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Thomas & Ginex Fret Refinishing Kit

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I'm wondering about these Thomas & Ginex fret refinishing kits. They are sold on eBay.

First off, let me say I have bought a bunch of StewMac leveling tools, like the heavy bar that you put 3M Skit-it on, notched straight-edge, set of 4 straight edges. I am at my wits end. I can't level for crap. I just keep taking more & more off the frets and they still buzz. Why? My guess is because I am leveling without simulating the stress of strings being on it. Next to a neck jig, which I cannot buy and have no time to build from scratch, this "kit" seems logical in that - you are leveling the frets under string tension.

Does anyone see these as possibly working?

Go here to read about it.

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I have never seen that before, but honestly, I think you already have the tools for the job. There were fret jobs before the neck jig was invented. Where exactly is the buzzing happening? Its possible to still have the strings buzz with level frets. I am not an expert on this so Im not gonna' tell you what you should do but I feel pretty confident in saying that I dont think you need that thing.

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They're buzzing all over the place. It was just the 12th, 15th and 19th frets when I started, high E & B strings. Bends died on the 15th. I filed those individual frets, one at a time, keeping careful watch with the straight edges. Well, that made it worse, so I leveled everything from the 8th to the 24th frets, crowned, polished. Just screwed things up everywhere I leveled. Notes dying quickly, thin, buzzy notes, very little sustain.

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It'd be helpful to know what kind of guitar you're working on, whether it's a bolt on or set neck, etc.

I had a similar problem with the neck on my Asian tele clone...so I just replaced the neck with a Fender...no change, still the same buzzing. The Fender neck is really nice, it wasn't the frets.

Took the neck off and had a closer look at the neck pocket--and it just wasn't level at all...between the finish gook that go in there and the poor job that was done shaping the pocket, the neck ended up having a very slight angle to it...enough to give me exactly the same symptoms you described.

I cleaned up the neck pocket, reset the action, and that was all there was too it. now it sounds great. Well, yeah, I added my metal shim, but that was a different issue.

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A trick I read by Rick Turner, somewhere, that sort of obviates the needs for a neck jig altogether (although it does more-or-less assume a compound radius, far as I can tell):

Mark fret tops with marker. String up guitar, tune to pitch. Adjust neck until its dead flat, or close as possible using the truss rod. Now, take a piece of aluminum angle stock (longer is better, natch, and as long as you can get that's flat and stable) that you've levelled to ensure flatness, and stuck some 400-600 grit sandpaper to. Slip angle stock under each individual string, and use it to level the frets immediately below each string. Take strings off, recrown where necessary, clean up, and polish.

Seems like a pretty ingenous system to me; haven't used it yet, but I definitely plan to in the near future. It's a lot less work than setting up a neck jig to simulate string tension, and in theory, just as accurate if not more so than a neck jig, as you're actually levelling while the whole thing is under tension.

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That's what i think the concept of this kit is, what you just described.

The guitar is an Ibanez RG 550, although the body and neck were not together. I purchased each one from eBay, different auctions. They are roughly from the same time frame though.

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So are you absolutely sure of the fit --the angle, especially, but maybe the pocket's too deep or the heel's too thick. Could be part of the problem.

I'd investigate that part of the equation before hacking at the frets.

Just pointing these things out because I just went through a really similar issue.

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If you've levelled the frets and checked it out with a straight edge you shouldn't have those problems. That kit will not help any more.

What you need to do is to learn how to level properly. The first things that pop to my mind is:

Are the saddles too low?

Is the bolted neck too high? since you bought them separately.

Did you striaghten the neck/truss rod with a straight edge?

Is your straight edge really straight? Have you checked it?

Does the nut need shimming?

Ask yourself these questions. If you don't know how to do all these things then I suggest you get Dan Erlewine's guitar repair book or his Maintenance and Setup DVD's instead of that kit.

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I have Erlewine's Guitar Repair Guide. I have those straight edge's from Stew Mac which are supposed to be accurate to +/- .015" per foot. But I just read on another forum these straight edges are crappy. Anyway, one point you brought up made me think I maybe did not have the neck perfectly straight. Because the truss rod was creaking really bad so i stopped. I checked the board with the notched straight edge and there was still a little gap in the middle area but I thought that was as tight as I could get the rod. Later though, I put some oil on the truss nut and that helped a lot so maybe I can get it straighter. I've taken so much fret off the tops now though I almost want to refret it.

