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Is This Really Necessary?

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I'm about to cut the fret slots for the first time. I bought the blade from Stewmac and made a tablesaw jig and templates. Then I saw this: http://www.stewmac.com/tradesecrets/fretwo.../ts31slots.html

Is this "dead air" that much of a problem? I thought it would be fine if the slots were slightly deeper in the center after I radius the fingerboard but perhaps I was wrong. So, is it really necessary that the slots are cut in an arc to match the radius or it's OK to cut them straight so that they are the right depth on the sides (after radiusing) but slightly deeper in the center? I wouldn't really want to do this filler thing as it seems like a PITA to me.

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I don't see how extra depth would make it easy to pull the frets out. The fret slot being cut too wide-Yes. I would think the risk of bottoming a fret out would be a bigger concern. When I slot. I usually wind up re-touching up the slots at the sides anyway. One way or the other. Correct slot width, and make darn sure to check the depth (deep enough) before you start pressing or tapping them in.


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A fret slot NEEDS to be a tad deeper than the fret tang itself. If not you will add up to the small amount of spring back that always exist when you seat the fret. The fret actually need to be pressed a few thousands into the wood (not more or you will crush the wood fibres). The fret and wood together will then try to push the fret out a little bit. Imagine what would happen if the bottom of the fret slot also started pushing on the fret. It would be extremely difficult to seat the fret flush with the fretboard. And Dan Erlewine (he wrote that piece) admits the same thing in the article.

So now we know that there HAS to be some clearance between that bottom of the fret slot and the fret tang. How much clearance is OK? Cutting a straight bottomed fret slot on a 7.5” fretboard will give you a fret slot that is something like 0.05” deeper in the middle (only the difference between the edges and the middle, no exact number, had to draw it up with a ruler, I’m at work (“Shouldn’t you be working now”)). If you use a shallower radius that difference will be even smaller. The fret slot that Dan Erlewine tried to fix was about 0.15” deep in the middle; the fret tang can be up to 0.075” tall. That leaves us with an air gap of 0.075”. I admit that that is a bit extreme, but I cannot see how that would affect the tone, durability or playability of the guitar. If it plays and sounds good, everything is good

I give Dan Erlewine all credit he deserves for being a great informer and enthusiast about guitar repair. But he has a few ideas that borders to the “voodoo” thinking about guitars. And fillets under the frets are IMO one of them

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