Fret bevel smoothing on P-Bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Crnovak, Mar 5, 2014.


  1. Crnovak

    Crnovak Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2012
    Location:
    Colleyville, Texas
    Hello,

    I am not a luthier, but am good with hand tools. I have a 2013 MIA Fender P-bass that the fret beveled edges are sharp. Not like cutting me, but obnoxious. Most players I have spoken with say to just keep playing and they will wear down..eventually. I would rather solve my problem and move on with playing.

    So I am looking for the technique, and/or tool suggestion, to smooth down the bevel edge of the frets.

    I know you experts do this because I have several boutique basses that are just perfect at the fret edge. I just want to know how.

    Thank you, and I appreciate all advice in advance.

    -Craig
  2. Lo-E

    Lo-E

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

    Usually the problem you are experiencing is often referred to as "fret sprout" and is caused by the fingerboard drying out and shrinking a bit. The first thing I would try is oiling the board to get some moisture back into it.

    If the problem persists, you need to use a small "safe" file - a file with one smooth edge - to round the sharp corners of the frets. It's tedious, but not difficult.
  3. Jaco D

    Jaco D

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Had similar experience when buying a few previously-owned electric and acoustic guitars and basses that had the same issue ("fret sprout") this time of the year. Used this "issue" as leverage to bring the asking price down. Once at home, all I did was to put painters tape around the fret edges to protect the wood from file marks. I then got a small file (check out the tool section of Home Depot - that's where I got mine) and file-off the sharp edges. The stroke you make on the file is not a straight one but one that gives the edge a "rounding" cut. I wish I could describe the process in better terms, but if you go into Youtube, there are a few vids showing how to do it. This should be easy.

    To add: Ha-ha - Lo-e beat me to the punch.
  4. Shanebo

    Shanebo

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    Yup,

    Just did this recently on my P-Bass...much mo' betta' now.

    If you're reasonably good with hand tools, it's pretty straightforward. Where the body may interfere on the higher frets, your angle of attack may have to change significantly...and it's easier with the strings off, but not absolutely necessary.

    All the best,

    Shane
  5. Crnovak

    Crnovak Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2012
    Location:
    Colleyville, Texas
    Thank you for all your sage advice. I am going to oil the fretboard and then, if necessary get a file.

    -Craig
  6. Lo-E

    Lo-E

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Oh, I forgot to mention: if the fingerboard is maple, don't bother oiling it. That will only help you with a rosewood board. Maple boards are finished and will not absorb oil.

    For choosing the "right" type of oil, there are multiple threads on the topic and a lot of - shall we say - strongly differing opinions on TB. I would do a quick search and read a bit. I've always used lemon oil, myself. I've been working on the same bottle for more than 20 years as you only need a few drops. Others seem to like various types of linseed oil or bore oil (for use on ebony woodwind instruments. I'm not about to tell you which is better. You can glean all that from a search. ;)
  7. Chainsaw Willie

    Chainsaw Willie

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Location:
    Redmond, Washington
    Look up "fret end dressing" on youtube. Stewart Macdonald usually has some pretty decent demonstration videos of how to use their products.

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