Fret job. Share your wisdom.

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Fenderkong13, Dec 22, 2014.

  1. Fenderkong13

    Fenderkong13 Guest

    Jan 17, 2014
    The other day i took my Fender standard Jazz into a local music shop for a setup. i had swapped the pickups and had it rewired before hand and needed everything to sit right. After the job is done the guy tells me he was having trouble getting the strings to sit right without fret buzz. and noticed the edges of my frets were pretty sharp. This was no surprise to me as i was aware of the sharpness in the frets especially as you move closer to the 20th fret. As well as experiencing consistent fret buzz on certain frets. He told me from his experience i probably have a bad neck. and will need to replace it or have the frets redone. Is this the case? and what might be other signs of this being the issue. I'm just looking for second opinions before spending a good amount of cash or blood and tears.
    Solutions i am already considering

    Having a professional re-fret the bass.
    Replacing the neck with a new one.
    Do it yourself job.
    Removing the frets and converting to a fretless.

    Thank you.
  2. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Fret sprout will be more pronounced this time of year. It's a relatively inexpensive fix and best addressed now. Regarding the second issue: well, which is it? Is it a bad neck or just in need of a fret leveling or associated work? Take it to a competent tech for an eval. Your other choices are a bit premature IMO.

    96tbird likes this.
  3. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Yes, get it to someone that actually has experience re-fretting instruments. Within a couple of minutes he will tell you what is required. It's highly likely that a leveling will take care of it; at the same time he will knock the sharp ends down and since it is winter, it is the best time to file the ends down.
  4. Fenderkong13

    Fenderkong13 Guest

    Jan 17, 2014
    pretty straight forward the guy doing the setup pulled an experience card "In my years of setting up-" blank blank. and told me i would need a re-fret.
  5. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    He is testifying to his own expertise. He may have a lot of time in but that does not mean that he knows what he is doing.

    Not saying that he doesn't. Just that his answer should be taken as non-responsive.

    Ask for specifics: Rutting, uneven fret heights, etc. He should be willing to show you where the problems lie.
  6. Fenderkong13

    Fenderkong13 Guest

    Jan 17, 2014
    the frets are sharp. from the first fret to the last. He mentioned frets that were uneven. in particular the tenth
  7. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    As Zoob and 96 indicated, sharp fret ends are not a big deal. This is more of an annoyance than a defect. They can be trimmed quickly and inexpensively.

    Actually, the tech should have notified you of this when he discovered (what you already knew) and advised you of the remedy and cost. The service could have been performed while the guitar was on the bench. Of course, if the neck is "bad" for some reason then it makes sense not to do it. However, he has provided you with no data, merely an opinion.

    Ask for data. Make informed decisions. It won't insult the professional. Exclude anyone who takes umbrage with your questions.
  8. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Agree. refretting is an expensive job. A fret leveling and crowning much less so as is filing fret sprout. Generally speaking, a re-fretting is only required if the frets have great grooves worn in them (I had that fixed with a simple leveling and they were SERIOUS grooves... but luthier told me NEXT time it would be refret) or if frets are loose in the wood. Replacement necks are more a matter if neck has a twist (visible by sighting down it) or if it somehow lacks stabiltiy (truss rod needing constant adjustment).

    Your's sounds like simple fret sprout easily fixed by some careful filing that you might even be able to do yourself, and possibly a fret leveling. That takes more tools and skills but costs nothing like a refret or new neck.

    My advice is seek a second opinion and ask for an exact explanation of what they think is wrong.
  9. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    sharp ends and uneven frets are two different things!

    sharp fret ends are a trivial thing to deal with, i knock those back to smooth as a routine part of a setup.

    uneven fret tops (beyond just a loose fret or two needing to be glued back down) is a bigger issue, typically requiring a proper fret-leveling to truly fix.
  10. tubatodd


    Oct 31, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    I watched a few videos online regarding how to tame sharp fret ends. There are tons of techniques. I went rather redneck/ghetto. I purchased a fine metal nail file, 4 sided nail buffer, borrowed a knife sharpening stone and found some 0000 steel wool. After some experimenting I realized that the easiest, most effective and LEAST damaging method was taking the metal file and running it down the edge of the neck. The protruding ends kept the file from touching the wood until the protrusion was gone. I did this carefully up and down the neck. I then used the sharpening stone and did the same thing to smooth it out. Next I used the 4 sided buffer to get it really even. Finally, I used the steel wool and went over the back and side of the neck as well as the fretboard. Once I was done, I cleaned the neck with orange oil on an old t-shirt. The neck feels a million times better and super smooth.

    At first I tried taping each fret and using the file going back to front like most videos. I ended up causing MORE damage to the wood. Your mileage may vary, but that was my method.