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Help Installing Frets in Stabilized Wood.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by tonrutoo, Sep 12, 2004.


  1. tonrutoo

    tonrutoo

    Apr 18, 2003
    Hello.
    I was informed by my neck maker that he was reluctant to try installing frets on my stabilized board.
    I know JP has experience in this,and was wondering if JP or anyone else was willing to share their experience and advice.
    -
    DETAILS-*I plan on having it fretted with stainless steel fretwire(6100) if that complicates things.The board will have a compound radius of 7 1/4 to 9 1/2".I'm having it built with 20 standard positioned frets and a zero fret on a Jazz 34" four string neck with a .900" C contour.*
    -
    Larry of Gallery Hardwoods cut me a 30" blank so there would be room for practice,and left instructions that the fretwire needed to be press fit which the neck makers site mentions as their method of manufacture.
    Thank you in advance for any advice.
     
  2. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Hi,

    First off, congratulations on selecting a stabilized fingerboard from Gallery, I'm using them quite a bit and they're great!

    Stabilized fingerboards can chip easier than a non-stabilized fingerboard, so that is the reason that pressing the frets in is preferred over hammering them in.

    Also, you'll want to have the fret slots a bit wider (just an ever so slight bit, mind you..) than a standard fret slot. What I do with mine is after they are slotted to standard (.023"), I have a very small jewelers file that is shaped like a knife blade, so it has a very slight "V" shape to it. I lightly run it through each fret slot to give the fret slot a very slight "V" shape as well as every so slightly widening the slot. This helps in pressing in the fret as well as at some point down the road it will make a refret easier (although with stainless steel frets, this will be a longer time than standard, but still....).

    Lastly, once the frets are in, it is a good idea to wick a very small amount of CA glue into the fret groove to fill all the voids between the fret tang and the fret slot, and also to keep the frets from moving during temperature / humidity changes, etc.

    Hope this helps, please don't hesitate to ask any questions you might still have that I haven't addressed above.

    :^)~
     
  3. tonrutoo

    tonrutoo

    Apr 18, 2003
    Beautifull.
    Thank you for the detail.
    the information may make no difference to the manufacturer,but it gives me options.If still reluctant,I might see if I can have it done locally.
    Again,thank you for being so helpfull.
     
  4. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    what Grandon says!

    who is the reluctant builders? tell him to contact us!

    Peace,
    JP
     
  5. tonrutoo

    tonrutoo

    Apr 18, 2003
    I wouldn't feel right mentioning who,just that they are one of the larger custom part builders with a decent reputation.
    I have copied the advice given as a means to pursuade.
    Thanks,and I'll ask them to look to this board as a reference.
    I've shared before,but I'll sum up the project as it stands,just for kicks:
    I'm looking to build a fairly bright toned bass with the smoothness of flatwound strings tuned to B,E,A,D.
    This vintage/modern will be fed through a 1x15 all tube combo(Mesa/Boogie Buster).
    -Body Wood:Santos mahogany from Gallery Hardwoods capped with wild maple.
    -Body Style:Small jazz with a single coil P-bass(Seymore Duncan QP),4 ABM single string bridges,Q-Parts large volume knob,Q-Parts small tone knob,Electrosocket side input,contoured heel.
    -Neck Wood:Rock maple flatsawn with above mentioned fingerboard from Gallery Hardwoods.
    -Neck Style:Jazz 4 string graphite reinforced,1.5"nut width with'51 P-bass headstock,.900" neck depth,7.25-9.5"compound radius fingerboard with twenty 6100 stainless frets plus a zero fret,Slipstone nut,Hipshot Ultralight elephant ears,heel adjust truss rod.
    -Strings:Rotosound Monel flats for the tight B on 34" scales and overall bright tone.
     
  6. tonrutoo

    tonrutoo

    Apr 18, 2003
    Larry is a saint!
    It'll take me a little to coordinate things,but sounds great.
    Gotta go get sleep now,as I work 3rd shift.
     
  7. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    Hey,

    If the builder won't fret it, have them cut the slots to standard 0.23", build the neck but leave it unfretted, and then sent it to me and for the price of a pint I'll fret it up for ya.

    :^)~
     
  8. tonrutoo

    tonrutoo

    Apr 18, 2003
    That sounds like a plan!
    I'll get the details together and e-mail.
    I'm frankly ecstatic.
    Thank you Grandon.
     
  9. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    You're more than welcome! Larry sells the best woods and fingerboards out there, and I'm more than happy to put the frets in and dress them out for ya rather than have someone do it if they're not comfortable with it.

    Just pay the shipping and maybe someday if you're ever in the Denver / Colorado Springs area you can buy me that pint (ie: small print says no charge!)

    Kindest Regards,

    :^)~

    -Grandon-
     
  10. tonrutoo

    tonrutoo

    Apr 18, 2003
    Thanks a million Grandon!
    I e-mailed the makers yesterday,and got a psuedo-answer today.I replied with some positive reinforcement,though made it clear that I want craftsmanship to be the cause.
    -
    I was wondering what tang width I should get the stainless fretwire?
    Neck makers recommended .020"tang,which All-Parts carries in a .105".I'm open to suggestions,with quality the overriding factor.I know of two other retailers who carry stainless.
    -
    Actually my sister lives in Colorado Springs!
    More a musician than myself,she just got her family a nice piano finished in bubinga(I never knew you had a choice).-She's also learned French horn,and violin.
    I plan on visiting in the near future.
    BTW-I'm partial to Samuel Smiths Imperial Stout,but enjoy brew in its many forms.
    Thanks again.
    Sincerely,
    Tom.
     
  11. tonrutoo

    tonrutoo

    Apr 18, 2003
    Sorry Grandon.
    Maker gave a no-go.Says he uses a .020" blade for frets.He was concerned about using the blade on the acrylic impregnated board.
    While I may be lead to question this logic,I'm not in their shoes.They've always treated me with respect,and enthusiasm.
    I can't thank you enough for your generous offer to fret the fingerboard.I regret not having your expertise as an addition to this project.You have placed yourself at the forefront of my next bass.I've reviewed your options and body styles and hope to see myself with a fretless built by your hand.
    Thanks again,and I apologize for the confusion.
    Sincerely,
    Tom Frazier.