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Author Topic: Bettering a Beater  (Read 8560 times)
Mr_LV19E
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« Reply #80 on: February 19, 2012, 01:11:05 AM »

Ben just for your reference, Larrivee acoustic frets are 2.5mm wide by 1mm tall according to their website Larrivee specs
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« Reply #81 on: February 19, 2012, 03:02:55 AM »

I just saw this Ben. you'll be tested by a refret job. Be very sure to support the neck completely and
you will be less likely to crack the neck.If you start having a lot of trouble I'll P.M. you a trick.
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« Reply #82 on: February 19, 2012, 03:55:40 AM »

  I love the jacket


Danny are you going to tell him about thebeans in a pillow case as a support for the neck or something else.You don't need to hit that hard but yes its wise to use some sort of support until you get the hang of it.I have used 2x4 stacked with styrofoam covered with cloth as a support when I first started.
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BenF
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« Reply #83 on: February 19, 2012, 06:03:23 AM »

Cheers. I figured that supporting the neck was pretty critical! I will devise something for the task. Thanks Roger. That is helpful info.
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Ben
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« Reply #84 on: February 20, 2012, 09:03:48 AM »

Well, in bold fashion, the sound port got a bit bigger, ha ha!  I reckon that forward projection remains unaltered, but the clarity and string seperation from the players perspective is like night and day. 

I really made the hole bigger because I had encountered an incredibly hard piece of laminate and was finding it impossible to tidy up the edge of the port cleanly, it kept chipping and splitting.  I had to carve past that with the drill to get a reasonable finish. Honestly, you could build oil tankers out of the stuff this guitar's sides are made from.  It looks like wood, but it is actually reinforced unobtanium!!  two stone dremel bits are polished to a high shine!

Here are some pics of the finished port anyway.  Very glad I did this.  The fact that it has made me bite the bullet and attempt a refret shows how much it has improved the guitar.




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Ben
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« Reply #85 on: February 20, 2012, 01:21:30 PM »

 +1 well done Ben
 
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« Reply #86 on: February 20, 2012, 01:49:12 PM »

Ben, if you are interested I'll send ya the homemade fret leveler I used for my first couple of refrets along with enough fretwire to refret the guitar. You will be on your own for a crowning file option though!! You can just reimburse me for the postage. I am no longer using the fret leveler and my buddy John Hall gave me a big bundle of Martin fretwire he got for free when he was dropping build forms off to the Martin factory. Also, remember that when you refret, it may be necessary to make a new nut and saddle. I can toss in a bone saddle blank and bone nut blank for a five spot US. My wife says I have to stop giving away so many nut and saddle blanks now that we are getting a new home and  much larger monthly expense obligations!!
The easiest way to remove the frets is to use the tool Rob was describing and to grip the edge of the fret with the modified dykes, and then rest a pencil style soldering gun on the fret and against the metal of the dykes. This will cause the dykes and fret to heat up and expand which causes the fret to lift and the dykes will pop under the edge. Then, it is just a matter of slowly moving the dykes and the soldering iron along the fret wire and it will lift out with very little tear out along the fret slots.

Edit: if you are interested I'll also throw in the Stew-Mac Fret Work Step by Step Shopguide for 20 US dollars. It is in as new condition and is priced at 34.95 from Stew Mac.

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BenF
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« Reply #87 on: February 20, 2012, 02:09:58 PM »

Cool, thanks for the offer Jonathan.  Can I be an idiot and ask what the fret levelling tool does?  Is that to ensure no frets are higher than others?  Is it not possible just to use the leading edge of a steel ruler for that job? 

I'm pretty sure I know what I am doing now with removal and replacement of the old frets, and I have a nice wee set of files that I think will do the crowning job nicely.  I'm also unsure as to why I would need a new nut and saddle? is this just because I might get some buzz from higher frets?  I'm wondering if that will be an issue, as the action is still a fraction high as it stands (because of the under saddle pickup mainly), and the nut slots seem to be plenty high enough to leave space over the first fret.  I assume even with slightly bigger frets, the centre point of each is set by the slots in the fretboard, so intonation should be the same?

It could probably do with a new nut, but I will try without first, and see what it is like.  Probably need to sell some junk to bolster the paypal account before I order the stuff anyway. 

I think I'm going to do the first 12 frets, because they are all pretty grim.  Once the first few got worn down, I started tuning down a step and capoing up!  Given the thin crappy fret wire on it, if I replace the first 6, it will be unplayable beyond that because of the difference.

