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Fender AV Jazz binding covers the frets. How is one supposed to level/crown/dress?!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by FLXone, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. FLXone


    Feb 12, 2012
    I'm am sorry if this has been answered before - i looked around and i couldn't find an answer.

    I love the look of the new '74 jazz with maple board and pearl inlays. So i will probably get one. But the binding goes over the frets. How are you supposed to level and crown the frets? (Same question applies for the discontinued '75)

    And when it comes to re-fretting? I can imagine this would be a pain to do nicely.

    Are you supposed to grind off those little bits of binding that cover the ends of the frets?

    The originals were not made this way, and neither is the Japanese made Marcus Miller Jazz.

    Is there an official how-to?

  2. landau roof

    landau roof Reupholstered User

    Jul 29, 2010
    Downstate CA
    Sounds like it's done like the binding on US Gibsons.

    I'm sure there are well documented techniques for fretwork on them somewhere.

  3. FLXone


    Feb 12, 2012
    Ok, so i assume you could carefully cut the nubs off and then have new frets cut to just inside of the binding.
    It's surprising to me this is common. I don't see any advantage of making the necks like this. Also if the neck is exposed to low humidity, the frets could push out the binding?
    Anyways, thanks again for directing me to Gibson etc.
  4. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Gibson style binding is said to be more comfortable on the hands. It would seem that if a bassists hands are having that close personal relationship with the binding there are left hand technique issues.

    The nibs sand off easily. Sometimes the frets will push against the binding causing small cracks. But that is true whether or not the binding covers the bevel end or not. Usually the installer will nip enough of the bevel and/or tang to prevent this problem.

    Fret dressing procedure is the same as for unbound. As far as installing new frets to the old binding, it just takes some careful measuring and a small tang nip to fit new frets. A fret tang nipper and a small file are essential for this task.
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  6. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    re-fretting is usually done by sanding off the nibs and under-cutting the fret tang, so you instead get fret all the way to the edge, over the binding.
  7. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Agreed. More fret to play on.

    However, picky vintage owners like to have the original binding on their Les Pauls and SG's left au naturel. They also get charged for the extra labor.
  8. Dave Curran

    Dave Curran Lilduke

    Jul 27, 2013
    Thats how my squier VM 5 came new. Frets notched over binding. :)
  9. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    i've actually never seen a fender that wasn't done that way! the binding nibs are pretty much a gibson thing, a weird byproduct of the way they put frets in the board before the board and binding goes on the neck. even gibson does factory re-frets by skimming off the nibs and running the fret ends all the way out to the edge.

    anyway, none of this is actually relevant for leveling the frets, just for replacing them.
  10. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    It complicates fret repair and replacement, just one of the many reasons I don't care for bound necks. I've seen too many otherwise nice looking basses with uneven looking binding due to shrinkage, cracked binding, chunks missing, poorly done attempts at home repair of cracked or crooked binding, etc. That's in addition to the odd feel of a bound neck, I never cared for it. Lastly, it runs along the lines of my bow on a hammer handle philosophy. It looks nice, but it does nothing to make it a better nail driver. Binding looks cool (when new) but it doesn't make any difference in how the instrument plays/sounds, at least in my (admittedly limited) experience with bound necks.

    We had a fret job done on my dad's LP many years ago and the tech removed/replaced the binding because he had to replace some frets.

    Best of luck with your repair.
  11. Rich McCoy

    Rich McCoy

    Apr 8, 2013
    Are you buying used? Do they need it currently?
    If you only want to crown/file the tops you should not have to worry about the extreme outer edges because the strings are never going to touch there. Hopefully you could just file the exposed fret wire.
    Preferably I would use strings that do not eat frets so much.
  12. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    i've found this not to be the case, refretting bound necks is only a little more hassle than unbound, and in some cases less.

    it is more of a pain to clean out the empty fret slot, and you have to under-cut the fret tangs to fit them over the binding (a special PIA with stainless frets), but you don't have to deal with getting the exposed ends of the fret tangs to be flush and pretty with the side of the board.

    bound necks also tend to have a more defined edge to the board, instead of being so rolled over that you lose playing room trying to get the fret bevels to feel smooth.

    and i refret bound necks all the time and have never had to remove binding to do it, that seems odd and way more work than necessary.
  13. Dredmahawkus

    Dredmahawkus Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2012
    You pay extra on AVRI for the binding to hang over the frets! that way it feels smooth all the time! It cost more for them to do it that way...thats why the deluxe are cheaper the binding is not over the ends. I love the smooth feel! even the selects that dont have binding still have this clear kinda binding stuff over the fret ends so it feels totally smooth. thats one of many reasons why you pay more for a select.
    I actually have a pic of the select I took for someone to show them exactly that let me find it.
  14. Dredmahawkus

    Dredmahawkus Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2012
    I tried to take the pic in the light so you can see its like a clear strip of plastic.

  15. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    that's not binding, that's a regular unbound neck with the finish coming up over the fret ends.

    is there a skunk stripe on the back? i suspect not, and this neck just has a separate maple fretboard.
  16. Dredmahawkus

    Dredmahawkus Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2012
    ok..it looked like plastic over the fret ends...yeah I guess it could be finish.
  17. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Considering what I know about refretting in general and refretting bound necks in particular, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the guy who did my dad's LP was blowing smoke to justify what I thought was a very high price for the work he did.

    Granted, it needed the work and the work was very well done, but I thought the price was way high. Either way the guy was the best around and I didn't ask about price when I dropped it off since it was for my dad, but it was definitely a case of sticker shock when I went to pick it up. I didn't complain but I don't have much of a poker face either so it was apparent I was surprised, and that was when he mentioned having to remove the binding, etc., to get the job done.

    I've learned a lot since then, today for example I learned that something I've held true for a number of years was not exactly what it had been presented to be.

    Thanks for the info, and the knowledge.
  18. thebrian

    thebrian into the deep Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Southern California
    The originals were made this way, and the AVRI '74's toothed binding is proper. If you have ever felt a good worn-in vintage bound Jazz neck, eventually, after the frets have been dressed a few times over the years, the fret ends will be tapered off to meet the binding flat (and the teeth of the binding will have worn down and/or been sanded flat by that time).

    Dredmahawkus is correct that it is more labor intensive and costly to do the correct toothed binding, and I am glad Fender didn't skimp on these necks like they did with just slapping the frets right over the binding as they did with the Geddy, Marcus Miller, and the USA Deluxe J. In years to come, the AVRI '74's binding will feel just like most of the real ones do - The binding's edge will be nice and rounded off so you will not feel a single fret end when you slide your hand up/down the neck. Here's a shot of my vintage 1974 Jazz's frets/binding that have been dressed through the years (these old bound Jazz necks of the late '60s and '70s are THE most comfortable necks of all Fender ever made IMO - 100% because of the way they did this type of binding)..

  19. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    kinda not cool, there should have been at least a rough estimate before he started.

    discoveries of problems mid-job should have been followed by phone calls to revise the estimate upwards, so "sticker shock" when it was done wouldn't happen.
  20. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2009

    i don't see nibs here anymore, but (as i think about it) it makes sense with fender's old way of pressing frets in from the side. that would have to mean the frets went in before the binding went on, like with gibson, and that the binding went on "tall" and got shaved down to meed the edge of the neck and the fret ends, creating the nibs.
  21. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    i just recently had a 76 jazz that was super clean and never had the frets touched. there was no binding nibs at all like on these avri's. the nibs on the 75 ri i had drove me nuts. i had to have the edge re-beveled.

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