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  • Notched Fretboard Leveler

    Got my straight straight edge the other day and speced out all my guitar necks

    and leveled up their fretboards.http://www.ebay.com/itm/G-M-I-notche...-/260826764963



    I had several fretboards that way too much relief. I had been leveling them

    by the frets and they were having intonation issues. After leveling the fretboard

    I was able to then properly level the frets to match. It made a big difference

    in tone and playability with several of them.



    I had made one from an alluminum ruler years ago for gibson scale and my Les Paul

    was fine as its always been. Some of the strat necks were awful.



    I been spending time getting rid of high spots on frets after the fretboard leveling and still need to recrown several.



    I have many crowning files but I brroke down and bought one of these today.

    http://www.firstqualitymusic.com/c_7/p_GU-FQR.aspx



    They let you work frets in from the sides crowning and you dont have to worry about marring the fretboard. You work into the center leaving the center level. I'm used to using a traditional file but I use super jumbo frets and some of them really need the sides taken down some.



    I still want to get some diamond files. They can make short work in comparison to a steel file but one tool at a time. The half round are good for rounding the ends too.

    I may try the triangle at some point too. Its a more traditional method that is more time consuming.

  • #2
    I just made one of those a few weeks ago! THe stewmac one is like 70 bucks so i made one out of a nice aluminum ruler for 7 bucks instead. Those curved files are pretty sweet, I have the stewmac full circle one (couldn't make it myself lol) and its great.



    I also use these and they are really helpful. http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/200...ng-Sticks.aspx



    Heres some fretwork I did recently, It came in a horrific mess and just had enough meat left for a solid leveling. Ignore the crappy ends, there wasnt much to work with, someone went too happy with the file before I got my hands on it. You dont even wanna see the before pic!

    <div class="signaturecontainer">Stuff I make: <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Wood-Wizard/160057744093963" target="_blank">The Wood Wizard</a><br />
    <img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/thumb.gif" border="0" alt="" title="thumbs up" class="inlineimg" /><br />
    <br />
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    <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>DunwichAmps</strong>
    <a href="showthread.php?p=45287163#post45287163" rel="nofollow"><img class="inlineimg" src="images/buttons/viewpost-right.png" alt="View Post" /></a>
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    <div class="message">only ****************in sounds good at bedroom level</div>

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    <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>assface jackson</strong>
    <a href="showthread.php?p=46121256#post46121256" rel="nofollow"><img class="inlineimg" src="images/buttons/viewpost-right.png" alt="View Post" /></a>
    </div>
    <div class="message">**************** in his mailbox, finger his wife/daughter/grandma/butler. Show no mercy. VALHALLLA!!!!</div>

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    Comment


    • #3
      Nice job. I can get frets to look that good, but its really hard work without the right tools for the right job. I'm really hard on frets with all the string bending

      I do, so maintaining them with the lest amount of fret material removal is the key.



      I too used a notched ruler and its worked fairly good. I like this leveler allot better though. It was only $12 so it was a good deal.

      Its thick and stiff unlike an alluminum ruller that can flex. The bottoms flat as well so it seems to a better job for me.

      Comment


      • #4
        That's a killer price. I may have to grab one of those. Thanks for the heads up.
        Listen...

        Comment


        • #5
          I got one off ebay for $17 the other day. It's sweet.

          Comment


          • #6






            Quote Originally Posted by The Wood Wizard
            View Post

            I just made one of those a few weeks ago! THe stewmac one is like 70 bucks so i made one out of a nice aluminum ruler for 7 bucks instead. Those curved files are pretty sweet, I have the stewmac full circle one (couldn't make it myself lol) and its great.




            I was one of those fools to buy them . Overpriced as hell, wish I had known about the GMI ones.
            <div class="signaturecontainer">Guitars: Godin Session CB, Larrivee D-05, Ibanez RG, Hagstrom Swede<br />
            Amps/Cabs: Fargen Miniplex MKII, Egnater Tweaker, Fender Mustang III, Mills Afterburner 4x12<br />
            <br />
            Good deals: Dimebag11, guitarslinger, ThePunisherTF, Wayne87mott, Kev324, zack, alaskaehlers, c2ply, ak37, droptrd, dboy5150, dropthisd, rbasaria, Shooto, Jon Hiller, DoubleBarrel, BabyDaddy, Edge11, bdhn, the gunslinger<br />
            <br />
            &quot;Hi, I'm Yesterday...and today I am looking for Tomorrow&quot;- Maina</div>

            Comment


            • #7
              They didnt have places that sold them that cheap until recently,

              or at least I was never able to find them so dont feel bad. One fret job pays the cost

              you would have paid for having it done.

              Comment


              • #8
                I've noticed pretty much everything Stu-Mac sells can be found on ebay for dirt cheap from other sellers now.



                While we're going on about notched levelers, how about fret leveling beams themselves? I paid $15 for a 24" bit of 1x2" 11 ga. box steel with one of the 1" sides ground flat. What's that worth from Stu? $70 or so?

