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Intonation by fret filing?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by eli, Aug 28, 2000.

  1. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    I wonder if any repairpersons out there have ever tried to correct a guitar's or bass's poor intonation due to bad fret placement by dressing the fret crowns asymmetrically? That is, sloping the front or back of the fret so that the crown moves sharp or flat? And is this a common practice?

  2. I would have to wonder why one would go to the trouble of such a radical modification? With the plethora of adjustable bridges out there it seems to me that you could get all of the adjustment needed from there. If the positions of all of the frets are equally sharp or flat the bridge would take care of it.Another point to consider is that fretwire does not start out with a square profile. As such there is a very limited "width" in which to crown the fret and this probably wouldn't have a ton of effect on that particular note. Additionally you'd have to move the crowns all over the place as you went up the neck to correct the introduction of other misintonation from string bend. And what would happen as the frets wore down? Your intonation would continue to change as the crown of the fret moved in either direction. AND if one of the frets is that poorly positioned does that mean that all are the same amount off? Gosh, if the frets were that poorly positioned I would get another neck.
  3. Reg


    Aug 19, 2000
    I have heard of it before, from my understanding it is very rare, and only if you play in hugeky important studio work. Other than that it is generally an over kill.
  4. Rumblin' Man

    Rumblin' Man Banned

    Apr 27, 2000
    Route 66
    Nobody I know of does that. One thing that can be done for better intonation is to adjust the nut as well as the bridge. The Buzz Fieten Tuning System is used by a few guitar manufacturers (Anderson for one). In this system the length of the string is compensated at the nut as well as at the bridge. The purpose of the system is to allieviate the "out of tuneness" inherent in some chords when tuned/intonated in the traditional manner.

    However it is important to have a rounded top on the frets so that you have a single point which stops the string rather that a flat surface which can cause rattling and yes, slight intonation difficulties.

    Like Hambone says, if the frets (and to that I'll add the nut) are that far out of position, get another neck (or repostition the nut).

    [Edited by Rumblin' Man on 08-29-2000 at 06:26 AM]
  5. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.

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