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Fret Dressing

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jaybyname, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. Just taking delivery of my 7 string bass and noticed some of the fronts on the palm side have started catching my hand. Is there a way/technique of solving this. Was thinking of running a fine piece of sand paper/file etc.to it.

    Any suggestions?
  2. I had a similar experience.

    I recommend getting proper tools for the job available from StewMac or another luthier supplier. They sell files made specifically for fret dressing and they can be tricky if you've never done it before. And they are expensive compared to Harbor Freight other places to get tools.

    But, today's world is full of online resources to guide you on how to do it.

    I would never use files not designed for frets. That's just me. Good luck!
  3. Audiomarkj


    Sep 1, 2008
    Endorsing Artist: Brubaker Basses
    I suggest getting this done. I nicked my 1st left hand pinky joint It's a pain and can hamper playing. That is a growing concern with all these new builders today. IMHO.
  4. To keep my frets in shape and to round over the occasional fret protruding the fretboard edge (on budget instruments) I never used anything more sophisticated than a nail file (emery board), finest grit sandpaper, a good scraper and most importantly, very fine steel wool (the kind one uses to polish things). And to inspect the fret ends I use a decent magnifying glass to really see where to work on exactly and check the progress. Never had any problems in 25yrs of doing it that way, though finished maple boards need some extra attention as to not damage the finish.

    Of course, in doubt better have it done by a qualified luthier / repair shop but it's not that hard to do it yourself.
  5. spufman


    Feb 7, 2005
    Central CT
    The Stew-Mac fret end dressing file is relatively safe to use and works very well. I think it's about $18 (plus shipping) and I'm glad to have it. I've had basses that have seasonal 'fret sprout' (more accurately 'fretboard shrink'). A small fine regular file would work, as would one of those sanding stick things you can get at the hobby shop. Whatever you use, go slow and careful and maybe put on some low-tack painter's tape to be safe.
  6. funkingroovin

    funkingroovin Conquering A-D-D,and all the other notes as well!

    Apr 19, 2009
    The nice thing about StewMac's fret file is that it's designed specifically for frets. It is designed to start and end the filing motion on a smooth surface of the file so there's no 'board/neck damage. They really make it a user-friendly tool.
  7. i'd use a nice fat free honey mustard

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