Spot Levelling Frets

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by thedonal, Nov 24, 2020.

  1. thedonal

    thedonal SS.org Regular

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    Hey folks,

    Hope you're all good- been a long time since I've been around.

    I've got a Sire V7, 1st Gen bass that needs some TLC and a bit of work to lower the action at the dusty end of the neck.

    I've had to sand the neck pocket before as it was really uneven, with a curve up at the end of the pocket (towards the bridge).

    I've got a .5 degree shim from Stewmac to help with the action setting (G string saddle is nearly bottomed out) and need to look at the frets.

    I got a few bits from Crimson recently- fret rocker, fret erasers and protector and was wondering if I could tidy up the fretwork (above the 12th fret) with these alone? I have a few frets with high spots in specific places (not all the way along).

    I will, in the long run, be looking at a full tool set (straight edges, levelling beam/stone, crowning tool etc) and see it as an extra earning potential, but budget is tight for now so wanting to get a bit of experience with minimal outlay if possible.

    Cheers for any advice

    D (the)
     
  2. thedonal

    thedonal SS.org Regular

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    Gentle bump gang- can anyone provide some experience/wisdom on this?

    Ta

    Me
     
  3. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Get or DIY a slotted/grooved Straight Edge for that bass, so you can measure accurately the neck's relief.

    I'd try to do a full scale fret leveling, crowning and polishing.

    Protect the wood with tape, make sure your neck is straight, paint the frets black (large marker will do) so you can see how much you're removing from them when leveling, paint them again before crowning, so you can see the amount that there is left to crown.

    For leveling, I use a radius block (with the neck's radius, obviously) with sand paper. For crowning, you need a crowning file. To polishing, I start with steel wool grade 000 or 0000 and then finish to taste.

    I only remove the protective tape AFTER polishing.

    I make sure the neck is straight BEFORE protecting it with the tape. I use painter's tape, king of... easy to remove without leaving glue marks.

    Go watch some youtube vids on this.

    I'm no professional.
     
  4. thedonal

    thedonal SS.org Regular

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    Cheers- I don't have the means to make a straight edge right now (living in a flat without access to the tools/workshop etc). Funds are a touch limited for getting the straight edge. levelling beam/stone and crowning/finishing at the moment.

    For the purpose of slightly tweaking a few frets above the 12th (probably 14th/16th as they seem the worst)- how far would the truss rod/straightness affect things?

    I have a few needle files that might help if the fret rubbers aren't enough- though I don't want to get too far into crowning/shaping if I can avoid it...
     
  5. dmlinger

    dmlinger PepperFox Guitars

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    The fret rubbers won't do anything more than buff the frets after they've been filed (if the Crimson ones are like the ones sold from StewMac). They won't remove enough material from the fret for the purposes of leveling. For that, I would use a file or sandpaper to remove the high spots. Mark them with a back felt marker and then remove material. Recheck with the rocker. Repeat if necessary. Then crown and polish like you normally would.
     
  6. thedonal

    thedonal SS.org Regular

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    Blinding- thanks for the help!
     
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  7. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    For 5$ you can get an aluminum straight edge. Place it over the fretboard and mark the frets' locations on that ruler. With a rectangular section metal file, file some grooves on that straight edge until theygo over the frets. File ONLY the fret slots. Done, you made yourself a grooved straight edge for your bass.
     
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  8. JimF

    JimF Contributor

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    Also, if you don't see yourself playing about the 12th fret, just go wild with a fret file. Presumably the high spots are causing it to fret out when you play lower frets? Or are you fretting the 12th+ fret?
     
  9. thedonal

    thedonal SS.org Regular

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    The action and sound below 12th fret is generally fine. But it has a rising action that is quite high from 12th fret upwards. I tend to play and noodle all over the fretboard.

    I currently have the action as low as possible without notes choking out on the high frets- but there is a rather audible metallic rattle while I play (not just initial rasp, but for the full sustain of the note).

    With the strings in situ, the fret rocker shows that some frets are unevenly ground and therefore high on some strings but not others. So I just really want to even these higher frets out a tad to try and get the strings a bit lower without choking..
     
  10. cardinal

    cardinal F# Dive Bomber

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    I've done spot leveling on a cheap guitar before. I think it was with very fine sandpaper. I actually left the strings on and went very slowly, tying the strings out of the way to sand and then releasing the strings to check the amount of buzz. It was only for two or three spots where it was buzzing particularly bad for certain strings.
     
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  11. Omzig

    Omzig SS.org Regular

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    Ive used this method a few times to spot level, take's quite a bit of time but gives good results

     

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