FDP Home Page / FDP Forum / FAQ's

The FDP is made possible by the following companies and individual members like you.
Please use the links below to show them we value their sponsorship.

MOD KITS DIY

Amazon

Antique Electronics Supply

Musician's Friend

Apex Tube Matching

Yellowjackets Tube Converters

WD Music

Guitar Center

Amplified Parts

Jensen Loudspeakers

Sweetwater


* God bless America and our men and women in uniform *

* Illegitimi non carborundum! *

If you benefit and learn from the FDP and enjoy our site, please help support us and become a Contributing Member or make a Donation today! The FDP counts on YOU to help keep the site going with an annual contribution. It's quick and easy with PayPal. Please do it TODAY!

Chris Greene, Host & Founder

LOST YOUR PASSWORD?

......................................................................

   
FDP Jam
Calendar
Find musicians
in your area!
  Search the Forums  

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Bought some files

Previous 20 Messages  
Hammond101
Contributing Member
**********

So. Cal. USA

Aug 18th, 2017 12:33 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

If you go slow and think about what is happening it will all work out. Ask more questions if needed because the only stupid question is the one that's not asked.

FunkyKikuchiyo

VT

Aug 19th, 2017 09:21 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Ditto on what Hammond says.

Generally, if someone has a really good, firm grasp on setups, then leveling/crowning is a very easy extension of that. Setups require a lot more demystifying, and wrapping your head around neck geometry is pretty easy once you've done that.

As far as a tool for leveling, any block that is either reasonably flat, or that you can flatten yourself easily is fine. It doesn't need to be NASA level, but reasonably precise. My constant favorite is a 3/4" quarter sawn maple block. I periodically flatten it with sticky sand paper and a flat stone. A thick piece of glass with sand paper on it works quite nicely to flatten a block, too. The flatter the better, but don't overthink it... technique is more important than tool tolerance after a certain point.

If you have old plane soles around, you can use them with sticky sandpaper with the iron drawn in.

You can also get reasonably cheap aluminum bar sanders. I use them during refrets, but don't much care for how they feel for fret leveling, but that's just me.

External link

Mick Reid

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Aug 19th, 2017 11:01 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hey frogman.
No real advice for you. Mostly just words of encouragement.
I did my first full level & crown earlier this year and with the advice and guidance of the good folk here, I achieved a very good result.
The neck went on my latest build and plays great.

FWIW, I have radiused hardwood sanding blocks (7.25",9",10",12") but I also bought a 8" Stainless Steel flat sanding beam from Stew Mac since acquiring a neck with a compound radius.

I've not yet tackled the a compound yet, but feel confident I can do it (again because what I've learnt here).

I've also upgraded my crowning file set since the first job too.

So, listen to the dudes above and you'll be fine!

Cheers,
Mick

Therealfrogman
Contributing Member
*****

Pueblo, Co

Relics produce tone, man.....
Aug 20th, 2017 12:52 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

This could get pretty wordy...I am going to spare you.

Turned out very good and I learned allot! How to hold a file (flat type) for leveling, the crowning files were pretty easy to figure out and I have a nice jewelers magnifier with LED lights so I could see the crowning real well.

I really enjoyed this, all 4 hours of it. I bought some fret erasers a while back so cleaning them up was simple. They are not mirror but they are nice. Very happy with learning this.

FunkyKikuchiyo

VT

Aug 20th, 2017 02:39 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Excellent! You'll be amazed how much better pretty much any guitar will be by doing this. Most of the time the great results of a fret dress are 20% from being leveled and 80% from the recrown and polish... flat frets are no fun, and are frequently a feature on brand new guitars.

Mick Reid

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Aug 20th, 2017 03:57 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Glad I could help - LOL!!!

;^p

Glad to hear you got a good result. It's very rewarding itn't it???

Therealfrogman
Contributing Member
*****

Pueblo, Co

Relics produce tone, man.....
Aug 20th, 2017 04:23 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yes, it is. My shoulder hurts from patting myself on the back. Literally a giddy feeling of studliness. I never shared the crazy experience I had with the one and only luthier in town and because it made me so crazy pissed off I will again spare you guys.

It is also a pleasure to have the basic tools.

Mick, why did you upgrade your crowning files so quickly?



Mick Reid

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Aug 20th, 2017 05:30 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Mick, why did you upgrade your crowning files so quickly?"

Because I cheaped-out with the first ones.

