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Fret Leveling


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The fret process is really subjective and everyone has their own opinion.

I fret mill every time. Obviously I try my best to get everything perfect each time so I dont have to, but it's never perfect. So yes, I level every build and re crown etc.

Do I wish I didn't have to: yes.

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i fret level everything

even with warmoths, which are fretted very consistently, i still find a slight level will help get the best out of them

a precision straight edge is the msot important tool, a fret rocker also helps (but can be made really easily) the rest can be done with some pretty basic tools

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I think you have to fret level each and every build, if not you are going to have a ton of dead spots, even just the manufacturing process of making fretwire is going to cause deviations in the size of the frets.

I use a fret rocker, and a fret dressing stick, I used a file before, but have found that using a fret dressing stick causes less gouging than a file. It does take more time however.

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I though I should add a bit more to this conversation.

I live near a well known/respected accoustic luthier who's instruments sell for massive dollars up to five figures. He does not fret level. He hammers and uses only a fret rocker. I've had lengthy discussions with this guy as he is one of my mentors, even though our builds are a complete different beast there are many carry over skills.

I've tried his fretting method to no avail, buid after build I have tried. Then I worked out what the difference is and why I couldn't pull of his method. Every single time I attempted it I had to mill the frets afterwards.

His action is a lot higher, which means dead spots will not show themselves. Acoustic guitars are WAY higher action than what I desire in an electric build so a board thats very close to level but not filed level does not show any imperfection.

With this in mind I have succumbed to the fact that no matter how perfect I endevour to get the blank fingerboard perfect, no matter how much I try to get the frets in even and sometimes I get it bloody close testing with the fret rocker, I'll still have to level the frets every build if I want them to be great.

Just my 2c. I'm sure there'll be opposing opinions, but that's what makes this site great!

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His action is a lot higher, which means dead spots will not show themselves. !

as far as the things you said i agree....but what is the connection with the dead spots??trere are 2 different things,,,completely..do you mean buzzing???

they are not completely separate ideas, just depends what you mean by a dead spot.

it can either be a dead spot because of resonance issues in the neck.

or it can be a dead spot caused by the string slightly catching uneven frets or not even registering as a separate note to the next fret along.

Demonx - i think your acoustic builder friend obviously has a lot of talent to be able to fret with a hammer and never have to level. but you have pinned down that even if you could do that, you wouldnt get the action you wanted for your guitars. it doesnt matter how much his sell for, the style of guitars you are making need to be capable of a low action and this will always involve a fret level (using standard fretting techniques, i am sure someone will invent a new system at some point)

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His action is a lot higher, which means dead spots will not show themselves. !

as far as the things you said i agree....but what is the connection with the dead spots??trere are 2 different things,,,completely..do you mean buzzing???

they are not completely separate ideas, just depends what you mean by a dead spot.

it can either be a dead spot because of resonance issues in the neck.

or it can be a dead spot caused by the string slightly catching uneven frets or not even registering as a separate note to the next fret along.

Demonx - i think your acoustic builder friend obviously has a lot of talent to be able to fret with a hammer and never have to level. but you have pinned down that even if you could do that, you wouldnt get the action you wanted for your guitars. it doesnt matter how much his sell for, the style of guitars you are making need to be capable of a low action and this will always involve a fret level (using standard fretting techniques, i am sure someone will invent a new system at some point)

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