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fret leveling

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by freebeer, Feb 25, 2003.

  1. Anyone done this? I have a bass with a flat (no radius) neck that has a few slightly high frets and I was going to attempt to level them. I have the idea of what needs to be done but I obviously don't want to mess anything up. Anyone care to shed some info on me?
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    You will probably spend more on tools that it would cost to have a tech fix it.

    You need a set of fret files. They are of a special design to maintain the crown of the fret.

    You'll need a long, super straight, engineering grade, metal straight edge. The idea being that you lay the straight edge on the frets and it should touch all of them. Where it does not, either that fret is low or the one beside it is high.

    I very much suggest that you get a quote on getting this fixed before you further consider attempting it yourself.

    It may be money well spent.

  3. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Good advice!

  4. I did it 2 or 3 times (the frets had lots of meat) with a little machinist's Dykem blue dye, a straightedge, a new large flat file, a fret file, some masking tape, some 3M black sandpaper (forgot what it's called but it's in every Wal-Mart) and lots of patience. First I checked that all the frets were seated fully. Then I took the neck off and straightened it, checking with the straightedge against the unworn parts of the frets. Then I masked all the rosewood with the tape (2 layers not including overlaps). I filed the frets flat holding the file flat in line with the neck and following the curve, filing several frets at once, taking long passes over the whole neck and keeping it as even as possible. When I had all the erosion gone, I painted the dye on the frets and let it dry thoroughly, then started crowning the frets with the fret file, taking long, smooth, light, even strokes, and being careful to hold the edge dead perpendicular to the fretboard. I watched the dye carefully as the marking became a narrower and narrower stripe on the top of the fret, always keeping it centered and equal width the whole length of the fret until the dye stripe was almost gone, then took one light, even stroke across the whole fret to finish, following the curve as always. Next I polished the frets lightly with the sandpaper, then I took off the tape and that was it!