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Can I Just Crown Frets Without Leveling?


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This isn't related to my other thread about leveling but I have some guitars that have no pits in the frets and no abnormal buzzing but the fret tops look flat, like they were leveled but never crowned. Can I just go ahead and crown them?

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You sure can. Just make sure you leave at least a thin "flat" at the very top center of the fret. In other words, keep the very top-centers as they are, otherwise you'll probably change the fret heights to different degrees from fret to fret and that is what you don't want to do. Round the edges until the "flat" isn't too wide. Some guys think the fret should be sort of "pyramid" shaped and some like the fret-tops to look like the roof of a school bus (an american school bus-you might not have seen what I mean- it means the "flat" is fairly wide and then the edges "abruptly" round over.) Also, with the "school bus" method the flat gets slighty more rounded on the edges with the final sanding with 600 grit or so.

Metal players usually like the "school bus" frets better.

I like a narrow fret that isn't crowned very narrow. Basically a "mini-schoolbus" fret-top.

Making the fret crown look like a half-circle would be in between these two methods and that is how a new fret is shaped before it is touched by files,sandpaper, etc

My customers don't always like what I like, so I do what they like to their guitar.(within reason-I won't paint their 55 Les Paul shocking pink)

I would recommend though, that you go ahead and do a leveling, but only if you have a good straightedge to check the neck. I mean a precision ground straight edge, not just a metal ruler. I would be lost without my 'Bridge City Tool Works' 24" straightedge.

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THanks for the response. Problem is, I don't think I have the skill, tools or patience or guts to level. My guitars that need leveling, because of pits, and various buzzing problems, I've decided to leave to a tech. But straight crowning I think I could handle. The kind of top I want on the fret is a half circle, like you said ")". Most of mine look like the tops have been lopped off of them, flat. Only my Ibanez Universe has good tops on them. Anyway, thanks. :D

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