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a couple questions.


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nearing completion of my first guitar! joy! start finishing next week. anyway i just had a couple of questions before the big fret sunday.

1: HOW accurate does fret placement have to be.

2: What angle should the TOM bridge be around. i know it doesnt need to be exactly on the money because you can move the saddles.

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1. as accurate as possible! Do your self a favor and buy a miter box from Stew Mac with a template.

If budget is an issue, I suggest you have a drawing of a fretboard printed, put it on the fretboard and try to saw the fret slots as accurate as possible.

Another option is to buy a pre-slotted fretboard.

What fretboiard are you using/planning to use?

2. Beats me.. what the hell is a TOM?

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TOM = tune-o-matic style bridge, the kind used in Gibson LP's (Les Paul) and SG's (Solid Guitar)

Setting the bridge properly is to give you the best saddle adjustment range for intonation. The high end of the bridge will be exactly twice the distance from nut to 12th fret. The low end of the bridge should be set further back from that point by 1/8" to 3/16". This will place the saddle pretty much in the middle of the adjustment range when properly intonated.

Fret placement should be as accurate as possible. This website has a fret calculator you can use.


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1: HOW accurate does fret placement have to be.

It's very crucial, unless your wanting a guitar that sounds terrible and won't intonate properly. The neck will make or break you as far as how well your guitar plays, performs, and sounds. I would definetely make a practice run with some cheap wood and cheap fretwire. You will learn alot from that. Everyone that I talked to about fretting when I started out said to buy a cheap pawnshop guitar and practice on it first. That's also what I'd advise you to do, or find someone who has a guitar that they'd give you. BTW, what is gonna be your method of slotting the frets? Do you have enough tools to do a good job? I was really shocked when I started practicing, even after reading, and watching all I could on fretting, just how many tools I was gonna need to make a great playing neck. And I can't even put into words how much a neck jig will help you out. I'm not saying break the bank or anything, I'm just saying there are alot of tools you'll need. Here are some of the tools I have recently bought over the last year, just for fretting:

Fret Cutters: This can vastly speed up your work, and can also be used for pulling frets. You can find some at a local hardware store that is similar but they aren't much cheaper and has to have the nose of the pullers grounded down flat, so I just ended up buying some just for fretting.

Various Radius Sanding Blocks: Use these to reestablish your radius of fretboard and frets after final leveling with Fret Leveler.

16" Fret Leveler: This tool will make any fretboard straight with ease or make all frets level real quick.

Stikit 3m Adhesive: Still looking for a cheaper place to buy this, but a roll last a real long time. It sticks to the bottom of the Fret Leveler really good and comes in various grits. I would recommend it if you are really serious about doing alot of jobs, if not, just buy a regular roll of sandpaper which is alot cheaper.

Straightedge Set: Wow, I just noticed that they have discontinued the #3798. I was gonna recommend it, but oh we'll.. lol It has a really great beveled edge that will really let you see how straight your fret work or fretboard is. I still want the 24" one though.. Man they are high though....

Fret Crowning Files: Makes the hard process of crowing frets a breeze, wish I had the money right now to buy the diamond cut ones, but later on I'll get better ones, these will do for now though.

Fret Arbor Cauls: Fretting with a hammer isn't fun or accurate. These place the frets down smooth and precise.

Other things you might need are neck support caul, arbor press, fretting hammer(just to slightly overbend the edges of the frets), and tons of files!!

Good luck with your guitar.


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I made my first gtr with a TOM ( click on the site for pics ), but did not angle the bridge, I had no troble for setting intonation, so I guess it's not so important, sounds fine .

Regarding fretting, I kind of had a hard time, just be sure that the slots are to thin compared to the fret part that enters, I kind of forced them in to much, and some did not really fit properly , took me ages to dress and level them!

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