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$80 for fret leveling and recrown?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Bassic Urges, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. Bassic Urges

    Bassic Urges

    Oct 21, 2011
    I just got a new 4003 Maple Glo Rickenbacker and after adjusting the truss rods to get an almost straight neck, I have fret buzz in a few different areas of the neck. I have raised the bridge to get rid of some of the buzz, but I don't want to go too high or I defeat the purpose of straightening the neck. I'm thinking a fret leveling is in order.

    I live near Denver, and I was searching old threads for a reputable luthier when I found someone recommending John Baxendale, owner operator of Colorado Guitar Company. I checked out the website Colorado Guitar Company - Repair Price List and noticed they charge only $80 to "Glue loose frets down, level and re-crown frets, tighten loose parts, re-cut nut slots, adjust bridge height and intonation, buff and oil finger board, clean finish, and restring instrument."

    I have never had frets leveled and crowned, so I don't know what to expect as an average price. This just seems cheap to me. I think remember someone in another TB thread saying that he paid around $250 for fret leveling and crowning on his Ric.

    Can anyone chime in on this? Also, if anyone knows of a good luthier in the Denver area that has experience doing this please let me know.

  2. My local shop charges $100. $80 seems pretty cheap to me, especially because it sounds like the guys you're talking about also include a full setup.
  3. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Anytime a fret job is done, there has to be a set up included, or it's a ridiculous act. If the instrument isn't set up you have no idea if the job was done properly, besides, a set up is a minor amount of work after a fretjob.

    As for the $80 fee? Yeah, seems a little low. Most shops I know including mine usually charge $125 to $175 for a full level, recrown and polish, and this includes a set up.

    Also, with a Ric being a dual truss rod instrument, you may have one rod torqued slightly more than the other, and the slightest amount will throw a Ric neck out of whack quickly. THIS may be the real problem. Having a qualified tech look at it is probably going to be your only recourse now.
  4. sounds too low to be true.
  5. or good... heck setting up basses takes me 2-4 hours
  6. John Baxendale at Colorado Guitar Company is one of my favorite techs.

    PM'd you some details.
  7. mellowgerman


    Jan 23, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    There's a place called the Guitar Guild out here in Buffalo. I realize that's quite a ways for the OP to travel to get a fret job (and I'm not recommending doing this), but they only charge $40 for a complete set up including fret levelling and crowning. They do a truly fantastic job. I've taken one of my acoustics to him before and his work is second to none.
    I think they take the approach that charging less for the same job will get you more customers that will continue to come to you. Makes sense to me. Say it takes 2 or 3 hours; that's still $13-20/hr. Plus, once I see the quality of the work he does on my setups, he's going to be the first person I go to for any more serious repairs.
  8. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    The guy in my area charges $60 for a level and recrown, usually with a one or two day turn around. He does very good work. I don't know how he stays in business
  9. lethargytartare


    Sep 7, 2004
    I paid $60 to a small one-man shop several years ago (great result). And having done the job on several of my own instruments since then, I'd consider $80 reasonable and not too low. A complete refret is gonna be $250+, and is significantly more work than a level/crown, so I would consider anything over $100 to be high for just a level/crown.

    Good luck!
  10. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Long Island, NY.
    $80 does sound a little too good to be true, but it's not unheard of. I know of two guys around my area who'll go the same job for $100-$120. Personally, I'd think $250 for the same job would be asking way too much, but if you have the scratch and the guy is known to do amazing work then I guess it can be worth it.
  11. Bassic Urges

    Bassic Urges

    Oct 21, 2011
    Thanks for the responses everyone. I'm giving John Baxendale a call. Maybe I do or don't need fret leveling and crowning, but I received a very positive recommendation for him by another TB'er. Thanks again everyone!

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