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Fret Leveling & Deburring

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by lonote49, Dec 22, 2002.

  1. Well, I decided to try leveling the frets on my P-Bass clone yesterday. I have it set up with very low action and I was getting some fret buzz; I had 3 high frets. I bought a set of X-acto files, very fine...for jewelry work. I went up the neck with a straightedge and located the high frets (the straightedge will use the high fret as a fulcrum and "see-saw" when a high fret is between 2 frets of the correct height). I also deburred the fret ends. I removed the neck and masked it to avoid scratching the finish. I was surprised at how easy it was to do this; I have never done any fretwork before and was kind of intimidated by it. Anyway, the whole operation took about an hour and the results are immediately evident. There are no more buzzes and there are no burrs on the ends of the frets. The bass plays like a dream. I have done my own truss rod adjustments and bridge adjustments for years, but I had never tried any fretwork before. If it wasn't for the information I received on this forum, I would never have had the confidence to try this. Thanks, everybody.
  2. Hey Lo, I don't want you to get upset but you've left a small step out of the fret leveling process that might come up and bite you. After leveling, you should "crown" the fretwire. This is putting the peak back on the top of the wire so that it makes contact with the string in a very small area. As it stands, you've created a small flat strip on the fret and this has much more contact with the string than a properly re-crowned fret. This might become an issue with the intonation since the flatter fret top can cause a strings vibration to stop short of the perfect location causing the note to be sharp at just that fret. It could get to be frustrating chasing down a problem like that.

    But, as you might have guessed, to do this properly will require an expensive fret crowning file that might put this out of reach. :(
  3. Actually, the fretwire is "vintage" size and I didn't have to remove much metal, so (fortunately)crowning wasn't an issue. I checked the intonation at the 12th and 19th frets and it was right on. Thanks for the heads up, though.