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Sharp frets

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ImNotGeddyLee, Mar 20, 2002.

  1. ive played a couple newer basses (even some higher end ones) that have very very sharp frets. It actually hurts when i play because of this. Now i am ordering a stingray off ebay (or web site if i lose the bid) and have gotten worried if this may be a problem (i have felt it on a few other stingrays). Will they simply wear down from playing or could they be sanded or filed smooth? thanx.

    ah crap... just realized this probably belongs in setup or somewhere else... please feel free to move it if you wish.
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    That is a symptom of an ebony fingerboard that has dried out due to low humidity, at least on mid priced and high end basses. Some Alembics that I have played(yes, I have found some of those too) and my Peavey Cirrus have the problem that you are talking about.

    Low humidity dries the ebony out a little, it shrinks and the fret ends are exposed.

    Stingrays come with maple or rosewood(pau ferro if fretless), those woods do not shrink as much as ebony, if at all.
  3. yes! one down side of ebony fingerboards..

    If anyone around DC area go to G.C. in Rockville, don't play their used yamaha rbxJM6 I think the teal color one, just look at the first string side of the neck!! :mad: I stopped by one day and I thought I'd try a 6 string... for fun. I cut my finger.. :mad:
    watch out!!
  4. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    I had to have the frets dressed on my Millennium that has a maple board. I am in Denver and it's pretty arid here. That probably plays a big part in that problem. I took it to the luthier and got a full setup and restring for $35.00. The fret work was included in that figure but I took my own strings. Smooth as a baby's bottom now. ;)
  5. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    Hehe i had that problem with my custom spector neck through i had made for me! Really would have made me mad that i spent that much and had that problem! But i just figured that they forgot to dress them befrore it left the shop! So i will dress them myself or take it to a luthier! If i were you id look into some local luthiers and talk around and see who does the best work!
  6. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Good advice Eric. I did just that because I didn't want my babies going to someone and returning in less than excellent condition. It really took quite a while to find someone that worked for me.
  7. SRSiegel

    SRSiegel Guest

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    i wouldnt say that this problem is confined to ebony. My ibanez usa ATK has a flame maple fretboard, and the frets have popped out at the edges. huh, i had no idea that this was caused by a lack of humidity. it would make sense, i bought the bass from a guy in texas.:rolleyes:
  8. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    Climate changes are something to consider when ordering a bass off the internet. All basses will react differently to it.

    I got my bass from Florida in September (Bass Central) and it was perfectly fine. I was pretty amazed.

    You also have to consider how likely it is that the UPS/Fed Ex guy is careful with the bass.
  9. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    The fret ends can be filed down with a flat (make sure you find a really flat one) mill file. This, of course, can trash the finish at the side of the fingerboard, so unless you have a way to fix the finish, you might want to pay someone to do it.
  10. Just got a Precision MIM off ebay from a guy in Arizona and the fret ends are all exposed and very sharp. The bass looks and feels like new otherwise. Will the problem resolve itself after a few months in my basement in Southeastern Wisconsin?
  11. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001

    I'm not sure if the problem will resolve itself totally. You may very well see some improvement. Since you just got it off ebay and it came from the desert, I would at least give it several weeks to settle in to the climate that you have in that area. I had the exact opposite of the problem that you're having. When I got my bass, a Peavey Millennium, from a store in Arkansas it was fine. After a few months, this dry Denver weather did have a negative effect on it. As I said in my earlier post, I took it to the luthier that I deal with and he knocked that problem out for me. Again, let it settle in first before you make any decisions about how to proceed. Use this time to shop around for a good person to do the work for you just in case. I hope this helps. :)
  12. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Hmmm... On the other hand, if you are expecting the fretboard to swell because the bass hass been moved from a dry environment to a more humid one, you could have an advantage working for you. If you wanted to try doing the job yourself, you could file the fret ends just short of the edge of the fretboard, thereby lessening the risk of scratching the the fretboard edge, and then wait for the fretboard to swell, finishing the job for you.
  13. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001

    Wisconsin will definitely be a lot more humid than Arizona! :) I'm still not sure that the change will take care of the problem even using the method that you suggested. In general, I would just prefer to wait a while before doing a lot of "tweaking" on a new bass. I'm pretty confident that there will be a reaction from the change of going from arid to humid or vice versa. I just simply think that allowing the bass time to get adjusted is a good idea.

    I never said or meant to imply that the waiting period would cure what ails his bass. There may be some improvement from the waiting but who knows if it will be enough of an improvement to correct the problem or how long it will take? I suspect that it will probably need to have the frets redressed but I'm certainly not the most knowledgeable of people in this area. ;)
  14. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001

    Read the post from FBB Custom. If I'm not mistaken, he's a custom bass builder. I wasn't comfortable with doing the job myself at the time that I had a problem with mine so I went the luthier. It worked out well for me and I actually learned quite a bit from the person that did the work that will be helpful to me in the long run.

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