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Old 11-23-2012, 05:29 PM   #1
inkandlead
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fret levelling nightmare

Hey there allstars,
I'm having a huge difficulty levelling the frets on a Kramer Baretta. It was brought in to me a week ago with terribly high action and the fret heights were all over the place. This is in no way my first time doing a fret job. It came back yesterday because there is still some buzz here and there. I admit I missed some spots. Relevelled and now it's still super buzzy at certain frets. The low E buzzes from about 10 to 15. G won't stop buzzing at the 5th. Neck is pretty straight. Is it just a matter of levelling it all out again? Any tricks?
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:51 PM   #2
W4RP1G
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There are definitely some things you need to know for doing a good leveling.

That neck has to be as straight as possible. Generally, a straight-edge that sits on the fretboard and not on the frets is the best way to achieve this.

High frets might be high because they have moved. If that is the case, then leveling them instead of pounding them back down is a bad idea. You should makes sure every fret is seated before you move on to leveling.

Using a large leveling bar is far better than using a small one. It makes leveling so much easier. It also makes keeping the radius much easier.

Make sure the neck is supported. If it bows anywhere while you are leveling, it's no longer level.

Don't use a ton of pressure. The bar should be heavy enough to level by itself, all you need to do is guide it along. The longer it takes, the better.

Mark the top of the frets with permanent marker. Level until all of the marker is gone to insure that the fret has indeed been leveled.

When crowning, apply more permanent marker. Don't crown all of the marker away, leave a small strip of it on top of the fret, otherwise you run the risk of making the fret lower, ie not level.

Last edited by W4RP1G : 11-23-2012 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:51 PM   #3
GunLeatherGuy
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It sounds like it has popped frets. Take everything the previous poster said....he nailed it all. But some frets straighten and come up off of he neck. You can tape them back down sometimes and they stay. But sometimes once you put them back down in place they will pop back up.

I had an old jackson strat that no matter what I did it had a bad fret that would not "re seat" into the neck. So after doing the frets it would buzz. I had to have the fret replaced and brought down to match the rest.

Good luck.
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:59 PM   #4
inkandlead
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There were some loose frets that I got down the first time. Had to glue in the ends. The bar I'm using isn't super long, about 7 inches. but does get many frets at a time. I guess I'll just rethink the whole thing and try to assess everything I could have done differently.
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inkandlead
There were some loose frets that I got down the first time. Had to glue in the ends. The bar I'm using isn't super long, about 7 inches. but does get many frets at a time. I guess I'll just rethink the whole thing and try to assess everything I could have done differently.

You might be able to bet a piece of angle iron(or boxed aluminum channel if you can find it), level it with some 80 grit on a flat surface, and glue some sandpaper onto it. That would probably be far better than the 7" bar you're using now. I'm not sure what Lowes or the Home Depot sell when it comes to that stuff.
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:55 AM   #6
LeviMan_2001
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I've successfully leveled out some wonky stuff with a mill file that's about 7" maybe more like 12. But Yeah sounds like warpig has got it down.
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:42 AM   #7
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I use a piece of scrap granite I got dirt cheap at a counter top fabricator. It's dead flat and plenty heavy to do the leveling.
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poppameth
I use a piece of scrap granite I got dirt cheap at a counter top fabricator. It's dead flat and plenty heavy to do the leveling.

That is a great idea I might have to try that.
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Old 11-24-2012, 01:01 PM   #9
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Is there a reason (besides cost) not to use a radius block (of the appropriate radius) to level frets? I've only done two levellings, but that seemed to work pretty good for me.
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Old 11-24-2012, 05:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuctTapeNinja
Is there a reason (besides cost) not to use a radius block (of the appropriate radius) to level frets? I've only done two levellings, but that seemed to work pretty good for me.

Not that I can think of. Stewmac sell radiused aluminum bars for that reason, and people swear by them. But generally, a radius block is what, like 8" long? I've done leveling using shorter files, and I've realized that using a long bar makes the task so much easier. So I would take a long bar over a short radius block any day of the week, but that's my preference. My ideal method is definitely a really long radius block, like the one stewmac sells.
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W4RP1G
Not that I can think of. Stewmac sell radiused aluminum bars for that reason, and people swear by them. But generally, a radius block is what, like 8" long? I've done leveling using shorter files, and I've realized that using a long bar makes the task so much easier. So I would take a long bar over a short radius block any day of the week, but that's my preference. My ideal method is definitely a really long radius block, like the one stewmac sells.

The 8" Stewmac block seemed to work pretty well, but maybe I'll have to try a longer flat bar instead next time. How hard is it to keep the appropriate radius with a flat bar?
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuctTapeNinja
The 8" Stewmac block seemed to work pretty well, but maybe I'll have to try a longer flat bar instead next time. How hard is it to keep the appropriate radius with a flat bar?

Not too hard, you just have to move back and forth across the radius. You just have to pay attention to make sure you're doing it evenly. I definitely recommend using the permanent marker trick.

Last edited by W4RP1G : 11-25-2012 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:49 AM   #13
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The best way to do it is to do a few swipes across them, then go one or two frets higher, and continue to level the, going to the higher frets. this is called Fallaway. they need to be slightly lower on the high frets to play the best.
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