets are the player's interface with the guitar and the guitar's interface with the strings. Like a lot of things in this thread, there are a couple of different things that can be going on. First is a brand new guitar with new frets, I know they will be in good condition but need some attention. Second is an old guitar with frets that may or may not be good and may or may not need attention.

    In either case, take the strings off and adjust the truss rod to its most neutral position - on a single acting rod that will be with the adjuster slightly loose, with a double acting rod as you back of the adjuster it will become easier to turn, then start getting harder again. Go back to the easy location (do we need a primer on truss rods?). Ideally the neck will be at its straightest condition, but I play with the t/r until its as straight and flat as I can get it. I put a straightedge on the f/b and try to push a feeler gauge under it at each fret. I know the straight edge is resting on the two highest frets and I make a note of which ones they are. I keep fiddling with the truss rod until there are (ideally) no gaps between frets and the straight edge

    IMG_2925.JPG

    I will also use my little StewMac action gauge as a fret rocker, check each trio of frets to see if the center one rocks. Here I am using the short side of the gauge to rock frets 12-13-14, if I can feel it rock I know 13 is high relative to the others. Write it down.

    IMG_3690.JPG

    If I find a high fret then I might try pushing a thing feeler blade between the crown and the fretboard - if it slips in then I know the fret is high in the slot

    IMG_3839.JPG

    This guitar had several frets that were high in their slots. It makes no sense to file them, instead I pressed them back down and wicked a little thin CA under the crown. Now that its down I can go ahead with the level

    IMG_3845.JPG

    Now I color the tops of all of the frets with a magic marker. I tape off any part of the guitar that might get scratched. I take the nut out (if it is correctly glued in you can put a block of wood against the side the abuts the fretboard and tap it lightly with a hammer, it should come out easily. Fender nut sit in their own little groove and might have to be tapped from the side with a small drift or block of wood. If I'm sure I want to reuse it I might leave it in but its so much easier to work on with it out of the way. If I know I don't want to reuse it I might saw it down the middle rather than risk damaging the fretboard)

    I'm going to show one picture that is my arsenal of fret tools. You don't need all of these and we will talk about some of them as we go on, but this is basically what I use

    IMG_3238.JPG

    With my notes handy on which frets are high I can start leveling and dressing them. I usually start by doing the ends - if they are new the ends need work and many guitars with dehydrated fretboards have sharp fret ends. I just simply run a 6 inch bastard file along the edge of the fretboard at about 45 degrees trying to span two or more frets at a time. As long as I can feel it cutting metal I know its not damaging the side of the f/b. Besides the 45 degree will put a tiny radius in the edge of the board so the board won't feel sharp either.

    This is an acoustic fretboard that I've just replaced the first 6 frets and clipped the ends. I might touch on refrets in another installment

    IMG_2939.JPG

    I'll come back to the ends in a minute but next I'll move to actually leveling the tops of the frets.

    I usually start with my full length heavy leveling beam. This is one of those expensive ones that SM sells, I didn't buy it, it was given to me. Before that I used an inexpensive aluminum carpenter's level from a box hardware store. I put sandpaper on the beam with double stick tape - usually something like 120 on one side for sanding wood and 320 or 400 on the other side for frets.

    IMG_3688.JPG

    Its hard to describe the motion - I let the weight of the beam and the abrasive do the work. I want to follow the curve of the frets and just lightly touch the tops all the way across the board and the full length of the board. I don't move it much, just back and forth with a little rocking. I stop every couple of passes and look at the frets - I want to see a thin shiny line on the top where the abrasive has removed just the very crown and cut thru the black magic marker. Ideally each fret will just get hit, but the taller ones will get more than others. If I see a tiny bit of shiny filings at the base of each fret I can judge how the abrasive is cutting.

    I'll take the beam off, do a little more poking with feeler gauges and the straightedge, and a little rocking with the SM gauge. I pay attention to those frets that were high before - do they still rock? I might use a shorter flat block to work on a smaller area -

    IMG_3689.JPG

    Here are two little short pieces of aluminum bar with sandpaper on them. One of them is kind of trick - there is a piece of sandpaper with the abrasive out in the middle and two pieces stuck on the other way on the outsides. When I rub that on three frets it only takes material off the middle one

    IMG_3237.JPG

    Forum software is not going to allow me to post any more pictures and I'm not quite done yet so let me post this and then wrap it up
     
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  14. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    After all that work I should have a pretty flat fret plane with little flats on the top of each fret. The next step is to reestablish the crown. Like everything else we do here there are lots of techniques and tools - what ever works for you is good. I know lots of people who use a three sided (triangular) file that has been made "safe" on a grinder - they are able to file across the fret and redo the crown shape. I find it a lot easier to use a commercial fret crowning file sized to the fret I'm working on. I have several of them, fore acoustic and electric guitar work one double file with a medium and large channel should do the job.

    IMG_4790.JPG

    The idea is to remove the sides of the crown but not lower the tops any more. Sometimes its helpful to put magic marker back on the fret so you can judge how much has been removed. Its a good idea to mask off the fretboard but thats a real hassle so I use this little gizmo that probably dates me - that is an eraser shield used by draftsmen (women) back when plans used to be drawn with pencil. I was one of those in another life and still have some of the tools of the trade. Its shown here with a little jeweler's needle file - I'm putting a radius on the ends of the fret

    IMG_4791.JPG

    The other thing you can just barely see in that picture is one of my crowning files that I've put a piece of 400 grit sandpaper in the groove - that effectively gives me a finer abrasive that I can go all the way up to 1500 or so polishing the frets.

