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Can I re-level, dress and crown frets without replacng them?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by azfryguy, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. azfryguy


    Feb 2, 2010
    Queen Creek AZ
    I have a very cheap bass and am looking to start doing some fret work and I figure its a good practice because worse cause I eff it up and toss it. It was only $35. I know the frets are really really bad. They have some big dents in them and most are flat. Every single fret hangs off too. Its not that i'm too lazy to replace them and everything its just that I do not have desirse too replace them if I don't have too. Well, ya I guess I am lazy then:D. I was going to level them with a radius block from a defretted bass project and it turns out is the exact same radius. After that bevel them with a wood block with a file in it. You know the kind that are all over eBay. Then crown them with a 3-1 fret crowning file from StewMac or eBay. Finally purchase the ultimate fret dressing file from StewMac. So if I have to replace the frets i'll wait a bit so I can afford it all in one big shipment. Two more questions. Do I have the right order (Level,bevel,crown,dress) and will those tools give me the most bang for my buck?
  2. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    "crowning" and "dressing" are kinda the same thing (closing the wide flat tops from leveling down to a narrow strip in the center of each fret, then sanding and polishing them shiny and smooth). you'd use the 3-corner (like i do) or the fret file, but usually not both.

    after the crowning/shaping, you'd use various grades of sandpaper to get them smoother and smoother, starting with maybe 320 and ending with 600 or 800, then going to 4x0 steel wool for final shining.

    otherwise, yeah.
  3. rockerjeff


    Apr 25, 2009
    General Manager, Halo Custom Guitars, Inc.
    You don't need to replace the frets if you're OK with the resulting fret height after all that work is completed (level/re-crown/polish). Do the frets feel too low when you play the bass right now? Because if they do, then the frets are going to feel even lower after the fret level process.
  4. azfryguy


    Feb 2, 2010
    Queen Creek AZ
    The frets are pretty big so I think I'll be ok. So i'm going to make sure the neck is nice and straight. Mark the tips of the frets with a maker. Then Use the radius block with about what a 300 grade sandpaper? Then do so till they are nice and even. I could be wrong but then I crown them correct? After that shape the ends of them and polish them. That sound correct?

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