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Ben
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« Reply #88 on: February 20, 2012, 02:21:33 PM »

Cool, thanks for the offer Jonathan.  Can I be an idiot and ask what the fret levelling tool does?  Is that to ensure no frets are higher than others?  Is it not possible just to use the leading edge of a steel ruler for that job? 

Ben, once you refret, you will want to take a Sharpie marker and color the frets black. Then you take the fret leveler and lightly file along the the fretboard in long smooth motions to remove ALL of the black marker. This gives you the basic global level surface of the new fret job. You will still need to make yourself some fret rockers out of straight edge peices which will allow you to be certian that there are no high frets between any three frets. Well, I'll probably just confuse you if I keep going, but suffuce it to say that a complete refret is a HUGE job and to get it right the first time takes a lot of planning and research. The fretwork guide I offered is very helpful and has hundreds of photograps in the 100 page text. Again, fretwork is a lot of work. It is simple, procedural work, but a lot of work nonetheless. The reason you may need a new nut is that the distance between the first fret and string will change when you refret. Your slots may end up too deep and buzz on the new, and likely higher, frets. Its the same thing for the saddle.
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BenF
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« Reply #89 on: February 20, 2012, 02:29:47 PM »

Cool, I'm with you.  I have read quite a lot thus far, and now understand what your fret levelling tool does!  I figure I'll never learn if I don't try, and the sole reason why I don't play this guitar much is now because the frets are knackered.  It would cost more to get a pro to do it than the guitar is worth, so it's a no brainer.  If it ends up as kindling, then it was fun trying.

I appreciate that I am taking on a big task here, and it will take a lot of patience and time.  It pretty much can't be worse than it is now.

I like a challenge. 

I also reckon i have enough bits and pieces in the garage to make a similar tool to yours.  I inherited a lot of apparently useless junk whey I bought the house, and have excelled in breaking stuff and hoarding the remains thereafter!!

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Ben
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« Reply #90 on: February 20, 2012, 02:47:51 PM »

If you can find a fine grit mill file you can use it as a fret level tool.Mark the frets as Jonathan stated then starting at the soundhole end and without pushing down on the file {let the file do the work}push it towards the nut{you should place your thumb against the nut so when you file you don't knock it out}Go back and forth until all the black is gone.Then you'll need a crowning file which will produce the round-over of the fret.
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« Reply #91 on: February 20, 2012, 03:05:30 PM »

Thank you again Rob.  Look, I'm not being rude or looking a gift horse in the mouth here, but I'm going to decline the generous offers of tools and parts.  You guys have been awesome in giving me parts in the past, but I'm going to have a bash at this myself.  I sincerely appreciate all the advice and help, and all the offers of tools and parts, but generosity and gratitude gives way to generosity and greed at some point!   
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Ben
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« Reply #92 on: February 20, 2012, 03:23:30 PM »

  Cool..One more thing make sure that the neck relief is as flat as possible.All always any help with anything we're here.Have fun and enjoy.
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L07 Shooting Star
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« Reply #93 on: February 20, 2012, 08:31:11 PM »

A couple more tips.
Assuming your Fender's fretboard does NOT have a compound radius, make all your levelling strokes parallel with the centre of the board.  So when you get to filing the edges, there will be less and less of your file's surface on top of the frets as you go from the soundhole to the nut.  Hope that makes sense.  I use the fret marker dots as a guide and always keep my file parallel with them as I file.  On the other hand, for a compound radiused board, your file strokes should be parallel with the lie of the strings.

I made a very serviceable set of fret levellers from some 1" square steel tubing, purchased cheap from Home Depot.  I cut it into lengths of 18", 12", 8", 6", and 3".  I attached self-adhesive sand paper of 300 grit to one face of each tube and 150 grit on the opposite side.  Or you can use carpet tape to attach the sandpaper.  I do most of the filing with the coarser side then do a few final strokes with the finer grit.  I seem to use the 8" and 6" the most.  I have done at least 25 guitars with these files and they have all come out well.  The sandpaper on the most used ones needs to be replaced now but 25 jobs with one application of sandpaper is pretty good.

Kurt
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« Reply #94 on: February 20, 2012, 10:03:52 PM »

Cheers Kurt. Very useful info.

If anyone is interested, here is a wee video I did to show the merits of the sound port. Very little difference, if any, from the front. Noticeable improvement in volume and clarity from the player's perspective.

At least I hope it shows that!!

Volume is a little low. Seems to lose some volume when exporting from iPhone to the pc.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SR4ZKKmtRY8&sns=em
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Ben
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