The original "tool" I got were not "traditional" files but a holder/handle that accepts replaceable file inserts. (see link)

I found it cumbersome and the "bits" weren't very smooth cutting (maybe crap steel?) and I really had to work hard to remove material.

The tool was 'Made in the USA' but that doesn't mean as much as it use to. No offence.
To be fair, it could also have been my lack of experience to that point.

Put it in the live & learn department...

External link

FunkyKikuchiyo

VT

Aug 20th, 2017 09:00 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Ugh. I keep hearing so, so many stories about crummy "luthiers", that is why I love coming here and helping out the DIY crowd. I get so much bad second hand work through my shop, it is truly embarrassing to the profession.

Maybe I should just start a youtube instructional channel and hang up my other professional services. Power to the players, and all that jazz. ;)

Therealfrogman
Contributing Member
*****

Pueblo, Co

Relics produce tone, man.....
Aug 29th, 2017 03:12 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Instead of starting another thread I was hoping someone could explain the dead high e or b string.

Seems that I have had several guitars that just had dead high strings and I think it is the nut slot causing this. A bad slot angle? I am working on a parts tele rosewood neck that I did some fret work on, frets are great but I think I am butchering the nut when I lower the strings to a comfortable level.

I do not have a proper file set so I am sure that has everything to do with it, I want to buy a couple for the .010 and 0.13 strings and I have a couple of bone pre-slotted nuts coming. This part of building seems to be the hardest.

Mick Reid

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Aug 29th, 2017 03:36 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

You may a need to start a new thread to get your answer but, describe "dead".

More info on what's happening & where.

Therealfrogman
Contributing Member
*****

Pueblo, Co

Relics produce tone, man.....
Aug 29th, 2017 03:48 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

By dead I mean when I hit the string it just fuzzes out, the vibration just is not there and somewhat muted. I know it is not pickup height and the string has plenty of distance from the first fret.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Aug 29th, 2017 05:15 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yes, a poorly cut nut can kill sustain (on open strings). Slot too deep (buzzing on first fret), nut material too soft, slot too wide, slot parallel to, or angled down towards, the fingerboard, bottom of slot not smooth. Also look for insufficient break angle over the nut.

Saddles can also cause sustain problems, though that's less common.

(This message was last edited by Te 52 at 03:06 PM, Aug 30th, 2017)

twangdoodles

michigan usa

Aug 30th, 2017 04:50 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Does that happen when fretting the string(s) too, or only when playing open?

Therealfrogman
Contributing Member
*****

Pueblo, Co

Relics produce tone, man.....
Aug 30th, 2017 08:21 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

When playing open.

wrnchbndr
Contributing Member
**********
*

New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
Aug 31st, 2017 12:48 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

If there is a problem with an open string and the fretted notes sound fine the problem is with the nut. Sometimes a little bit of fluff or a wooleybooger from a cleaning cloth can find its way into the slot. Nut slots are the single most frequent problem I see on guitars that have not been to a good tech. Unless they are already too deep, its also the biggest bang for the buck when it comes to getting a guitar to play better.
If you're really getting into this I highly recommend the book written by Dan Erlewine "How To Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great".

Therealfrogman
Contributing Member
*****

Pueblo, Co

Relics produce tone, and then some...
Oct 4th, 2017 10:38 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

wrnchbndr, I actually bought that book a few years ago and found it among my guitar player mags... Very good book and incredible resource.

I must admit that my first attempt at spot leveling was a bomb, I have since bought a radius block and have done complete level. There is one fret that is just lower than the rest so it took a little while to get level. I made sure the neck was straight before I started.

I have the frets crowned and after rechecking everything I still have 3 frets that are a little high.... Decided to continue going slow and checking and rechecking etc..

I will approach it again later today after I check, recheck, check recheck, think, recheck, etc....:-) I can take those frets down with a flat file very slowly... a snails pace for this beginner.

The crowning files I bought are not that good and leave chatter marks regardless of how I use them, Hosco files. Live and learn. Should I be just going one way with them or back and forth?? I have polished them out at this point and they look pretty good.

