fret dress in west wales

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fret dress in west wales

Post by west1wales on Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:45 pm

Hi, this is my first post. So far just been happily reading all the great experiences you guys are having with your westones. However i have a slight request that i'm hoping someone can help me with, i've got a black '85 spectrum st( good nick but a player) and its in need of a fret dress, does anyone know of somewhere in west wales that does this and is reliable/experienced? thanks

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Re: fret dress in west wales

Post by umpdv5000 on Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:25 pm

Hi, I do this sort of work for a living but I am based in Merseyside, which isn't much good for you in this case and I have no idea of anyone in your area. However, if you are brave enough to consider tackling the job yourself, I would like to recommend one of these...

http://www.fretrefinishing.com/

This is a very simple gadget to use and does exactly what is claims. I would recommend one of these to anyone who is prepared to try a bit of self help. If you use a little common sense along with the instructions for use, you can get a close on professional finish and once you have one, you can do as many guitars as you like.

I actually use one of these as part of most fret dressing jobs, but I don't use it as the instructions suggest (this is not to say that you shouldn't follow the instructions). When I do a fret levelling and dressing job, I start by taking the strings off the guitar. I then adjust the truss rod so as to get the neck in as straight a position as possible and use a long flat diamond stone to skim the tops off every fret on the board (very slightly I might add). I then use the tool that I am recommending as it suggests in the instructions but without the strings on the guitar, using 320 grit on the flat side to lightly remove any scratches made by the diamond stone. Then drop down to 400 grit and followed by the same 400 grit but with the other side of the tool. This other side has a couple of ridges in it which when dragged up and down the fretboard using the 400 grit starts to round the flat edge off the frets that you have put on through the levelling process. I then drop down to 600 grit still using the ridge side of the tool and then use 800 grit using just my fingers running on the tops and side edges of each fret edge to edge across the board (lengthways of each individual fret). Repeat using the finger method with 1000 grit, 1200 grit, 1500 grit and finally 2000 grit. When you get down to these very fine grits you will find that any marks that you may have made on the fretboard will disappear (done properly that is), I then polish the frets with Brasso metal polish. I finish the fretboard using bees wax furniture cream and after a polish with a soft cloth I spray a touch of Supasil back and front of the the neck (this is a silicone based lubricating polish) to give a silky smooth fast playing surface.

When using the tool I have described on its ridged side you need to use cloth backed finishing paper (emery cloth) and on the finer grits with fingers, standard wet and dry paper is used. The tool will re-profile most fret levelling jobs with the exception of any frets where you have put a very broad flat across the top. In those cases you would need to use a crowning file to round the edges, but these are a pro tool and not worth buying unless you do this type of work regularly.

Although I have described how I finish frets, you do not have to go to the lengths that I do, this tool does a damn good basic job if you use it as it states in its instructions and is a worthy buy for any DIY guitar fixer.

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Re: fret dress in west wales

Post by Guest on Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:48 pm

Ok that link is just cool. I may look into that as my 84 strat that I bought new could really use that.
Thanks for that post folks.

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re: refret wales

Post by west1wales on Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:19 am

Thanks for the reply, i'll look into that although think it probably will need re profiling as they're pretty flat on top. how can i tell if the guitar tech knows what he's doing?

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Re: fret dress in west wales

Post by umpdv5000 on Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:27 am

west1wales wrote:Thanks for the reply, i'll look into that although think it probably will need re profiling as they're pretty flat on top. how can i tell if the guitar tech knows what he's doing?

If your frets are pretty flat on top, then that would suggest to me that someone may have been filing them in the past. Frets don't really wear into flat tops, usually you get a hollow at the point under the string where it has been used most. If someone has filed your frets already then you may need a re-fret, but if they do not look like they have been filed before, then one of those Thomas & Ginex fret tools will remove the dips in the frets and re-profile the edges. You would only do this dressing process twice on a guitar. The first time being when new frets have been put in, as they have to be levelled and dressed. The second time is if you have excessive fret wear, ie; dips in the frets. Once you have done the level and dress trick to remove the dips in frets, you will be on the last life span of your frets. If the frets wear into dips again you would re-fret the neck.

Unless you are clued up about the jobs that you need doing on your guitar, there is no easy way to know whether your guitar tech is competent. The best thing to do is find someone who he/she has done work for and ask them if they believe him/her to be competent.

Best of luck,

Martin.

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Re: fret dress in west wales

Post by corsair on Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:52 am

Once again, Martin - thank you for this info!! I've done nearly everything else to a guitar that you can do but I've never done the frets; I find that just a little bit scary!!

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FWIW, an after market esoteric nut is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist, and a great way to convert your money into someone else’s.

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Re: fret dress in west wales

Post by umpdv5000 on Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:22 pm

I can understand anyone being scared of doing frets, but if you can pluck up the courage to have a go with one of these Thomas & Ginex gadgets, then you will be thanking yourself for taking the plunge when you realise that its not such a scary thing when you get your teeth into it. All you need to do is understand the theory and put it into practice.

1. The neck of the guitar should be as straight as possible. Look down the edge of the neck like looking down a riffle barrel and adjust the truss rod either way to straighten it as much as you can. This would only apply if you have the strings removed from the neck first. If you use one of these Thomas & Ginex gadgets then you leave the strings on and the truss rod setting stays where it is (this is assuming that your truss rod is properly adjusted in the first place).

2. Levelling the frets can be done with a long flat file or stone. The idea is to run your file/stone up and down the fretboard evenly, remembering to adhere to the camber of the neck. It is useful to have a long steel rule to check that it is nice and level after filing/stoning. It is also useful to make yourself (or find something) a fret rocker. I wont go into what one of these things are right now, it is best to go onto Stewart McDonalds site and check one out there (simple device).

3. Re-profiling the corners off the frets that you have just levelled can be done either with the Thomas & Ginex tool or a crowning file (if your wealthy enough to own one).

4. Use the grades of fine wet and dry production paper that I have mentioned earlier (don't miss grades out in between). If you have any scratches in the fretboard, these will take those out as well.

5. Polish the frets with a metal polish and wax or oil up the fretboard and you will find you have achieved a finished fret job that is second to none.

6. The FINAL rule that must be adhered to.... Don't F**K UP!

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Re: fret dress in west wales

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