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Installing Frets On New Neck

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I'm building my first neck and everything is coming along OK.

I have the inlay side dots done, the 12th fret inlay done and the fretboard installed and radiused,

I'm now ready to either install the frets using a fret press or do the neck profiling on the back. I'm not sure as to which I should do first. Any advice as to what works best and why would be appreciated.


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i have a support thingy for the neck after it is already shaped...

at the absolute least you really need to have the taper cut and completely sanded to 220 and straight before you fret.but i would worry that the neck would move after shaping just enough to take my fretboard out of true...

this is the complete order i go in....laminate neck pieces together,plane and join completely square,attach fretboard,cut neck taper and headstock shape,cut neck profile,sand the taper perfectly straight,sand headstock to finished specs,drill tuner holes,shape neck to finished profile with rasp and sand it to 220,retrue my fretboard,recheck the slots to see if they are still the right depth,clean the slots and fret that bad boy...

fretting is dead last except for fitting the nut and installing the tuners..but i have reshaped necks after playing the guitar for a while...with strings still attached and tuned to pitch...

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Wes has given you the general consensus. That being said I fret then shape...just my preference.


I also use the square back

but the neck is also finished tapered.

But Wes states that shaping the back of the neck might slightly bow the neck and I do think that it could be something to consider. If the frets are not on, you can shape, then re-true the neck but I wonder if that's really a big deal.

On my necks, I build in a slight fallout at the end of the neck and try to get the rest as flat as possible. Will shaping the back of the neck really cause the fretboard to bow (front or back).

Another thing to consider is that fretting the neck will also have an effect on neck bow so are we just being **** here?

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I've recently changed to fretting after carving. I build a little relief into the neck, and after carving the final shape I adjust that relief out with the rod, do a final level, then fret. I recheck the level after fretting, and do any levelling required. Thatway, if I want a touch more relief than is provided by string tension alone, I simply slack off the rod.

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