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Minor fret leveling

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by dave120, Dec 14, 2005.


  1. dave120

    dave120

    Jun 27, 2005
    Central Florida
    So after getting a good setup on my SX bass recently and upgrading the parts to what I want, I decided that I really like this bass! The feel of the neck on it is better than any other bass I've played recently, but as it's fairly inexpensive, the fretwork isn't the greatest. There's no major problems with it and Grasshopper at Bass Central set it up for me after I got it and he said the neck straightened out very nicely.

    So since there's no major construction flaws, just some very minor (not even really audible through an amp) fret buzz, I'm thinking I want to try my hand at leveling the frets some to work that buzz out. The neck is set where it needs to be now after that setup and the relief is perfect at what it should be. So how would I go about working on the frets? I don't have any special fret files, so would some really fine sandpaper work on them? Keep in mind the replacement necks on an SX are only $40 so I'm not too worried about messing it up, but I will be very careful.

    Do I just leave the bass set up the way it is and slowly take some off the fret that it's buzzing on (usually the one right past the one being played on) until it stops? Obviously if it doesn't work out easily I'm not going to take them down very far or anything. Any tips for this project?
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If you don't have the tools, don't even bother. Leveling is a lot more than sanding down the frets, and you can easily ruin a neck, costing you way more than the $70-80 a pro fret dressing would cost. Trust me, I know. I ruined a neck of mine so bad I had to make it a fretless, and I even bought $700 worth of tools, the Dan Erlewine video, and went down to Lyrical Lumber and paid them to show me how to do fret dressings. Get Grasshopper or the guys at Lyrical Lumber or the Guitar Factory to do your fret job.
     

  3. ahhh, you didn't practice, did you, Jimmy

    Dave, If you want to learn how to dress frets...you must practice until you are proficient...and, as Jimmy says, you must have the right tools. BTW..."search and destroy" method of eliminating highspots will systematically wreck your neck.

    Jimmy, why did you opt for a defret instead of a refret?

    If that were me and I ruined a neck, I'd buy some fretwire, and refret and redress and repeat the process as long as it took until I learned how to do it properly. But then, there's something in me that's screaming "I want to be a luthier"...:)
     
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Hammer marks in the neck.
     
  5. dave120

    dave120

    Jun 27, 2005
    Central Florida
    Yeah I figured that there was more to it than that or else everybody would be doing it by themselves. Something about me is wanting to get more proficient at guitar teach work also...but I don't wanna screw anything up too badly, either. It's not enough buzzing to cause me any problems so I'm not gonna bother with getting it fixed right now and just play the thing.

    Thanks for the replies