Cal-Woody

USA/California

Why do I keep fixing things that work?
Oct 4th, 2017 11:50 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

With the standard crowning files, milled, only use them in the cutting direction, otherwise, you'll dull the cutting edge and round them over. After maybe 2 passes, clean out the file teeth, then approach your work again. This maintains a better cut and keeps the metal build up from marring the fret tops.
When used lightly, a very thin oil should be used to help with the file to glide over the fret tops, but it also traps the shavings into the file teeth and requires frequent cleaning but you'll get optimal results. I use a very light sewing machine oil that my Mom had, but Stew-Mac sells a good cutting oil that is for this purpose. The diamond grit file can go in both directions when used, but those require, as does the regular files and work area, to be wiped off often, to reduce the possibility of debris from causing any uneven pressure to the fret surface and good clean, even strokes.
I'll use my regular files on the nickel silver frets to remove larger surfaces that require it then follow up with my diamond files for shaping and smoothing.
Best regards, Woody

wrnchbndr
Contributing Member
**********
*

New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
Oct 4th, 2017 12:05 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Conventional steel files need to be used in one direction only. Its only diamond files that can be used in both directions.

When using a conventional crowning file, I have the file in my right hand and a small wire brush in my left hand. Every four or five passes, I'll used the wire brush to clear the chips of metal from the file -- Think about how a barber holds both scissors and a comb at the same time. There should never be any loading of the file teeth with fret material that isn't easy to clear with a few swipes of the wire brush. The teeth of the file should be totally clean. A good quality crowning file shouldn't load up with material stuck in the teeth. My conventional crowning file from StewMac is now about five years old and the teeth are as good as new. I use it almost daily and have used it on stainless frets about a dozen times.

I paint my leveled frets with a colored sharpie and use the conventional crowning file to achieve a consistent center line down the length of the fret of slightly less than 1/3rd the total with of the fret. My passes are light with a very light downward force. I want control of the cutting to get my center line to an equal width for the entire length of the fret. I also don't want to risk changing the height of the fret if for some reason a fret isn't fully seated-- which also brings up the subject of spongy frets. You should always be on the look out for spongy frets which need to be secured in advance of leveling. I've only found them on a couple of Fenders and never on a maple fretboard but it could happen.

I follow the conventional crowning file with a few passes of my diamond crowning file which easily removes any chatter marks. With the diamond crowning file, I want to at least leave a remnant of the sharpie along the full length of the fret but I'm making only three or four light passes and doing my best to make the passes match the radius of the fret. On occasion, there might be a small absence of the sharpie mark but my passes are so light that I'm confident that I haven't changed the height of the fret.

For conventional nickle alloy frets, I follow the diamond crowning with 600 grit sandpaper with goal of eliminating all remaining sharpie color and the witness line of what used to be the remaining flat center section of the fret. I'll use the stewmac fretboard guards on maple and some rosewood. fretboards. At this point, using steel wool or something like it for polishing, the end result will be better polishing than routinely seen from most manufacturers of guitars under $1000. I may or may not follow with 1000 grit sandpaper. Going from 600 grit sandpaper to my high speed polishing wheel yields a wonderful mirror finish. I'm using a Zip Router at 2000 rpm with an extension wand and a 1" X 1/8" felt wheel and a white polishing compound stick. I DON"T RECOMMEND THIS for people to try because you can cause some serious damage to a fretboard and the neck if you're not really careful and have a lot of experience and confidence. You need to employ absolute control and consider a process that doesn't make the fret overheat. Its easy to loose control and totally wipe out any binding or have the polishing wheel get unexpected traction and walk itself to an undesirable place. You can cause the fret to quickly get so hot that it chars the slot destroying the slots ability to hold the fret.

Therealfrogman
Contributing Member
*****

Pueblo, Co

Relics produce tone, and then some...
Oct 4th, 2017 12:27 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I read both of these posts, thank you!! I have used the sharpie as stated but... unless I missed it after reading, which way is the cutting way?

Away from me or to me? The files do not look like there is any difference in the groove direction.

***This dummy figured it out and it really works well ;-)

(This message was last edited by Therealfrogman at 05:46 PM, Oct 4th, 2017)

Previous 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Bought some files




Reply to this Topic
Display my email address             Lost your password?
Your Message:
Link Address (URL):
Link Title:




Moderators: Chris Greene  Iron Man  reverendrob  

FDP, LLC Privacy Policy: Your real name, username, and email
are held in confidence and not disclosed to any third parties, sold, or
used for anything other than FDP Forum registration unless you specifically authorize disclosure.

Furtkamp.com 
Internet Application Development

Copyright © 1999-2017 Fender Discussion Page, LLC   All Rights Reserved