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whats the deal with some frets coming slightly 'flat' on the crowns?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Racer5, Apr 9, 2021.

  1. Racer5

    Racer5 Tele-Afflicted

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    This is one of those things I never really payed attention to until I started looking more.

    From my googling the answers seem to range from "normal frets can be a little flat on top" to "laziest luthier ever, incomplete crown job, unplayable"

    this guitar is used but not abused and there's not really a lot of wear overall. But the frets are slightly flat on the top --

    [​IMG]

    it seems to play as good as any guitar plays in my feeble hands.

    so, opening this can of worms again, what is your take on fret crowns?
     
  2. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    I would crown them and polish them.
     
  3. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    If they intonate and play well, I would ignore it until you notice problems. But a light level/crown/polish would do no harm.
     
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  4. Racer5

    Racer5 Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm not opposed, but also why? what will I gain?
     
  5. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    Flat tops on the frets cause notes to be slightly sharp. And those little divots can buzz and hinder bends. Unpolished frets create friction that resists your playing.

    Correcting that will allow the guitar to play a lot smoother and be more correctly intonated. Bends will be easier and the guitar will have a faster, smoother feel.

    .
     
  6. Hey_you

    Hey_you Tele-Afflicted

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    Frets wear out. They sound best when there is a peak, or hump so to speak. It will sound flat, or dull sounding otherwise.
     
  7. Tele-beeb

    Tele-beeb Friend of Leo's

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    I have sold guitars for less... it was a mistake.
    What if we at TDPRI start (the notion of) enjoying a guitar as it is.
    Some buy relic guitars for the blemishes... anymore if I enjoy it, I play and accept it as is. YMMV?
     
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  8. John_B

    John_B Tele-Meister

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    Bending notes...a lot...on soft silver. That is my guess.
     
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  9. hamerfan

    hamerfan Tele-Meister

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    I like my frets tall and wide. So I don't crown the medium frets that come with most factory guitars.
     
  10. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    The silver thing always puzzled me. Surely too expensive to use on guitar frets. So I looked it up.

    Apparently nickel silver doesn't contain any silver, it's just called that because it looks like silver.

    The typical composition of this alloy is 60% copper, 20 nickel, and 20% zinc.

    I learnded sumpn t'day.
     
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  11. Bill

    Bill Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I don't know if it's still a thing, but when I bought my first electric, a new Les Paul Deluxe in the mid-70s, the frets came wide and flat. They felt great to play so I thought that's how all frets should be.
     
  12. PhoenixBill

    PhoenixBill Tele-Meister

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    Gibson had the Fretless Wonder Les Paul many years ago. Frets were extremely low and wide, and fairly flat. Many imported guitars also came with low, wide, almost flat frets.

    My take...it’s not a big deal. Play it, if it sounds good, play it some more. One day when it needs a fret dressing then they can be crowned more. Until then, don’t sweat it.
     
  13. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    If it sounds good, leave it.
     
  14. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    I'm getting a '70 ES-335 TDC refretted for the same reason. The frets are very low, flat, and as uncrowned as they were when new. I can't get my finger tips into the string without pressing them into the fretboard. It's hard for me to play cleanly that way.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2021
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  15. blue17

    blue17 Tele-Meister

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    I’ve noticed it a bit on Gibsons in particular.

    I personally don’t really mind, since I’m treacherous to frets anyway, so either it’s now or in a couple months.
     
  16. t-ray

    t-ray Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    My CS guitars all seem to suffer that same fate. Go figure. But they seem to play and sound just fine.
    Well, thanks for that! I always figured that the silver content had to be pretty small, but not that small. Learn something new every day.
     
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  17. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    I try not to learn anything, but it keeps happening.

    Stoopid knowledge.
     
  18. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    When my first Tele started to get so worn out that I had to keep raising the action to keep it from buzzing, I took it in to the local music shop, where the tech there just happened to be Bill Cumpiano, a luthier of some fame. He explained (patiently) the theory of fully rounded frets being the ideal condition, and any flat area results in compromised tone and intonation. I chased fully-crowned frets for years.

    Fast-forward 30 years, to last year: The new tech at my local music store turns out to be amazingly talented at set-ups. I brought in a couple of my less-favorite guitars in for a setup, not trusting my favorites to a new guy. They came back super playable, like a dream. But, there were some frets that were a bit flat on top, from leveling. I asked about it; his opinion is that a small flat makes only a minuscule difference, a theoretical difference really, and that fully rounded frets will quickly wear down, resulting in a compromise of the level-ness of the fret tops.

    I'm very spoiled now. He did a setup on a handful of my favorite guitars, they all play like butter, and sound great. I now give zero ****s about flat tops.
     
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  19. lmjmitchell

    lmjmitchell Tele-Meister

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    As long as it's not causing problems, it's really not an issue.
     
  20. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    About a week after crowning frets and doing a few bends, many are no longer flat. How often one re-crowns them has more to do with psychosis than necessity...
     
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