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Frets sticking out of neck - how much to get filed down?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Jacob M, Apr 17, 2005.

  1. Jacob M

    Jacob M

    Aug 28, 2004
    New York
    I ordered a bass neck from Warmoth last November and didn't get to actually construct a bass with it until around January. When I finally got everything together, I noticed that when I moved my hands around fast that i got little nicks from the neck. Initially I thought that the frets were just cut very sharply, and i was just getting nicked from the angle of the top of the fret and the side being very sharp. After about a month of two, I noticed that it wasn't the angle of the frets that was nicking my skin, but the actual frets. The frets are sticking out of the fretboard on the side of the wood by less than a milimeter, but being that they are cut so sharply, whenever I move my hand around the neck quickly I end up getting little cuts in my skin.

    I emailed Warmoth about it, and they said that it couldn't have been an error on their part, since when they put the frets in the neck they file it and the fretboard down at the same time, so it was essentially impossible for the frets to have been sticking out of the side of the neck when it left their factory. They said that it was just due to changing climates causing the wood to shrink that the frets were sticking out of the neck. I suppose this makes sense, since Washington state (where it was made) is generally much more humid than New York (where I live).

    Anyway, since it appears Warmoth won't/can't do anything to fix this, I pretty much have to get it filed down by some local guitar-tech. So, does anyone have any estimates about how much it should cost to get stainless-steel frets which are JUST BARELY sticking out of the neck on the side filed down? Every fret has this problem, and I only need to get them filed down on one side of the neck.

    Thanks for any help,
  2. rubo


    Aug 25, 2003
    It will cost you at least $50 for a local tech guy to fix it, why not get one of these, and do it yourself:


    plus if the fingerboard shrinks again, you can always fix it on the spot. Of course if you're handy you can make one these jigs yourself with a piece of wood and a file just cut it at a angle you like and glue it in. Is it Ebony fingerboard?

  3. Jacob M

    Jacob M

    Aug 28, 2004
    New York
    Yes, it is an Ebony fingerboard, does that make a difference? How does that fret beveling tool work; do I just rub it along the edges that're sticking out of the neck and it'll wear them down?
  4. If you don't know how, spend the money for a repairman to do it.

    A popular misconception is that a new neck is either ready-to-play out of the box, or that it'll stay perfect thru climactic changes.

    Warmoth necks a re excellent, imo, but like most others may require a fret level / dressing after install. Not a biggie...I only had to dress one of mine, the other was pretty darn good, but I don't like ultra-low action either.

    Best of luck to you. Slip the tech a sawbuck to let you watch and learn.
  5. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    Hey guys. I am having the same problem on my fender. Moved from Boston to New Orleans. I just noticed that my frets are starting to stick out (first time i noticed it). If i go back home (parents house. College student here) will the wood expand again? Thanks.
  6. Dredmahawkus


    Nov 4, 2012
    If your strings start buzzing all over the fretboard no matter how high you set the action then the neck twisted and is no good....thats what happend to my MIM jazz bass I bought in october...by december the frets started sticking out like mad.....got them filed down...then almost every notr you played with the action unplayable high the strings buzzed.....so I am waiting and waiting for fender to send a new neck under warranty. I have read a ton about MIM doing this lately. hopefully they will give me a better replacement! at least I know its coming from Corona and not Mexico!
  7. AdamR


    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    Before you file them wait for the weather to change or buy a humidifier. The dry winter air has probably sucked all of the moisture out of the neck. It will shrink just enough to make the frets hangout of the board
  8. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN

    To the contrary, the perfect time to file down fret sprout is when it is cold and dry, as this is when the frets stick out most. Do it when it's dry, and you'll never do it again.

    My tech charged me $40 to file down my fret sprout.
  9. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    IMHO this is a warranty issue and Warmoth should fix or replace.

    The reason why the fret ends stick out isn't that Warmoth didn't file them.

    The reason is that Warmoth used too fresh wood and it shrunk. It might not have been their fault (they might have been tricked by a wood seller) but either way, it should be their problem.
  10. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN

    No. They were certainly filed when they were installed, but temp and humidity changes causes wood to shrink. Metal, OTOH does not shrink. No one was tricked. It's wood....it happens.
  11. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    Sorry, but permanent shrinkage is something that would have been prevented by aging the wood longer before making a bass out of it.

    FWIW, metal shrinks and grows more than wood under temperature changes.
  12. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    How do you know it's permanent?

    FWIW, humidity does not affect metal as it does wood, and the lower humidity in winter is what typically causes fret sprout.
  13. Stewart Macdonald has a video on their website how to do it. There's a link to the video in the item's lsiting. Here's a direct link to the item's listing -

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