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Monnie Rock

430mmr And Radius Sanding Beams

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Hello Everyone,

I bought a new Ibanez Jem7VWH with a 430mmR neck. Due to my **** nature :D I would like to do a very detailed setup on this guitar to turn it into an instrument. Knowing that the factory does a fair job of the fret work, my goal is to make sure the frets are at the proper radius and well as doing a nice fret leveling job, finished with crowning. Also I plan to make sure the Tremolo bridge is at the same radius. Shim if I must.

I see there are several radius sanding beams available at sites like Stewart-MacDonald in inches. When I calculated 430mmR to inches it is 16.93in. Does 0.93 inches make that much difference? If so, how does one find such a beast? I do not own routers or a table saw, so constructing my own radius is not an option. Plus I like the idea of the Alum. sanding beams to ensure a uniform surface.

My goal is to get the proper equipment first, a lot of reading, then being very patient with my goal, take my time and do a nice job. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Monnie

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Wells first of all, 0.93 inches does infact make a difference when it comes to fretwork, but not the difference you might think, you'll just have frets that are thinner on the sides.

Secondly, if you are interested in investing money on that tool and it will be usefull for you in the future believe me, get theAdjustable/Arching Radiusing plane from LMI

To set it up, you will have to

-get a compass, (not the kind that points north)

-set the compass to the radius of your fretboard

-on a piece of card or stiff paper, draw the circle that has the radius of your fretboard.

-cut out the circle in a manner (you wouldnt have to but you could use the cutout for a understring gauge when shimming the floyd rose) so that you can use the cutout as a radius gauge!

-set up the plane and go :D

in my opinion thats the only presice way to achieve what you are doing, that radius gauge is very helpful for getting those weird radiused fretboards found on many guitars these days

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Rocksolid,

Thank you so much for the information. I like this method better than not keeping the exact radius.

I should be able to take a piece of string that is 430mm long and put it in the center of my paper and the outer edge put a marker to make the circle? Or maybe use a nice sheet of metal to cut out my template.

Thank you

Monnie

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You're over thinking here. Most professionals don't use a radius block for fretwork, they use a straight leveller,and shift back and forth across the board as they go to maintain the radius. Being level parallel to the strings is infinitely more important than having perfect radius across the frets.

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Your welcome i'm glad i could be of help

yes the string method will work but you have to be very careful to keep the marker at the exact edge of the string etc, and sheet metal will work too you just have to be careful not to cut yourself!

but yes some proffesionals do use the straight levellers this is just the brainless presice way to do it, it is useful thats why there are those stewmac aluminum beams, though it was a good point Setch, the straight leveller method just requires more experience for good results, begginers tend to sand the line of the strings rather then do a straight radius, and altogether take off more of the frets then is desirable, and a brand new Jem isnt something i'd want to risk ruining.

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Setch,

Thank you for the reply.

I understand what you are saying, and yes I am ****. But this is assuming that all the frets are in the proper radius? Would a 7 inch or 12 inch radius sanding block not only level the frets but insure they are at the correct radius?

I was thinking of taping off the fretboard and using a black marker on the top of each fret to get an idea of how true the frets are. If I see a nice uniform removal of the marker with a say 1500 grit, then I would know things are pretty good. If there are high areas across a certain fret, wouldn't it be best to level it in a radius as well as parallel to the strings?

If you want to see my project look here Some Pictures

Thank You,

Monnie

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What makes you think the radius is wrong? What do you hope to achieve by this work?

If the frets are well seated on the fretboard, and level parallel to the strings, then the radius is correct, or more importantly, consistent along the neck. Any variation in radius on any single fret would result in a high or low spot which would be removed by lengthwise levelling - considering the two things separately makes no sense!

If you are concerned about matching fret radius and bridge radius then use a radius gauge to find the fret radius and shim your bridge to match. Much easier than trying to level and dress frets for no good reason, and much cheaper than buying the extruded aluminium radius bar from StewMac.

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actually setch has an extremely good point, you could just adujst the radius of your bridge, and a brand new ibanez fretboard is fretted quite well, if you're unexperienced your chances of achieving a fretjob better then the one you have infront of you are pretty slim, with the neck you have, and a shimmed to radius bridge, you'll have a presicion setup and i think that's what you're after

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Setch,

You ask " What makes me think the radius is wrong?" How do I know it is correct along the entire length of the fretboard? I understand they try to make nice guitars but it is still a factory, mass produced product.

You say "If the frets are well seated on the fretboard" "If" means unknown.

Yes, I am concerned about matching the fret radius to the bridge. When I set the bridge to a 430mmR, I would know this is correct. Why would I not want to make sure the entire fretboard matches this exact spec?

I think of it like this, when conducting an experiment, you can only have one varible. If I set the bridge to a certain radius I must make sure the fretboard matches before I think about leveling the frets. If I do not make sure the fretboard is the correct radius, then I have two varibles:

1) Frets are level or not

2) Fretboard is not same radius as Bridge

Is the ideal setup to have both match the same radius?

As I sand to match the radius, wouldn't that also level the frets?

To me, a tool that will last a lifetime is a minimal cost and a mere fraction of the cost of my guitar.

You asked "What do you hope to achieve by this work?" My goal is to perfectly or as near perfect as I can match the specified radius to both the fretboard/frets to the bridge as well as have all frets level.

Not trying to argue with you, just learning and debating with the minds of wonderful people this planet offers.

Thank You,

Monnie

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You should be able to look at the frets to see if they are well seated. So that shouldn't be an unknown for you. The factory knows what radius they use on the fretboard. Their machinery is more accurate than you are making it out to be. If the frets are seated properly (something you can check easily) the radius is going to be what the specs are. If you've never done fretwork, don't start on a guitar you want to play perfectly. Do you have any buzz right now? If not, and your action is where you want it, leave it alone. Perhaps shim the bridge, but I know nadda about Floyds.

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Devon,

Thanks for the reply.

Yes, there is some buzz now. I have raised the bridge some to remove it but it is still on a couple of frets, not the entire neck. Also I noticed my bridge is very very deep inside the guitar. To raise the bridge to the level to get pull up on the tremolo so that there is a minimum of a perfect fourth [five 1/2 steps] of pull up range, measured by hitting a 4th fret harmonic on the G string and raising it to at least an E, my action would be very high. Neck shim time in the pocket closest to the neck pickup. While I had the neck off, I wanted to give the frets a good going over to make sure they were really nice and level.

Thank you,

Monnie

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