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Help ......fretting my first neck. A question

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by tjclem, Nov 6, 2005.

  1. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I have the neck shaped and the radiused, slotted fingerboard glued on. I haven't shaped the back of the neck yet. Do I do that before putting in the frets? I am guessing that I do.....t
  2. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    That's what I do, but I imagine that you may be able to fret it now, depending on how you shape the back of your neck.
  3. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    If you hammer your frets in, you should shape your neck after fretting your neck. At least the back of your neck if going to be flat when you knock your frets in.
  4. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    Heh, I'm at the same stage as you TJ. I just got the sides of my neck tapered + flat, and I was just in the garage debating whether or not to start shaping the neck. I love shaping the back, so I had to hold off.
    How are you gonna put your frets in?
    I ordered the radius caul that you put in your drill press from Stew Mac. I'm thinking it would be easier to put in the frets no matter what with the back flat, but I don't wanna screw 'em up when i shape the back. I also gotta figure out how to work this fretwire radius jig i got from eBay, it didn't come with instructions (sent the guy an e-mail) and I'm not sure how to get the correct radius. I'm gonna start feeding wire through the jig and check it against the 16" caul 'til i get it right.
    However, first and foremost is to put an inlay at #12. Back to reading Larry Robinson's book.
  5. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I will be pressing in the frets with the drill press. I don't have the stew-mac set up. I was wondering if the fingerboard's shape will change with the removal of the wood from the back of the neck.
  6. I've fretted only 3 necks so far and I always shape the neck before fretting. I use the hammer method. I don't use a caul, just an old pair of jeans folded to get the shaped part to the same height as the heel. This works wonderful for me. I can fret a neck in under an hour provided the frets have already been bent.

    I see logic in what you're proposing, but for me specifically, this doesn't work, as I shape my necks by laying it on it's fingerboard flat on a workbench fixture. If I even radius the board before hand, shaping would be very difficult for me.

    Here's my timeline:
    1. cut and glue scarf headstock.
    2. route the truss rod channel while I still have parallel edges.
    3. cut neck/headstock outline.
    4. slot fingerboard while square.
    5. cut rough outline on figerboard and , at the same time as installing the truss rod and any reinforcements, glue to the neck.
    6. shape back of the neck and adjust truss rod to get a flat board.
    7. radius/flatten fingerboard. I use a stewmac radiusing block and a piece of flat (handplaned) 2x4 with sandpaper on it to flatten.
    8. install frets.
    9. level frets with my 2x4
    10. dress frets (focusing on the ends and edges).
    11. *optional* finish neck/fingerboard - if maple.
    12. polish frets and readjust truss rod after installing on body.
  7. Techmonkey


    Sep 4, 2004
    Wales, UK
    Wow Wilser! I've been looking for a timeline like that for a long time - I can never seem to get logical orders sorted out right, I always end up doing things the wrong way round!
    Just one question though: When do you route the truss rod channel? I'm guessing it's just before gluing the fretboard down?
  8. yes, this is before I cut the taper on the neck blank. I first cut the scarf (as on the pictorial on another thread), then, while I still have parallel edges, I route the truss rod slot. I'll edit the original post and add this for anybody else's benefit.