As far as the fit of the neck, I figure these Ibanez parts are all interchangable. They are both, body and neck, RG 550's just not originally mated. The bridge is also Ibanez (Edge).

I'll double check the saddle/bridge height too. That might be it.

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Yeah, they give these .0015" tolerence specs in the catalog, then when I had them double check this accuracy, instead of a number like this, I got : "good enough for the job it's intended for".

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Just a thought. when you leveled the frets you say the neck was not parfectly stright, try

did you take a note of the gap there was in the middle of the neck?, try using the truss rod to get the gap you had when leveling the neck to same as when you have the strings on, the frets should be level when the neck is in that position, never know it might work, also when you were using the crowning file are you sure you did not lower the tops of some of the frets?, this was my major problem when leveling and crowning, I always went too far with the crowning file, I now shape the fret with a crowning file, and use a micro file to finish the top of the fret, it seems to work best for me, one other thinf I do when leveling a neck is from the 12th or 17th your choice, take a little more off the fret tops if you think about it, you will always need a little relief in the middle of the neck, this causes the two ends of the neck to be higher than the middle, which can suse buzzing, so if you remove a little more on the bridge side of the neck it will counteract this.

Eddy

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I'm wondering about these Thomas & Ginex fret refinishing kits. They are sold on eBay.

First off, let me say I have bought a bunch of StewMac leveling tools, like the heavy bar that you put 3M Skit-it on, notched straight-edge, set of 4 straight edges. I am at my wits end. I can't level for crap. I just keep taking more & more off the frets and they still buzz. Why? My guess is because I am leveling without simulating the stress of strings being on it. Next to a neck jig, which I cannot buy and have no time to build from scratch, this "kit" seems logical in that - you are leveling the frets under string tension.

Does anyone see these as possibly working?

Go here to read about it.

I bought a Thomas-Ginex kit and refills on fleabay for about 30 bucks. I even searched this board and some others and saw the mixed opinions on the kit but still, I figured, what the hell, nothing ventured nothing gained. I first tried it out on a Jasmine acoustic I really loved. It was in desperate need of fret attention. I figured gamble with this kit, if it failed I was totally willing to get the guitar refretted. I went pretty easy on this guitar and did about 6 passes with each grade of paper, following the instructions. MONSTER improvement, although I may do it a 2nd time as there's still one buzz (I was really too timid my first try). 2nd attempt was yesterday. I was donated an older Seagull acoustic that was screwed. Missing parts, cracked top, separated back, filthy and brutally pitted frets. This one I didn't so much follow the rules. I left the strings off (the neck was perfectly flat with strings off) and I went at it much harder making as many as a 20 passes with each grade of paper...hey, what did I have to lose, the guitar was headed for landfill anyway.

Well, short story long ;-) I fixed all the other problems, strung her up and it plays like a dream (it sounds fantastic too, nice surprise for a guitar I invested 7 bucks total in). I couldn't be happier with the fret level and crown, it really worked great. Now I did this one more by feel than by instruction (I even re-used the paper from the first job), so maybe it was luck, but I'm pretty impressed with the results on my first two efforts.

I was really skeptical, but figured seeing as I have taken to resurrecting badly abused guitars, I had to make an attempt at fret leveling as it wouldn't make sense to pay to get them done and I can't justify the tools needed for traditional fret leveling yet. Would I ever try it on my 1981 Les Paul or my number 1 Strat...maybe not, but I have no qualms on trying it on mid to lower end guitars. I'm a fan and this Thomas-Ginex kit has earned a spot in my toolbox.

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I read a review of this kit, looks like a waste of money. If it dosent take in to account the radius of the fret board, and I saw no such infornation about radius in the review, you are just sanding a fret level and not level to the radius of the fret board. Your money would be better spent on a radius block and a 3 corner fret file.

FYI: when you jack up the strings at the nut you add additional pressures (bend) to the neck. the whole idea of this kit makes no sense.

Woodenspoke

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I agree that it's seemingly a waste. But I thought it only fair to point out that their instructions seem to expect you to tune your strings to pitch after they're jacked up. :D I've never read the actual leaflet, but one reviewer indicated doing this, and even if it wasn't written on the instructions, I would do it for the very reason you mention.

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Wooden spoke, 99% of fret levelling systems are based arund using a flat levelling tool, and making several narrow passes which follow the radius of the fretboard. There are a few folks who level with a radiused block, but they are in the minority, and I'm far from convinced it works any better (or even as well as) using a flat leveller.

