StewMac tools

Lining up fret ends

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Lining up fret ends

Postby Craig Bumgarner » Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:10 pm

Okay, I got one for you. If you don't run your fret end right to the edge of the fingerboard, how to you get them to line up nicely so that when you sight the edge, they are all lined up. The one time I used this approach, the ends did not line up well. If I run them to the edge, the flat file takes care of this.
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Re: Lining up fret ends

Postby David King » Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:15 pm

This would seemingly be an effort to make fretting much harder and more time consuming than it needs to be without a functional or aesthetic purpose. Am i missing something?
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Re: Lining up fret ends

Postby Craig Bumgarner » Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:41 pm

Moving the ends inboard and filing them hemispherical before setting makes for a nice hand feel on the neck, no sharp edges at all. Some builders of the Selmer style guitars, vintage and modern, do it that way. I did it that way once, but unless the ends are nicely lined up, it looks sloppy. My job was just okay. And of course, you have to line both ends up, so the fret lengths have to be perfect. I'm not trying to make work for myself and would go there unless some one pointed out to me a simple way of doing it.
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Re: Lining up fret ends

Postby Todd Stock » Fri Oct 07, 2016 7:33 pm

Or just properly shape and dress the fret ends and get max playable fret length.
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Re: Lining up fret ends

Postby Randy Roberts » Fri Oct 07, 2016 7:38 pm

Not simpler than a fret file, but not hard with a couple jigs. Whether it's worth the effort will vary with the builder, and very few players would notice unless it's pointed out to them.

http://www.mimf.com/library/Randy_Rober ... -2012.html

As to why bother, there was a good discussion here a few years back about semihemispherical fret ends that a search of the library (New Library I think) could probably turn up.
Huh, didn't realize I'd asked the question that started the discussion...

http://www.mimf.com/library/Methods_for ... -2011.html
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Re: Lining up fret ends

Postby Steven Smith » Sat Oct 08, 2016 10:46 am

About four or five years ago I did several guitars with the semi-hemispherical fret ends. It took a lot of time to get the fret ends lined up and more than a few frets had to be redone (always start with the long ones :? ). Both of those guitars have been handled and played by probably several dozen players. Pretty much all of them have commented on how easy they were to play but not one ever noticed the fret ends. I decided it just wasn't worth the extra effort and have moved to Todd's position - dress them normally with an aim to maximize the playing area.
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Re: Lining up fret ends

Postby Jason Rodgers » Sat Oct 08, 2016 12:06 pm

I remember Randy's method from the old days, and it's probably the best and most repeatable process I've seen described to get the shape and the length you're looking for in a semi-hemi fret end. Definitely a lot more work that the typical fret end dressing method, but the results are excellent.

On the topic of fret end treatments and playability, though, I think there are some very subtle factors at play, including fret end shape, fret end bevel angle, fretboard edge bevel, and string offset from the fretboard edge. This summer I had the opportunity to visit John Bolin at his shop in Boise and show him one of my guitars. He was very generous of his time, and really went over my guitar with a fine-tooth comb. After looking it over and playing it, he had one critique in terms of construction/fit/finish. He said it was a small, nit-picky detail: fret ends. While they aren't at all sharp, he thought the bevel angle needed to be increased. I made a fret end bevel file/block (block of maple with a mill file glued into a groove), but the angle is pretty shallow, like only 15 degrees. If I'm not mistaken, the StewMac product is like 35 degrees. I made mine shallow, because I wanted to increase the playing surface. When I told Bolin this, he said it wouldn't be a problem with my string offset, but it would improve that hand feel greatly. He said he did this all freehand with a file until it felt right. We're talking about TINY variations in dimensions, but it's all part of the formula that makes a guitar neck feel good.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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Re: Lining up fret ends

Postby Randy Roberts » Sat Oct 08, 2016 3:24 pm

"old days"?


sigh....
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Re: Lining up fret ends

Postby Chuck Tweedy » Tue Oct 11, 2016 7:26 pm

Pah!!
2012 is NOT the "old days"!!

We've all been around her a LOT longer than that!! Ha ha ha!!
Likes to drink Rosewood Juice
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Re: Lining up fret ends

Postby Jason Rodgers » Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:51 am

Aw, for frick sake, guys... Old Forum era... MIMF First Epoch... you know what I mean.

But yes, mucking around here for 16+ years... sheesh.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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