General tech questions

Fret leveling and crowning

1

I want to level and crown the frets on one of my guitars. This might be a question just for Curt...what do any of you recommend, a super straight sanding beam or a radius sanding block specific to the neck in question. I've heard and read pros and cons for both, but I want to know what the Gretsch folks (Curt?) recommend. Thanks again fellars!!! Steve

2

I've done both and found that I had better results using a narrow straight block and worked my way across the board on each pass.....not sure if that makes sense. If you color the tops of each fret with a marker it's easier to not over-do it. I'm no pro though...

3

I use a sanding beam. You have much more control that way, imo. And yes, I also use a marker on the tops of the frets to see how far I need to go. I only use the radius blocks to create an exact radius on a fretboard.

4

I put a slight convex bend in the fretboard, mark the frets then use a radius block. For new frets I like the radius beam but for dressings or the last couple swipes I like the 8" blocks.

The next step is to crown, after I tape off the board I use a 150 then 300 crowning file doing both sides of the neck so a total of four passes. EDIT: Passes doesn't mean one swipe its until you feel even pressure.

Next I use slightly moist wetsand paper, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000, 3000 and 5000. Then it goes to the polishing wheel to finish up.

5

So that's easy, right?

This is why I don't do fretwork!

6

It’s not difficult but there is a feel and rhythm to it.

7

I put a slight convex bend in the fretboard, mark the frets then use a radius block. For new frets I like the radius beam but for dressings or the last couple swipes I like the 8" blocks.

The next step is to crown, after I tape off the board I use a 150 then 300 crowning file doing both sides of the neck so a total of four passes. EDIT: Passes doesn't mean one swipe its until you feel even pressure.

Next I use slightly moist wetsand paper, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000, 3000 and 5000. Then it goes to the polishing wheel to finish up.

– Curt Wilson

Why the convex bend in the fretboard? I used a notched straight edge to make sure the fretboard itself was straight prior to levelling.

8

So Curt are you saying that you prefer a "radius" sanding beam over a super straight "flat" sanding beam? My neck is 12 inch radius. I have researched this topic and some folks say with a "radius" beam the frets will be taller on the edges than in the middle. Some folks don't seem to be too concerned with maintaining the radius contour of the fretboard in relation to the frets. Some say you "can't" level frets with a "radius" beam. So many opinions! So many stories! I sure don't want to mess up any of my guitars! I really do value your expertise opinion on all things guitars!!! THANKS!!

9

Use no pressure of your own.

Just let the weight of the board/block do the work.

10

Use no pressure of your own.

Just let the weight of the board/block do the work.

– crowbone

Best advice, right there.

Always remember that it's a lot easier to take a little more metal off of a fret than it is to put any metal back on a fret.


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