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Can I file my own frets?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by SteveC, Dec 23, 2005.


  1. SteveC

    SteveC Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    So I got a new bass from my wife for Christmas. It's a Yamaha BB414. Plays and sounds great, but with the dry weather up here the frets stick out a bit from the edge of the fingerboard and are rough on my hand as I shift up and down the neck.

    Is this something I can do myself? Do I need a special file? We don't have anyone around here that does this kind of work so I'm on my own unless it's something I need to send my bass away to get done. I'd rather do it myself.

    Any help is appreciated.
     
  2. Biagio139

    Biagio139 Dealer: Hipshot Products, Inc.

    Dec 23, 2005
    Ithaca N.Y.
    hmmmmmm you can definatly do it yourself, get some sand paper lets say 220 and a flat piece of wood and run it up and down untill it feels better then advance to 320 400 just take time and dont go beyond the fret board or youll screw up the finish obviously. usually you use file set at 90 degrees in a block but most people dont have one and thats more aggresive. if you need to look at stewmac.com at there beveling files. If the frets need to be beveled get one of these and take your time, you can do it its not a tough job.
     
  3. Here's how I fix that particular problem: I use a small flat jewelers file and only file the fret itself. By being careful and using your thumb alongside the file, you can guide the file to stay on the fret and not slop over onto the wood. This will preserve the wood and finish between the frets that would be damaged (and need further repair) by using a method that attacks the whole side of the neck rather than just the offending fret ends.
     
  4. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
  5. i would think that file would be more for rounding over newly cut frets, but it would work if you went with hambone's method, i would get the other part from stewmac (the block with the file in it) and use that depending on how far out the fret is
     
  6. Biagio139

    Biagio139 Dealer: Hipshot Products, Inc.

    Dec 23, 2005
    Ithaca N.Y.
    the block at stew mac is for beveling you need to use paper or make a 90 degree block
     
  7. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    That file is for rounding and smoothing the very edges of the fret. I thought was what he wanted to do.t
     
  8. SteveC

    SteveC Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    That's what I want to do.
     
  9. Understand that my advice comes only from my way of doing frets. Aside from a crowning file, I only use a small flat file for all of my other work. One edge is blank - no teeth - so I can run it along the wood without damage. With a little practice, you don't need anything else.
     
  10. mobax

    mobax Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    New Baltimore, MI
  11. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
    I suggest using some 600 grit wet dry paper and a backing block of some sort. Sand the edges until they feel good then hit them again lightly with 1000 grit to polish them back out.