Fret leveling

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by fenderx55, Nov 18, 2005.

  1. fenderx55


    Jan 15, 2005
    I've searched...and got something like 500 results. Is fret leveling cruscial and how would I know if my bass needed it? I know a lot of ppl on here say they have it done as soon as they buy a new axe, but since I wouldn't know any better, how would I tell if i should get em leveled? Thanks,
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Fret leveling is absolutely crucial. If you can play your bass without getting too much string buzz, then you're probably ok. But if you get lots of fret buzz that nothing seems to cure, or if you have big dents in your frets under the strings, you need it done.

    But do not buy those cheap Ebay kits to do it. Take it to a professional. Those fret levelling kits are a joke.
  3. fenderx55


    Jan 15, 2005
    ahhh ok. I'm cool in that department. I would in all likelihood, however, take it to a professional.

    thanks for the help,
  4. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    +1. Most homebrew fret leveling jobs are a joke too. I wonder how many defretted basses are the results of a fret leveling attempt gone bad.

    I really believe that most fingerboards are just fine for most players. A really precise fret leveling job will often benefit a much more experienced player to get that last speck of cleanness out of his instrument.

    As you said, Jimmy, if you have a fret related problem a fret leveling definitely is in order. Done by a pro, though.
  5. Be aware that all "professionals" are not. This is not something I'd want to trust to the local shop's setup guy. Ask around and find someone that knows how to do this correctly..

  6. Sorry for my stupidness, but I don't really know what "Fretleveleing " is... :rollno:
  7. Son of Magni

    Son of Magni

    May 10, 2005
    Builder: ThorBass
    Basically it's a process to insure that no fret is too high or too low compared to all the others. It involves using a type of file to set all the frets to the same height, then re-shaping the tops of the frets because the filing made the tops flat. Then polishing.
  8. ahh, okey, thank you!
  9. I think that the lower you like your action, the more critical perfectly levelled frets become. I don't think most people need to invest money into fret levelling on a brand new instrument. I know I damned sure wouldn't buy a brand new instrument that needed to have it done.
  10. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Instrument Technician, Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    A brand new instrument may well benefit from a fret dress, especially if it was manufactured in a region with a significantly different relative humidity that its final home. Wood reacts to changes in humidity, and I have seen numerous cases where the shrinkage caused by a move to drier environment has caused uneveness in the frets. Usually its not problemmatic enough to require immediate intervention, but for players who like lower action than the typical factory setup, a levelling job sometimes is beneficial. I've done 5 or 6 jobs on new instruments in the last year - none critical, but each resulted in a better playing instrument.