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Smooth the frets, or fret job?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Michael Jewels, Apr 30, 2002.


  1. I just recently started playing my Yamaha 5 string again after a few months in the case and I still love its sound ~ so growly. The thing is, is that after playing my Stingray for the past 4 months, I can feel how much better the fretwork is on the 'Ray when I switch to the Yamaha. So, what is the best option? Have the frets on there smoothed out, or just get a whole new fret job. And, what would be the price for each job? The bass was only $400 new, but, I just love the sound. I don't want to buy something else, because I will get my head smashed in, so I think a fret job would be cheaper than brain surgery. :D

    What do you think?

    Mike J.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher

    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Have the frets properly filed and crowned. I think this should run about $80.

    The rule of thumb is that the frets can stand about three recrownings before having to be replaced.
     
  3. ESP-LTD

    ESP-LTD

    Sep 9, 2001
    Idaho
    I bought my ESP 5 used and after about 2 months of getting the action as good as I could, I paid a pro to do a minor fret dress and setup; I got a deal for only $35. I think a lot of the difference between an off-the-shelf Korean bass and something much fancier is a clean setup by someone who knows what they are doing and cares about the product.
     
  4. seamus

    seamus

    Feb 8, 2001
    Jersey
    I think this point hit the nail on the head. The trick is finding a real experienced pro. A minor fret dress and setup by a real technician can usually coax the best possible setup out of an instrument. If the current condition of the frets is just normal wear and tear and the neck is straight, some minor sanding and setup are probably all it needs.

    The problem is, pros that really know what they are doing and take care with the instrument are hard to find.
     
  5. Thanks for the responses guys, but, I don't think I made the situation crystal clear. This is a brand new bass, bought 11 months ago and having only about 4 months of non aggressive playing on it. The problem is that when you take your thumb and index finger and run them on either side of the edge of the neck, you feel what I call, fret overhang. So, it's not that the frets have too much use on them, I think it's just a case of the frets not being finished as well as they could have been. My Stingray, Jack Casady and Ibanez Musician are smooth as can be when you run your fingers along the edges of the neck. This is my first 5 string and I guess I didn't notice this sooner because I was just trying to get used to dealing with the B string.

    So, now that you know this, what would you suggest?

    Mike J.
     
  6. seamus

    seamus

    Feb 8, 2001
    Jersey
    Oh yeah, I misunderstood completely. Sorry about that. Scratch my last post.

    11 months? I wonder if there's a warranty still in place on the instrument? Overhanging frets sounds like a defect to me. Does Yamaha have anything to say about it? Seems to me you shouldn't have to shell out the dough to fix a fret problem less than a year into owning the bass.
     
  7. Seamus, I think the Stingray spoiled me. The frets aren't that bad, but, now I feel the difference when I switch back and forth. No bigee. I'll either learn to live with it or find a good fret man in NYC. This bass has such a killer tone for $400.

    Thanks.
    Mike J.
     
  8. seamus

    seamus

    Feb 8, 2001
    Jersey
    Cool, good luck with the bass either way. I know the feeling of really liking how a bass sounds, but not falling in love with the feel. I tend to think of my G&L's that way.
     
  9. ESP-LTD

    ESP-LTD

    Sep 9, 2001
    Idaho
    I stand by my comments. This is one of many things a pro should handle. I'd say warranty is pointless; if the manufacturer wasn't able to get it right the first time there's no reason to expect any different this time.

    Even on a new bass with no fretwear, there is a lot to be said for a good pro setup. The factories overseas do what they are paid to do, and on a low priced bass they just don't spend enough time for folks with high standards.
     
  10. pkr2

    pkr2

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Mike, I believe I would try humidifying the bass and see if the F.B. may have shrunk a bit and left the frets protruding over the edge of the board.

    Most of us are starting to use air conditioning and they can suck the moisture out of the air in a hurry.

    If the problem had been there all along you probably would have noticed it before now.

    Just a thought. Good luck with your problem.

    Pkr2
     
  11. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Perhaps it is humidity causing shrinkage. It also may simply the natural shrinkage of the wood. One of the difference between a mass-produced bass and top-end stuff is the wood drying and aging process.


    But to answer your question, I suggest a trip to the shop for a good dressing. It will solve your problems. Unless you are unhappy with the size of the frets in it, there is no reason for a refret.

    chas
     
  12. Yeah guys, I think I'll just have to find someone to look at it. I wish someone else could play it to see what they think. Eh, not the biggest problem in the world. I just thought of something; I could go back to Sam Ash where I bought it and try another one. If that one has the same feel, it must have been that production run.

    Thanks again, everyone.

    Mike J.