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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. 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 Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    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.

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