    The leveling operation put some lengthwise sanding marks in the frets, crowning put some from side to side. I work with wet and dry sand paper (used dry here) and steel wool to go up thru the grits and take all the marks out.

    IMG_4792.JPG

    IMG_4796.JPG

    IMG_4797.JPG

    I don't polish frets with compound or a buffer or dremel - it is too easy to damage wood and particularly plastic binding. I also don't oil my fretboards - for one thing I read an article by Martin guitars saying that lemon oil can damage lacquer finishes (and I use lacquer) plus I don't think the wood needs it. Others disagree and I won't argue, I may however refuse to refret a board that has had a lot of oil rubbed into it.

    Guess we're done with frets for a while, I'm going to go have a nice cold beverage.
     
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  15. sleazy pot pie

    sleazy pot pie Tele-Afflicted

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    Great thread.
    I have a specific question regarding the middle crowning file with the red handle.

    When you use that type of file, do you keep it completely parallel to the fret?
    Do you go in just one direction or back and forth.
    Thanks
     
  16. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    I think I tilt it very slightly and probably use the first inch or less. When I get to the end of the fret I'll lift the handle and just sort of roll over the end. Don't know if thats right or not, it just seems natural. Also I'll work from both sides of the neck, I'll do a couple of passes on each fret then turn the guitar around and work from the other side.

    If you use files like that how do you do it?
     
  17. sleazy pot pie

    sleazy pot pie Tele-Afflicted

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    I have only used a file like that and only a few times so far. I am unsure of the correct way, but did pretty much what you describe only going back and forth.

    But I don’t really know what the end result should be past reading posts online.
    So I am hoping to get the ins and outs.
     
  18. GPlo

    GPlo Tele-Meister

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    I appreciate you taking the time to do this, thank you! I will be reading this at least a couple of times.

    What appeals to me is your analytical approach. I will try to incorporate some of that into my way of working.
     
  19. aging_rocker

    aging_rocker Tele-Meister

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    Great stuff! Really looking forward to the next gripping instalment
    Thank you for this
     
  20. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    Washington
    More thoughts on frets. I have talked to a lot of great setup techs and almost all of them agree that factory frets can use some work. Even guitars that have been Plek'ed - thats only a machine after all and the job it does is only as good as the operator. There was an interview with Ken Warmoth in American Lutherie and he said the frets on their boards are good but they expect the installer to do a final check and dress if needed. I guess my point is that it doesn't hurt to take a little time at this point and make them the best you can.

    Lets just briefly touch on refrets since if you are working on a used guitar you need to make the decision of whether the frets are good enough. Its a judgement call - can you dress out little grooves in some frets without taking too much off or affecting others? Have they been dressed before? Are there divots in the fretboard? Here is a biggie - are there issues with the fretboard that you can't fix by leveling the frets (a hump at the 14th or 16 fret that just won't go away? I think of frets like tyres on your car - they wear out, need to be replaced periodically and will improve the guitar when done.

    There are some other big things to think about on a refret. Vintage guitar may have frets that you are not prepared to deal with. Old Martins sometimes had bar frets that have to be glued in (with hide glue), some old Martins need "compression frets" to help with relief. Old Gibsons sometimes have "nibs" of binding on the ends of frets, and the worse ones for us here, some old Fenders have the frets pushed in from the sides (they need to be removed the same way and new ones press from the sides). Point is, if you are working on an old guitar, there are ways to refret it that won't destroy its value, but if you do it wrong it can be a disaster.

    Another decision with refrets is whether to replace all the frets or just a few. Acoustic guitars frequently need only the first five or six replaced, electrics almost always need the middle and upper board. Its tricky to level only a few frets - I try to install them just a hair higher than the old ones and bring them down. Its also tricky replacing frets above the body of an acoustic - I mostly press frets in new boards but is often necessary to hammer them in old guitars. And frequently you'll damage the fretboard when you pull the old ones. I'll add one comment that drives me crazy - if the board has had a lot of oil pumped into it over the years it might be difficult to get new frets to "take" into the board.

    Here is a partial refret of an acoustic with a bound fretboard. The frets weren't all that bad but the owner wanted new stainless frets in the first six. Adjust the board as flat as I can get it


    IMG_2925.JPG

    Pull the old frets. Any time you pull frets put a little heat on them - it loosens any glue that might be under the fret and helps loosen it in the slot

    IMG_2926.JPG

    If the board chips you can frequently glue the piece back in with a little thin CA. There is almost always some damage

    IMG_2927.JPG

    You can see the divots in the f/b - I try to sand those out without removing too much wood at this end of the board.

    IMG_2929.JPG

    This is a trick you all should know about. This is a little piece of the fretwire that I will be using. I filed a notch in it and bent it back to make a handle and I filed the barbs off of the lower piece. I use this as a little gauge that the slot is clean and deep enough for the fret when I'm ready to install it.

    IMG_2930.JPG

    Notice that the slots don't extend to the end of the board, the f/b is bound but with matching wood. Here i'm cleaning the slot with a Xacto knife

    IMG_2931.JPG

    Since the board is bound I need to file the tang back so the crown extends over the binding. I just built a little holder for the fret, put the edge of the board where the binding will be and file the tang back

    IMG_2933.JPG

    IMG_2934.JPG

    Each fret is fitted to its slot, they get progressively longer as you go up the board

    IMG_2935.JPG

    Can't post anymore pictures, need to start a new reply
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
    ModerneGuy and GPlo like this.
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