#1
What do I need to properly level my frets?
I had a ding which made a part of the guitar impossible to play, I leveled that out with some tools that weren't as proper for the job.

One of the remaining problems now is that I can't get as low of action as I personally want without fret buzz and notes sounding quiet above the 12th string.

What are some proper tools to fix crap like fretting out problems and low action fret buzz?

So far, it plays nice, perhaps the nicest I've got, but I want to push it further.
#2
http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Leveling/Fret_Fingerboard_Levelers.html

they carry a lot of tools. i haven't tried any personally, but i have heard good things about them, and they appear to have a good amount of inventory and things you would need to do just about anything to a guitar.
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#4
You will want a radius block most likely and a fret crowning file

They have everything you need at stewmac

This looks pretty cool www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypIRjrcDyA4&list=PLA6D01D66C9D6B4B9&index=16
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#5
i have the stew mac blocks but in all honesty i never use them. I use a large sharpening stone to grind the frets and a fretfile from lmi to crown them. Sometimes i use a triangle file for cowning but that marks the fretboad.
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#6
I heard that in order to fix my neck, I have to level the frets down based to the lowest one that had a ding? IS this correct?
#7
Quote by Clay-man
I heard that in order to fix my neck, I have to level the frets down based to the lowest one that had a ding? IS this correct?

yes, but you first need to make sure the fret board is level before you mess with the frets.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#8
Quote by Robbgnarly
yes, but you first need to make sure the fret board is level before you mess with the frets.


So take off the strings, adjust the truss until it's dead straight?
#9
Quote by Clay-man
So take off the strings, adjust the truss until it's dead straight?

yes, you will need a straight edge to check it. You can get one from stewmac that has notches pre made (for the frets so it sits flat on the fretboard) or you can make your own really easy with a $5 aluminum straight edge from Harbor Freight
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#10
yep. use a steel ruler to check. I just used a normal flat fine file them, then 200 & 800 paper and then steel wool. I don't bother crowning them as they wear faster again crowned, and jumbo frets are hardly accurate anyways.
#11
How much does crowning help on playability of a fret? I'm having some trouble with hammer ons and pull offs on some.

Oh by the way, thank you very much for all the input.
#12
if the frets are flat on top you will get more buzzing so crowning the fret is essintial for average playability. It probably won't make you think the guitar plays better if you do it but you will notice the guitar plays worse if you don't crawn them
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#13
Quote by Clay-man
How much does crowning help on playability of a fret? I'm having some trouble with hammer ons and pull offs on some.

Oh by the way, thank you very much for all the input.

That is a technique issue, not a fret issue

All frets have a flat top, not a really wide flat top, but it is flat even after it is crowned
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#14
^If a fret has been crowned correctly it will not be flat on top. It is true that many come from the factory with flat tops but that doesn't mean they SHOULD come from the factory like that. A properly crowned fret is very slightly curved on top and it makes the guitar play much easier.

This is a cross section of many different fret types they way they should be crowned. You can see that all of them are curved on top.

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#15
Quote by Robbgnarly
That is a technique issue, not a fret issue

All frets have a flat top, not a really wide flat top, but it is flat even after it is crowned


Really? I can do it fine on the lower frets, but not the high ones that are borked.

Usually I can do really subtle pull offs, or rather backwards hammer ons (going a from a high note to a lower note) but it's hard on some of these frets.

Would this because of of them being flat? Possibly the fret I'm hammering back onto being too high to hammer on when the fret in front of it was pressed down?


Edit: Actually you might be partly right because right now my fingers are sore as shit so I'm not playing as good as I should.
Last edited by Clay-man at May 20, 2014,
#16
Hah, ok, so it might be a combination of my middle finger being sore as shit and it not being crowned enough. My middle finger is messed up from doing some stuff a few days ago so that explains why the pull off on that sounds like shit, cause I'm not doing it right! I did a slide with my ring finger and then pulled off and it's fine.

Thanks again for all the replies!
#17
I only use two specialised tools for leveling

A crowning file - http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Files/Dual-grit_Diamond_Fret_File.html?actn=100101&xst=3&xsr=4424

and masks - http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Special_tools_for_Fretting/Fingerboard_Guards.html?actn=100101&xst=3&xsr=2086

That particular file is the best I've used out of several different ones.

I use a diamond hone for levelling, as can be found in any handyman store.

For polishing I use abrasive paper, steel wool, and a dremel buffing wheel. There are plenty of options. I tried the Stewmac abrasive rubbers and didn't think they were very good.

Is this an acoustic or electric? On some acoustics the fretboard extension beyond the body fret lifts with age, and a lot has to be taken off the high frets to get a low action. In extreme cases the fret have to be removed and the fretboard sanded down in that area.
#18
It's an electric.

Those look perfect for the job. Do I absolutely need the buffing wheel? What are the benefits of polishing, getting the fret more evenly leveled?
Last edited by Clay-man at May 20, 2014,
#19
Quote by Clay-man
It's an electric.

Those look perfect for the job. Do I absolutely need the buffing wheel? What are the benefits of polishing, getting the fret more evenly leveled?



Electrics are less problematic to do than acoustics, especially if you can take the neck off. .

You don't need the buffing wheel , it just saves sweat. Fine grades of emery paper, then steel wool and metal polish on hard pad will do it. The final polish is more cosmetic than anything, because the string wil polish the fret crown anyway.
#20
Quote by Tony Done
Electrics are less problematic to do than acoustics, especially if you can take the neck off. .

You don't need the buffing wheel , it just saves sweat. Fine grades of emery paper, then steel wool and metal polish on hard pad will do it. The final polish is more cosmetic than anything, because the string wil polish the fret crown anyway.


I don't care too much for cosmetic. The frets that are fine are worn a bit but work nicely.
I'm having problems from the 10-12th and above with action and buzz out.
Ever since a ding in a fret from my guitar somehow falling out of the stand, it's been hell. That part was completely unplayable because there was an indent the size of the string. I smoothed that fret out and it was playable again but the ability to get very low action on that string was out of the question.
#21
Fixed the bends fretting out, hammer ons and pull offs seem fine, I think it was mostly an issue of my middle finger being shit that week and affecting my playing. Action is nicer on the E G B strings. No buzzing. Sounds a lot clearer beyond the 12 frets now.

Thanks for the input everyone, it really helped. I just think I need to be more prepared next time I do this if I ever do it again.
#22
Quote by Clay-man
Fixed the bends fretting out, hammer ons and pull offs seem fine, I think it was mostly an issue of my middle finger being shit that week and affecting my playing. Action is nicer on the E G B strings. No buzzing. Sounds a lot clearer beyond the 12 frets now.

Thanks for the input everyone, it really helped. I just think I need to be more prepared next time I do this if I ever do it again.


Thanks for the feedback. A lot of folks get and take advice, then don't bother to tell the donor if they used the recommended method and whether it worked or not.