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Look what I learned to do!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Hambone, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. This isn't news to the pros but I'm pretty proud of myself. :D

    On the liner notes of one of Marcus Millers CD's, there's a closeup of his ash Jazz with the bound neck. The frets were dressed round this way. I hadn't ever seen that before - usually it was just a variation on the rounded slope. Then when I stumbled onto John Pearses site, he had a mention of how he accomplished the effect by rounding the fret ends before installing them in the slots. Undaunted I started goofing around with a neck here in the shop and figured out that I could do it pretty easily right on the instrument with just a flat file. It doesn't take that long so I think I'll just incorporate it into all of my fretwork when I can.

    It really feels good.

  2. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    where is the photo and the close up and the link how it was done very interested!!!......t
  3. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    The best way to accomplish this is with a needle file that has a flat, non-cutting edge. You will mask off the wood in between the frets, and then put the flat against the neck on the masking tape. Then you will file slowly until it attains that nice roundness. I am planning on doing it to my new (to me) Conklin. I just took care of the fret sprouting, and now I want it to feel even smoother.
  4. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    ahhhhh.......smooth, rounded frets....
    That's my complaint of Warmoth necks and the like. I haven't dabbled in the fret business at ALL........but the few 'aftermarket' necks I've bought all irritate the hell out of me on the ends of the necks, like they need to be 'rounded' over somehow. I think that's why I like the fender 7.25 radius necks to play on.......
    great tips Hambone. I hope to delve into the fret world soon!
  5. Here's a closeup:


    Trevorus has the basic idea. I use a flat file that has the cutting surface removed on one edge. I mask the neck then file. My first cuts are to establish the round contour as seen from the top of the fretboard looking down. Then I begin to roll over the end of the fret by making the same rounding movement but rolling the handle of the file between my fingers so that it pitches over the top of the fret as it is guided around to the end. I work almost exclusively with my right hand so I have to be careful to match the profiles between the forward and trailing sides of the fret. Once the general shape is attained, I polish off the file marks with some dry 1500 grit paper then polish with 000 and 0000 steel wool. When I'm done, there is sometimes a small bit of "foil" left over at the very edges of the fret ends. I remove this with a flick of an X-acto knife and it's done. BTW, I gauge how much polishing to do on each fret by how much wear I put on the masking between the frets. The individual fret is done when the masking just begins to break away and show a little fretboard underneath.
  6. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Nice job. I've seen it before - I don't remember where - but I thought it's something more people should do.
  7. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Well done, Ham!

    Amazing what you can do with a file, and some time.
  8. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Mr. 'Bone can you e-mail me the photos. I have 1 of these.

    1 of these


    and 1 of these


    I am practicing on a Squire neck that has a slight twist to it before I make my first fretted neck. Didn't somebody post a good link on fretting or fret dressing?........thanks ......t
  9. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Thanks hambone....t