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Fret Leveling Question


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  • Fret Leveling Question

    If a fret or two pops up due to humidity changes, is it necessary to do a fret level on the whole guitar? This is what my guitar repair guy told me when I brought my Strat in. I asked him why he doesn't just pop the frets back in and he said they never go back in level. This Strat had a fret crown and polish done by the same guy about 8 months ago btw.

  • #2

    In cases like that, I first make sure the neck isn't back bowed. Normal relief pinches the fret to keep it in place, if the neck is flat or backbowed there might not be enough pinch by the fretboard to keep the frets seated. If the relief id OK, then its just a matter of the fret slot wasn't as narrow as it should have been or the wood is drying out and shrinking. In those cases I simply use a drop of crazy glue and clamp the fret down.

    the trick is to wick it under the fret so the crazy glue isn't seen, the only use a small amount and quickly clamp it. I suggest waxing the fretboard with a heavy coat of wax so the glue doesn't stick where its visible. Using candle wax will work. Just heat the wax to soften it a bit, then rub the wax on the fretboard right up to the edge of the fret. You can use some electrical tape from there. I don't suggest masking tape, because crazy glue will cause that tape to saturate and stick to the fretboard.

    I use Crazy glue on most of my fret jobs. I like how it gives the frets a solid resonance on a refret and it can fill in gaps replacing frets that could cause bad sustain and lost tone. You just have to be real careful using it, especially the thinner liquids that can run under a fret from one end of an unbound neck and out the other side and damage the necks lacquer. Use a plastic applicator tube where you have control of the flow and stay away from the metal tube applicators that can gush a load squeezing them.  


    • The Rover
      The Rover commented
      Editing a comment

      The frets that popped out were past the 12th position so it definitely is not a neck relief issue. The tech told me this time he would test for loose frets and glue them in as needed.


      I just can't believe Im getting a second fret job done in less than a year. He said when you have action as low as mine, which is just nice, comfortably low action IMO, that you can feel every little variation in the frets position that occurs due to weather, or whatever. I think that's bull**************** and I called him on it. He was basically saying that its normal for guitars' frets to pop in and out throughout the year, but most poeple dont notice it because they don't have action as low as mine. I simply pointed out that I have several other guitars at home with low, comfy action that don't cause me to feel the frets moving in and out due to humidity or whatever the ****. He's talking out of his ass.

      Now I don't have measurements, but my action is not that low. It's just comfortable. Plenty of pros and amateurs have comfortable action whithout having all these problems. Im not talking about just buzzes either. I accept a certain amount of buzzing for having low action.

      He always makes me feel like a criminal for having low action. Evertime I bring an axe in for something hell say something like, "Wow this action is really low .. ", in a tone like theres something wrong with me for setting up my guitars that way. It's like he's biased or something because he has big, fat sausage fingers and has to have really high action or something. I ought to find another tech, its just that he's close, he does reasonable good work, and his prices are a little lower than everyone else.