#1
Long story short, my strings needed replaced, badly, so I put a cheap set of Peavy lights on, only strings I had laying around.

This brought to my attention that 1 or more of the frets were buzzing, a quick check found the bass side to middle of the 21st was slightly higher.

I have new strings (regular slinkys) in the post and would like to sort this out before I restring. How do you properly check fret levels? As in, is it strung / unstrung and what about truss rod position?

Cheers
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#2
You check fret levelling by using a precisely cut straight edge and placing it between 3 frets, like this:




With the suspected high fret being the fret between the two outer ones, see if the straight edge rocks back and forth. If it does, it's undeniably a high fret.

As you suspect the high fret is at the 21st, the truss rod won't have an effect in that area.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Oct 7, 2014,
#3
Good news then, but what about the rest, I assume correct leveling should begin across the first 3 frets and work your way up the neck, or else you're not leveling the frets against eachother? I'm not sure about this, only speaking from an engineering construction background.
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#4
More or less, yes. Regarding the other frets, if there are other high frets, then by all means level them, but don't fix what isn't broken.
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#5
Did it do this before the light gauge strings? If it was setup with a heavier gauge, the light gauge will sit closer to the frets.
#6
No, it was fine before, went to 9's-42 and it was god awful, raising the string height / fecking the intonation etc. I know it will be fine just putting the thicker gauge on, but that doesn't alter the fact that I know the frets could do with some tlc.

Seeing as I'm going to change the strings it makes sense to me to to sort it out at the same time.
"If I didn't know I was a genius, I wouldn't listen to the trash I write."
#7
If you have the tools I'd suggest a fret dress on all frets. I've never seen a guitar, not even high end custom shops, that hasn't needed a good fret dress from the factory. If you work off only one fret as a reference the rest of them will be out of alignment. Making every fret level at once and recrowning will be a much more effective and safer option.
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#8
I'm gonna have to get some tools for the job. I was just gonna use 240 - 1200 grit and finish with very fine steel wool. Made this last night,



and found lots of frets needing attention so it's best to get a nice long file to level across several at once, then crown them again as needed.
"If I didn't know I was a genius, I wouldn't listen to the trash I write."
#9
After 40 years of playing I decided to finally learn how to really do proper set ups, fret dressing, filing etc. I just recently started taking formal lessons with a world class guitar luthier and I found the very first day just how much I didn't know. One thing I learned really fast is how much professional luthier tools cost just for the basics (see the Stewart-Macdonald site). One good fret file is about $45.00 and you before buying one you have to make sure you have the right size for fileing and crowning since frets come in different widths. I'm just learning so I ordered some very basic tools: two fret files, a fret leveler and a set of radius blocks for sanding frets at the right neck radius. Just those few items cost cost $230.00. I also expected a good fret dressing might take an hour. I spent 6 hours doing my 1982 Ibanez AM-50 but the time and labor was worth it. It never played as good as it does now even when it was new.I am begining to see why a set up can run $100.00 from a good guitar luthier.
#10
Stewmac's tools are very good, but they demand ridiculous prices. There exist cheaper alternatives that are just as good for most people.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Omae wa mou
Shindeiru



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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Oct 9, 2014,
#11
Yeah the prices are nuts, I'm getting 1 fine diamond file and 1 protector for £30 (45$ ish).
I've plenty of wet'n'dry silicon carbide paper from 120 to 1500 and a bundle of various fine / very fine steel wool.

I also seem to be building a collection of guitars, Epi LP (this fret prob one), acoustic, sons SG, daughters 3/4, youngest 1/2 for Christmas and hopefully a bass coming for me so I don't mind paying for some tools as required.
I'm a big believer in having a nice selection of decent tools and am very handy with my hands.
Tbh I love hard graft menial work and working with my hands but don't get to do much nowadays with my stupid broken back
"If I didn't know I was a genius, I wouldn't listen to the trash I write."