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Another Leveling Q.

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I wonder is this is advisable. I ruled out the fallaway idea and got the action lower on this Ibanez 7 (Universe) I have. Treble strings feel pretty good and don't buzz. BUT the low strings are buzzing like mad. Mostly low B and low E around 0 through 7th frets. I'm thinking it may need a nut shim on the low side for open buzz and more clearance after the first fret to take care of 1 through 7. So my idea is to level out and crown only under the lie of the low B, E and A strings.

Is this ever done? Or what else could I try?

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First, make sure you have the truss-rod adjusted properly. .002"-.004" if the frets are really level with each other. More relief if the frets are not that level. After that, if you still get open string buzz, shim the nut to try to get rid of that. If shimming the nut doesn't also get rid of the buzz a littler farther up the neck, you probably have at least a high or low fret or several that are too low or high. Yes, you can just level one side of the neck if that's the only area that there are unlevel frets. Just try everything else first, (nut shimming, proper truss-rod adjustment, proper string height set at the bridge. Unless you are doing "top notch" fret-work, you will need more neck relief and higher string action, or buzzes will happen. I don't know what kind of tools you have, but if you are working without precision ground straight-edges, you are working "blind" . I couldn't do perfect fret-jobs without my 24" straightedge that has a .002" tolerance over the whole length.


I think it's probably a little more accurate than the Stew-Mac straight-edge, because their's has a .0015" tolerance within each 12" , so that's .003" over a 24" length. I once bought the shorter set from stew-mac and used my 24" to check them and they were a mess, so I sent them back. I have since made my own shorter ones out of aluminum and plexi-glas and know they are accurate because I use the 24" to check them. You need the shorter ones to "rock" to find high and low frets. I use the 1" , 2" and 3" a lot and they tell me where the problem frets are.

A ruler or "yard stick" is not a precision straight edge.

I inherited an old combination square with a 12" steel ruler that checks out to be quite accurate against my 24", but a more modern version of that same tool has a ruler that's not as perfect. So that older one gets used for checking flatness but not the newer one.

You have to have a reference for absolute flatness, otherwise you have no idea what's really dead flat. Even if you have something that might not have been precision ground, but you assume it's very flat, you still need to check it to be sure. You'd have to find someone with a precision straight-edge and check yours against it.

Working with a less accurate "straight edge" can mess you up a lot. I know, because when I was starting out, I tried to do it that way.

These are the reason some people who understand fret-work still have someone else do it. When you start buying all the tools you need to do it very well, you find out it's several hundreds of dollars. Add to that the tools needed to make some of the other tools you need and it gets into the thousands of dollars.

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