                Comment


                • #9
                  There are more and more items poping up more and more now.

                  When you compare that to when I first started doing repairs i had to buy everything through

                  a music shop and many wouldnt sell them to you. They wanted the service business.



                  Stu Macs beams are a ripoff

                  $36 for 8"

                  $46 for 16" and

                  $73 for 24"



                  I can use the same notched straight edge for fret leveling so I dont need a beam.

                  I may want to get some new radiused blocks. One of mine is pretty beat up.

                  The metal ones are nice but I'm not spending $132 for one.

                  The $15 wood blocks are good enough for radiusing. I only use the 9"and 12" radiuses.

                  I dont see enough 7.5" to bother getting one. Anything flatter than 12" I can wing it

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The more I look around eBay in recent months the more Stewart Mac inspired items are popping up for a 5th the price. I've purchased a fret bender for 40 dollars less than S/M, a notched ruler (like the one linked in the OP) for $15, radius gauges for under $10, spring loaded and grounded nippers for under $20, fret end bevel tool for under $20, set of radiused sanding blocks for at least half price, etc. I also saved huge on my nut files and fret files by buying on eBay.



                    Moral of the story: **************** Stew-Mac.



                    Unfortunately for me I can't buy the skill to use this stuff well
                    .....

                    Guitars: Music Man JP6; Jackson USA Select SLS; Hand Made Customs / Amp/Effects: Fractal Audio Axe-FX Ultra
                    Bass: Schecter Stiletto Studio-4 / Amp/Effects: Roland CB-30
                    Drums: Roland TD-20 / / Amp/Effect: lolwut?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      How necessary is a fret bender? I've got a wicked Squier here I wanna refret as the only thing I don't like about it are the silly little vintage frets it has. I'm sure I've seen people just roughly bend them and then let them take up the proper radius as they're banging them home.

                      Comment


                      • #12






                        Quote Originally Posted by Canadian Jeff
                        View Post

                        How necessary is a fret bender? I've got a wicked Squier here I wanna refret as the only thing I don't like about it are the silly little vintage frets it has. I'm sure I've seen people just roughly bend them and then let them take up the proper radius as they're banging them home.




                        Having the frets bent to a radius near (or just under) the radius of the board is pretty important. The thicker the fret wire, the more important it is. Fret ends will likely spring up if they aren't radiused properly.



                        That said, just order your wire from Lmii. It comes pre radiused and is usually close enough for a good fret job. Actually it come's over radius'd, about 7 or 8", for most boards. Using wire that's slightly over radiused can help keep the fret ends down.
                        Listen...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I've got some on the way from Stu-Mac. I know, we just started hating on them, but I was picking up one of their fret crowning files. The good crowning files on ebay are almost as expensive and don't look quite as nicely made.



                          Anyway, I'm sure I'll stumble onto some good home-brew way of radiusing frets before I actually need to do it.

                          Comment


                          • #14






                            Quote Originally Posted by Canadian Jeff
                            View Post

                            I've got some on the way from Stu-Mac. I know, we just started hating on them, but I was picking up one of their fret crowning files. The good crowning files on ebay are almost as expensive and don't look quite as nicely made.



                            Anyway, I'm sure I'll stumble onto some good home-brew way of radiusing frets before I actually need to do it.




                            There are some things stewmac is great at and even though their prices are sometimes way too high for tools, the quality is usually really good.
                            Listen...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If you've ever radiused fretwire trying to bend it by hand to match the radius of the fretboard,

                              you'll quickly learn to value a bender.



                              I go with a slightly higher arch in the center of the fret so when its pressed down the ends wont pop up.

                              Ends poping up is a nightmare if the frets too flat.



                              I manually bend a 3" piece of fretwire standing on its tang around a 6" piece of PCV pipe then straighten it slightly so its

                              a little more archec than the fretboard, then cut pieces a bit wider then the fretboard. I may use some fret bender

                              plyers I made to tweak them to fit the fretboard. Fret bender plyers are trickey though cause you can wind up

                              getting a sharp bend in the fret which can cause a high spot on the fretboard. Hammering or pressing frets in wont

                              flaten a kink in a fret. Thats why its so important to get a nice smooth arch to the fret. You wont have to remove

                              so much material after seating them to remove high spots.



                              Stu Macs prices have always been for someone in the repair business who earns that money back. They supply

                              good quality tools and supplies. They probibly have manufactures make the stuff for them to sell exclusively.

                              Since the internet has made purchasing so easy for DIYers, theres going to be people cashing in on items that

                              can be sold directly to them instead of vendor who adds his markup of 100% or more over cost.



                              That exclusivity Stu Mac has enjoyed is quickly being erroded by copycats and direct sellers on EBay who make

                              their profit through smaller margins and volume and if they dont keep competitive prices or have occasional sales,

                              they may be in trouble in a Nitche market.

                              Comment

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