Fret slotting/scale length

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Brendan, Jul 15, 2005.

  1. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    This is a question that's been rattling around my head for a while.

    If something a "minor" as a poor fret crowing can result in notes being out of tune, how do you slot your fretboards accurately? A good fret job is a different task entirely, but I'm asking about the physical location of the frets, and how you make them accurate.

    Templates? If so, how do you do "odd" scales, like a Rick, 33.25" or a 35.5"?

    Measuring twice, cutting once? Due to the nature of the beast, a fretted instrument isn't going to be "perfectly" in tune on every note (but damn close), but how do you measure that accurately? Micrometer?

    Every time I think about building a bass, this is probably the only thing that ever really discourages me. How do you slot the frets for accurate intonation?

  2. A poorly crowned fret can be 1~2 mm out of place depending on the fret type. I personally use this program called wfret that prints a template that I tape to the blank and then slot using a square and stewmac fretting saw. wfret is pretty accurate (I have measured every single position using a 1/64" rule) and it controls the printer head directly with printer commands, so you needn't worrry about windows driver scaling the output.

    That's a link to wfret. Thanks for telling me about that Wilser! I wasn't too happy with the prospect of buying preslotted boards from LMI, they don't have the woods that I really wanted.
  4. I use a stewmac Dual Fretscale Template in a SM Fret Slotting Mitre box with their fret saw or I can use the mitre box with a computer printed pattern affixed to the fretboard.