New Ibanez AM93ME - Sharp Frets

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by mrtunes, Sep 19, 2020.

  1. mrtunes

    mrtunes TDPRI Member

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    After more trips to the store I decided to return the 339 mentioned in this thread and go with the ibanez. Overall i'm very happy with this choice as it feels like a more mature instrument overall. it doesn't wail like the 339, but i can always get one of those again later. i just wanted something comfortable for now.

    A few issues which I need some feedback about:

    1. The frets on the guitar by the high E string are in the way. they're not sharp enough to cut me but they're a nuisance for sure.
    2. the pickup switch is on a diagonal angle which is odd (on another model, a cherry red as93, it was completely horizontal). and it doesn't have the nice 'twack' that the as93 I had tried in a different store does. I can live without the thwack but I imagine it's possible to make it go vertical? (edit: i think there is no thwack specifically because it's diagonal and therefore has no momentum when you flip it. edit edit: i fixed this issue).
    3. the tone pots have a nice vibe to them (they go nice and slow). yet the volume pots whip around really fast. is that something that can be fixed?

    So I have a few options about this:

    1. Keep the guitar in a hardshell case with an Oasis humidifier and see if the neck widens a bit to match the frets (i only have a soft for it at the moment but will get a hardshell very soon).
    2. take the guitar back to the store where i got it from and within about a week they can file the frets for me, as well as maybe adjust the electronics to sit properly.
    3. the store has another guitar in this model in stock, i can go check that one out and if i like it i have to exchange it within 3 days because this is on a finance program rather than outright purchase which would've given me 30 days to horse around

    my concern is that i got a guitar that slipped through QC. it does take a few hours roundtrip to get to this store, and I've been in the stores a lot lately to make this decision so ideally i'd like to stop being picky at some point and spend more time playing the instrument.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2020
  2. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Sharp frets are an indicator of a dry guitar, it will not correct itself with humidification (but you should do it anyway). They need to be filed and dressed.

    There are several other symptoms of a dry guitar but them mostly only affects acoustics
     
  3. mrtunes

    mrtunes TDPRI Member

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    thanks that's what i suspected and it kind of bothers me because it's likely the store's doing if i understand.
     
  4. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    A good music store should have a closed loop humidifier/dehumidifier on their HVAC system. They should be maintaining a RH of 40 to 45 percent for their room air. My local store (average size, don't know the square footage) says their system pumps about 20 gallons of water into the air each day during the winter heating season.

    A big problem for many of us at home - we don't have good humidity control. I have a room humidifier in my music room, try to maintain those levels but I also keep all of my guitars (mostly acoustics) in cases with a small humidifying sponge. I'm a builder and I also store my wood under those conditions.

    Its not a big problem with an electric guitar and the laminated plates on a 335/339 should not be affected by dryness like an acoustic. The other common thing you will see is kind of wonky finish, usually with nitro. Kind of little wavy lines that seem to follow grain.

    I would take the guitar back, ask them to dress and level the frets and check everything else. I'll add that you really don't want to do electronic work on a semi hollow unless you really have to.
     
  5. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Well...
    Sharp frets: where are they sharp? The little corners at the fretboard top? Or the bevel top at the fret top? Either way I guess you need to file/smooth them.
    Switch: Cant you just loosen and rotate it to however you want it?
    Pots: Yeah, pots seem to vary as far as tension. Too loose drives me nuts. Replacing is probably the answer.

    These sound like things that seem apparent on most imports. Some fretwork is more consistent in some brands though.

    If the guitar is basically good and something you like, tight seams, good wood etc. Probably better to fix a known good basic guitar. (Buy yourself a good switch and Switchcraft jack for the future.)

    Some reviews on that model that are worse:
    ".... waiting 6 months for a replacement from Ibanez who I have come to hate."

    "The guitar arrived broken, with cracking around the 1/4" input jack. "
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2020
    Fretting out likes this.
  6. mrtunes

    mrtunes TDPRI Member

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    yes i feel like this has to happen even though i wanted to avoid it. thanks.

    the frets are most sharp at the edges by the high E string, but i would say they might even feel a little sharp in general as i move around the fret board in the middle strings. that sensation in my hands makes me want to play a squier telecaster that i'm renting more.
     
  7. mrtunes

    mrtunes TDPRI Member

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    oh one other question i have is, what factor does the way you sit have in the way you feel 'fret sharpness'? because i didn't flag it in the store where they have a stool. at home i sit in a basic foldout chair that's not height adjustable. I've been looking at height adjustable stools lately. i usually put my right foot up on a yoga block.
     
