Fret polishing - easy, fun and makes frets like buttah

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by coreytree, Feb 28, 2020.

  1. coreytree

    coreytree Tele-Meister

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    Just want to encourage others to consider learning how to do this sort of thing because of the great difference made by a bit of time and effort. I've gotten so that I can do set-ups and am now branching out into basic fret work, like polishing and removing/reshaping rough ends. I'm very happy with the results that are coming from this. I have quite a few guitars and it'd be silly to pay someone else to do this on all of them - that was my main motivation to learn to do this stuff. Lots of guitars means lots of guitar maintenance!

    I spent a few months researching and gathering relevant tools, then practiced on my daughter's second hand Epiphone (edit) LP Junior ($35 from Guitar Center). Well worth learning to do in my case.

    IMG_0544.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
  2. old soul

    old soul Tele-Meister

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    Yes! Just recently did a leveling and crowning for the first time and am pleased with the results. Just doing a few things yourself can save a good amount of money

    Sent from my SM-J727T1 using Tapatalk
     
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  3. Matthias

    Matthias Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I was reading the $17.99 guitar thread and thought it would make a good test pig for this! It’s the one thing I can’t do set-up wise.
     
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  4. Wrighty

    Wrighty Friend of Leo's

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    You got a LP Junior for how much?
     
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  5. coreytree

    coreytree Tele-Meister

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    Sorry - in my haste I neglected to mention it's a used Epiphone!
     
  6. Wrighty

    Wrighty Friend of Leo's

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    That makes more sense but, even so, kind of deal we can only dream of this side of the pond. Looking around the cheapest I can find on Gumtree, your Craigslist, is £65, $80+. OK, haggling might get it for $60 but $35!?
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
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  7. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have the same kit. Works a treat.
     
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  8. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Yup, perhaps the most feel-relevant thing you can do on your guitar aside from changing the strings. Can take a guitar from a pain to play to a joy. Your kit looks good (I've been meaning to get one of those fretboard protectors, myself), but all you really need is some masking/painter's tape, a little oil and the finest steel wool you can find.
     
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  9. coreytree

    coreytree Tele-Meister

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    I know, right??! Saw it hanging on the wall at Guitar Center for the price, played it a bit to assess it, and immediately snagged it. I think for some reason they just wanted to get it out of the store. That’s the story of how my semi-interested, then 12 year old daughter, got her first guitar. I would have just about killed to have had an electric guitar at that age. Maybe I was trying to make up for that somehow.
     
  10. coreytree

    coreytree Tele-Meister

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    The fret erasers are great, by the way.
     
  11. Wrighty

    Wrighty Friend of Leo's

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    It’s the happy little events like that that put a smile on your face!
     
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  12. medownsouth

    medownsouth Tele-Meister

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    Some decent hosco fret files on eBay atm, just did my first, turned out great, saved a ton
     
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  13. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    bbbbbbut.... you didn't say how you did it?
    I use a Dremel with a damp cotton wheel and 3M Finesse It. Takes about 5-10 seconds per fret to make it literally shine like a mirror.
     
  14. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Play your guitar enough and the frets will self-polish, in my short 45 year experience ...
     
  15. coreytree

    coreytree Tele-Meister

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    Good point, Schmee.

    Initially I removed the strings (and if the guitar has an unfinished wood fretboard, I cleaned the fretboard wood using fine steel wool, moving in the direction of the grain, and a careful scraping with a razor blade next to the frets to remove any gunk.) To polish the frets, first I used a specialty fret-end file (Fret Guru brand) to sort of de-barb the fret ends where they were sharp, using techniques I learned on YouTube. Then I used the fretboard guard you see in the initial pic to protect the fretboard while I polished the with consecutively finer “fret erasers” you see in that little plastic box in the pic. Finally I used fine steel wool to polish, then once over using a strip of leather for the final polish.

    I did a lot of research to learn what little I know of this stuff, getting much from YouTube and from TDPRI. I know I still have lots to learn, and I’m hoping experience will give me more insight into techniques and approaches that work for me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2020
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