Sharp Frets, really weather related?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by tommyt, Feb 1, 2018.

  1. tommyt


    Apr 7, 2004
    I am looking for a 5 string bass and went to the local GC recently. Tried a mid range Ibanez, an ESP, and a Musicman that was totally out of my price range. All of them, including the Musicman had frets that were sharp and protruding from the edge of the fretboard. The sales guy blamed the dry conditions. Is this really true? None of my current basses suffer from this.
  2. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    Yes, all my instruments showed some signs of shrinkage when the humidity was really low.
  3. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Residential and commercial HVAC will do that. With January's cold snap, my heat pump(s) dropped the RH to 25-30%.

  4. The air has been exceptionally dry here, and a couple of my guitars have developed this issue. I want to order a fret end dressing file and work on them, but my big question is, when spring comes and the air is moist again will the issue go away? Should I just wait for that, or do the fret ends now need filing regardless? I'm reluctant to dress them if the problem will resolve itself.
  5. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Yes, the issue will self-correct when the climate changes but why live with fret-sprout for 3 months (+/-) every year? Now is the time to dress the fret ends, when it's at its worst.

  6. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Suspended Supporting Member

    Yes, it's really true. Almost every bass/guitar/thing with frets that I've ever bought and had shipped here to Las Vegas (aka The Mojave Desert), has had to have the fret ends dressed. I usually wait a month/6 weeks for it to stabilize, before I have it done. My new Gibson T-Bird is having it's fret ends done right now, in fact. If you were to go to the Sam Ash here, almost every bass on their wall has fret sprout to some extent. I never look at the guitars, but I imagine they're the same. Some of the 4003 Ricks have it so bad, the binding on the neck looks like a row of pimples where the fret ends are :eek:... no idea how they'd fix that. And, depending on where you live, Zooberwerx could be right. Where he lives, the bass' neck will shrink and expand - a little. Where I live? Nope; the wood just shrinks, and since I don't care to create a micro-climate in my house, with 30 "bubble baby" instruments living in their own little world? It stays that way, and after close to 3 decades here, no problems, either. Personally, I'd just have the fret ends dressed, and forget about it. Even if the wood were to expand, not having fret ends at the very edge of the wood won't hurt anything...:thumbsup:
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  7. One advantage I guess of living in a permanently dry climate is that once you get your feet ends fixed, etc. you're good and done. Zooberwerx what you're saying makes sense to me, I'm gonna get them done now. Thanks!
  8. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    It's a when, not an if, regarding fret sprout here.
    We all just address the fret ends during the winter once and never have to revisit them again.
  9. Bigblue2014


    Jan 27, 2019
    I just received a a new bass through the mail from a store in Minnesota, I live in Georgia, and the first thing I noticed was sharp frets ( fret sprout?). My neck is maple/walnut and the board is wenge. The manufacturer also states the fret board has "rolled" edges. This is my first bass with this feature. Should I be concerned with this (short online sale return period), or think it is the shrinkage of the wood found in other comments above.By the way just after 10 minutes of playing my fingers feel like I took sandpaper to them.
  10. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    which begs the question: why don't the companies just dress the ends inboard of the edge of the fingerboard under the assumption that there's a 30% that any instrument will be hanging in a dry building? Obvious answer is more complicated manufacture, but still...

    wintery Minnesota? The neck probably shrank there. Come June-July that juicy Georgian air may let the neck expand back out. I wouldn't wait or hedge on that possibility. If you otherwise like the tone of that bass, get the ends brought in.
    Bigblue2014 likes this.
  11. Bigblue2014


    Jan 27, 2019
    Yeah haha,near Minneapolis. There is a music store about an hour away from me,gonna call in morning to see if they have someone who can dress it for me. Thanks for the reply Mattzilla.
  12. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    I wouldn't bother with it this year. Being in Georgia it could easily acclimatize and it never happen again. One of my basses had fret sprout from Sweetwater. I wanted the tech here to trim them and he said it was too early, a couple months later the frets were back to normal. That was 5 years ago, I still haven't had the fret sprout come back.
    Bigblue2014 likes this.
  13. Aloe


    Apr 10, 2016
    IME not really.

    on one hand I have cheap abused by heat and low humidity for many years guitars that don't have sharp fret edges (and didn't have a single aftermarket fret dressing). and a couple of not so cheap that don't have this problem as well. on the other I had/have both cheap and expensive guitars that have horrible fret edges, some of them got worse with years.

    everybody hates doing proper fret end dressing. but IME some manufacturers care less than others.
  14. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music. Supporting Member

    Fret-sprout is the operative phrase.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2019