  8. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    I'll just add that the good news is that you bought it at a real store where you can go back and talk to them and hopefully get some resolution. As Schmee says, it might not be the stores problem but rather a guitar that came from the manufacturer with issues or developed them sitting in storage or something. If you bought it on line you would be dealing with either shipping it back or eating the costs of having it repaired.

    The way I check for sharp frets is just to run my fingers along the edge of the f/b. Normal frets have a little bump but if I can feel any sharpness, any at all, I consider them sharp. Wood shrinks as it dries, metal doesn't. It shouldn't matter what your sitting position is.

    The way your shop will tell is when the run the file or stone along the edge of the f/b it will cut into the fretwire. The file will span two or more frets and will keep cutting metal off until at the level of the edge. The the end of each fret needs to have a little facet put on it with a triangular file and a little polish.
     
  9. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Wow, so ....sharp on the top of the fret? That's pretty strange. My Geo Benson Ibanez are smooth as butter. Even the cheaper Ibanez suually better than that.
     
  10. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    The frets were fine when they left the factory...

    The neck shrunk due to low humidity during shipping ...

    If you really like the guitar, you can fix it ...

    If not, send it back ...
     
  11. mrtunes

    mrtunes TDPRI Member

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    hah i know and I've been grateful to the store for being open during the pandemic, they were really good about curbside pickup when we were in full lockdown.

    i just mentioned the sitting position because I've noticed lately that i seemed to have a habit of holding the guitar in a way where i'm trying to look at the fretboard, which i understand creates a few problems, this one maybe being one of them.
     
  12. mrtunes

    mrtunes TDPRI Member

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    the top part of the fret is not nearly as bad as the high e (i guess you call that the bottom of the fretboard)?
     
  13. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    "they might even feel a little sharp in general as i move around the fret board in the middle strings. "

    I guess I'm confused. Fret "ends" wont be effecting the middle strings. So I assumed you meant the top of the fret.. the "crown".
     
  14. mrtunes

    mrtunes TDPRI Member

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    yes correct the crown is a little sharp, not the worst though because i understand that there has to be some friction in order to actually hold the note.

    not sure if this photo indicates anything useful. the second one is the squier cv tele, which could also use a bit of filing on the high E but it's much more playable.

    fret1.jpg fret2.jpg
    fret3.jpg
     
  15. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    OK, now I am confused. When I observe sharp fret ends it is the end itself, run your finger along the edge of the fretboard (the bound part in your first pictures) and the fret is actually sticking out of the side. On a bound board it is the little bit that overhangs the binding, on an unbound board its the end of the fret actually protruding from the slot. The width of the f/b shrinks a few thousands, the length of the fret does not, the end is sharp.

    If you are talking about the actual crown of the fret, the rounded top part that the string touches when you fret a note, that has nothing to do with hydration. When the fret is leveled and then the top is recrowned there are different shapes that can be used but they are mostly just a smooth curve. If that is sharp I don't know what to say other than have them leveled and recrowned.

    A couple of things I see - it looks like jumbo frets on the bound board, more medium on the unbound. On a bound board the fret sits down inside the binding but is also cut so the end extends over the binding. Those ends can pull up slightly. Also a Fender is going to have a tighter radius on the f/b - 7 or 9 or 10 inches, a Gibson style neck will almost always have a 12 inch radius. Its hard to tell but it looks like the unbound board has the outer strings a hair closer to the edge of the board - that can make a big difference in playability.

    So, if you have sharp fret ends, loop back to my earlier post. If it is something about the height of the fret then maybe there is nothing wrong at the shop, but maybe you need to have them worked on
     
  16. mrtunes

    mrtunes TDPRI Member

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    yeah so to clarify the crown of the fret is bad, but the real issue is everything going on at the high E string area. the fret does not hang over, which i am aware of if you really let a guitar dry out, but even in the photos we can see a large amount of space between the high E string and the edge of the fretboard.

    i will have to return this guitar because i know that the shop is not going to do the necessary TLC on this to get it back to my liking.
     
  17. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Are you talking about the gap from the string to edge of the fretboard? That is something completely different (again). The gap is set by three things - the centering of the neck on the body relative to the bridge, the spacing of the nut slots relative to the side of the neck and the string spacing at the bridge. These are both functions of how the guitar was built (ie was the neck put on "straight" with respect to the bridge) and how were the nut and saddle slots established.

    If that is what you are concerned with it has nothing to do with humidity. It may or may not be a manufacturing issue, it may or may not be a setup issue. Your store should be able to help you but I always ask someone how much gap they like, how they play, how they bend notes, whether they thumb fret the low E - lots of things.

    Also, if I am now understanding you, that is not the crown of the fret - that is the highest rounded surface all the way across the fret which is affected by the way the frets were leveled and then rerounded ("crowned").
     
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