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I'm with Setch on this one; straight, flat bars for both levelling fretboards and levelling frets themselves. On my next few, I'm planning on taking a page from the Rick Turner school of building, and levelling the frets with the strings on, similar to the T&G system; strings on, tuned to pitch, adjust fingerboard flat, and use a section of steel or aluminum (whatever I can find that's straight) angle iron with sandpaper glued to one edge (one side coarse, one rougher) to level the area under each string. There's enough overlap to take care of the transitional bits, and recrowning will take care of any lateral tiny bumpy bits. It's like a neck jig without needing a neck jig - not as versatile, since it doesn't allow fancy fretting tricks like compression and the like, but for a new guitar (I rarely do refrets on other instruments; it's just not fun enough!) it seems like an elegant, effective method. And it's also particularly well-suited for compoud radius boards.

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When levelling the frets with the strings on I presume that the nut will be on also? In which case, isn't there a possibility that the frets nearer the nut will not get levelled fully? Now that I've typed it it seems like a really stupid question as levelling means to make them all level but I'll try to explain what I'm trying to say.

If you plane a long piece timber you ideally want a long plane to make sure that the plane remains as level as possible & to apply pressure at the front when starting the stroke & move the pressure to the back during. When levelling frets I thought that the same principle applied so that you run over the frets in a long, smooth, even motion?...if the nut is there, it wouldn't be possible to apply equal pressure throughout the stroke as you would have to consciously stop at that point much like planing timber without enough "exit" space. If that is the case, you would no doubt get a level playing surface but maybe at the risk of having lower frets at the body end?

Maybe a stupid question but it has me wondering.

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If dressing frets under string tension is something that seems to make sense, please do yourself a favour and build a neck jig. A precision dial is the most expensive part but I got mine for like 40 € and I’m sure they can be found cheaper. The rest is just a beam of good quality wood and some simple had ware. Without the strings obstructing the fret dressing the odds is so much better to get an accurate level job. And the nut will not be in the way. Just my 2 cents…

BTW, my neck jig uses only one dial and has helped me produce a number of precision fret jobs. Now I’m planning on upgrading it with another dial.

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As I understand it, with the T&G "system", the sandpaper also hits the fret-board surface when using their fret re-crowning sanding block. If that's really so, then I find it a very silly system.

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Dials can be had for dirt cheap at Axminster.co.uk, but frankly, I'd rather save the very limited space I have for something other than a beam with a few dials on it that's the length and width of a guitar. Levelling with the strings on (tested it 'blind', no sandpaper, and it feels right) works perfectly well with a piece of angle iron, and lets you know you're deling with compound radii. Try placing an angle iron under a string; it's dead simple to get the fret surfaces below the fret levelled, and it doesn't feel 'weird' at all; the visual check (marker) to make sure you've got things flat is the same whatever you do.

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I agree that it's seemingly a waste. But I thought it only fair to point out that their instructions seem to expect you to tune your strings to pitch after they're jacked up. :D I've never read the actual leaflet, but one reviewer indicated doing this, and even if it wasn't written on the instructions, I would do it for the very reason you mention.

I am certainly not a physics professor but even with the guitar tuned you have changed the point of tuning by raising the string height over the nut. My believe is you will change some factor (tension plus or minus) required to tune the instrument. You have created a longer string length and also a higher angle and increased distance from the tuners to the nut. I cant do the math but the whole idea seems like a disaster awaiting your guitar.

If someone has this kit and a friend with the Stumac Neck setting Jig i(or just the same sized shim) t would be a good experiment to see what really happens if you raise the strings and tune it up.

Woodenspoke

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There's no experiment needed. With the strings at the same pitch, across the same scale length, the tension will be almost identical. It might be "intuitive" to think that this isn't the case, but I assure you that it is. The kinds of changes you're intuiting would take changes in height to an absurd level, one that might not even be possible with the length of commercially-available strings.

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There's no experiment needed. With the strings at the same pitch, across the same scale length, the tension will be almost identical. It might be "intuitive" to think that this isn't the case, but I assure you that it is. The kinds of changes you're intuiting would take changes in height to an absurd level, one that might not even be possible with the length of commercially-available strings.

If you increase the height of the strings you in effect change the lenght of the string from point a to point b thats a fact, it's basic geometry, and therefore there is change in tension on the neck. So use the kit, frankly it's your guitar and not mine. But if you screw up your frets dont blame me.

Good Luck

woodenspoke

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