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beating a fret into submission...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bassist4ever, Jun 1, 2002.

  1. how do you do it?
    i have this fret (10th fret g to a string) that is high....... noticably high...
    i kinda have to do my own set up and shiz nit because there is not a competent tech in our area in which i trust to file the fret down...

    i read somewhere where hambone posted instructions but i was wondering what kind of tools i will/would need to beat a fret back into its propper space..
  2. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    I'm probably not going to suggest what you really want to hear.

    Fret filing/replacement/installation is probably the most difficult procedure in stringed instrument repair.

    I'm sure that the term "beating" the fret is meant as a figure of speech. The LAST thing you want to do is to try to tap the fret back into place without using a caul. Even with the proper radiused caul, it is much safer to press the fret into place rather than hammer it in. If the fret becomes bent while installing it, you must cut another fret and start over. Frets bend very easily if not supported by the fret slot.

    If you have a band saw it's not hard to make your own caul.

    Determine the radius of the fingerboard. Use a compass to lay out a circle with the proper radius on a peice of hardwood and cut a segment of the circle out that's as wide as the fret is long. Shape the side of the caul that's opposite the radius to work with the type of press that you press the fret in with.

    A drill press works very well as a fret press. A C-clamp can be used but lacks the control of a drill press.

    If the old fret is just being reseated, make sure (this is important) that there is no gunk between the fret and the FB. Any gunk there will keep the fret from fully seating and will cause the fret to be high.

    Once the fret is in place, wick a little super glue into the fret slot at each end of the fret.

    If you have to install a new fret the fret will have to be prebent to match the radius of the FB or it will have a tendency to come up at the ends of the slot.

    There is a special tool called a fretbender made for this purpose. Lacking that tool, the fret can be bent by hand but extreme care is required to get a smooth bend. You will need a pair of fret nippers to remove about 1/16" from the tang of the fret at each end.

    A new fret will almost certainly need filing. After filing to the proper heigth, the fret needs to be recrowned and polished. This step may not be needed if the old fret is still usable.

    If filing for heigth is performed, a good metal straight edge is used to determine the amount to be removed from the new fret.

    A neck jig is the ideal way to keep everything straight while you service the fret but not absolutely needed for servicing one fret.

    Just use a straight edge that reaches the fret above and below the fret you're working on.

    The idea is to not have the straightedge rock on the new fret. The fret will be very close to right if a straight edge rests solidly on the new fret and each adjacent fret.

    See? I told you it was complicated. :)

    I strongly suggest that you practice on a beater bass till you become comfortable with the procedure.

    It's not brain surgery but it does require a high degree of precision to be succesful.

    Hope this doesn't raise more questions than it answers. :) Good luck.

  3. well i decided NOT to hammer it into submission (okay i tried but it did nuthin so ya know. no damage done)
    I emailed washburn about it and i have 3 choices
    1. pay for fretlevling my self
    2 send it back to washburn (NOT AN OPTION id die w/o my bass)
    3. Travel all the way to oklahoma city to an "authorized washburn service tech dude"
    OK City is about 4 hours away from me.

    how much would a fret levleing cost????

    i may go to OK city over the summer and ask em..
  4. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    You might try raising the bridge saddle just a bit and see if that will clear the buzz up. Increasing the relief may even help. Of course either adjustment will make the action higher.

    You probably could just file one fret yourself if you are handy with your hands and are very patient and exact with your work.

    If you want to try it yourself I'd be glad to fly you through it via PM or E-mail.


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