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Barefoot Rob
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« on: December 19, 2016, 08:57:09 PM »

I'm posting this because I have a few guitars that are in need of fret work.This is how you tell its time from touch up to you waited how long.....

Touch up:when looking at your frets and you notice a flattening of the fret and its not bad but you notice the note dieing.

A little worst: you not flattening of the fret and small dibets.

Badly:when you bend a note and it just die's,buzzing,dibets that are more noticable.

You waited How LONG!!!!:big dibets,buzzing,bending note's and getting nothing.

The longer you wait the more fret needs to be removed.A dressing done right never remove's a lot of fret material.If you maintain your guitar the original frets should last a very long time.Owning a few 50-60 year old guitars that have the original frets and done right you will almost never need a refret.

I don't know if this will help or if anyone will agree with me its just my opinion and can be taken anyway anyone wants,just putting it out there.
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« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2016, 01:14:24 AM »

Thanks Rob. Some day I may do some fretwork on my guitars. Right now none of them are beyond the first. I barely notice flattening now.
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« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2016, 02:05:10 AM »

That was interesting, Rob.  Thanks for posting it.
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2017, 10:24:05 PM »

Great information.  I have a newly acquired used LV-03 which has some noticable divots on both the B and e strings on the lower 4 frets.  The rest of the frets looks unused.  I was thinking maybe the case was pressing on the strings but there seems to be plenty of room so I guess the previous owner had hydraulic hammering fingers.  Anyway, as the wear is so uneven, I'm wondering if a redress would help or maybe just replace them.  I'm planning to take it to my local luthier for some ideas.  I hoping to learn how deep a divot can be before it's time to replace the fret.   I read somewhere Larrivee's use a harder metal on their frets.  I'm not sure if that's true but I also found replacement frets on the Larrivee.com shop for precut, radiused nickle/silver frets.  It also says they are 160 hard.  Hmmm.  So perhaps they're special?   If you were to replace your frets would you get the OEMs from Larrivee or entrust a local luthier to match what's on the guitar?  I don't mind paying more, I just don't want to cross this creek more than once.       
 
Thanks for any advice on this. 
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Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2017, 12:13:38 AM »

Get the frets dress.If you replace a few you will still have to dress them to the height of the non replaced frets.I'm not a fan of refrets anymore as I have found that there always more fret then most think.A proper dressing even with some deep dibits doesn't remove a lot of fret.Also I find that most refrets done these day's aren't done proper as most use stupid glue in there installation and I find stupid glued frets a cheaters way of doing a job.As I tell everyone {since my typing skills suck} you more then welcome to call me,my phone number is on my website which is listed in my signature.
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2017, 01:17:39 AM »

Thank you, that is really good advice.  I should have some time tomorrow to visit my git tech and will ask for the a redress.  I have trusted him with several other gits and he's a straight shooter plus he builds really nice custom guitars on the side so knows his stuff.  Thanks for the invite to call, I'll do that after I talk with him.   Cheers
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« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2017, 01:49:08 PM »

Hey Rob -
I've got a 00-03 that I've had for a year or two now.  It's a daily player and has some wear just on the top two or three frets, high side,  b and e strings.  I'd consider that just normal wear (it looks like that on all my guitars after a couple of years) and I'm probably not good enough to notice the "note dying" thing or whatever.  So, when does this need to be addressed? When you see it going on down to the 5th fret on the hi e, or may be when the g starts showing wear on first or second fret? 

I know I know, bring it in and let me look at it. 
There, said it for you-
 

But any help in evaluation appreciated. 
thanks,
Tom
 
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Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2017, 02:58:14 PM »

If the top of the frets appear to be flat its time.You can see the flattening by comparing the high side of the fret with the low side of the fret.What you don't want to do it let it continue down the neck.
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« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2017, 05:38:25 PM »

I've been playing 20+ years but still know little to nothing about tech issues.  Last year my 2003 D-03BW was having some serious tuning issues (or what I thought were tuning issues).  I posted about it here: http://www.larriveeforum.com/smf/index.php?topic=49185.20 and ended up getting some new frets (about the first five or six, anyway).  My frets were so worn down in certain spots that it seems like it would have been more work to dress them than replace.  I'm just wondering how many times can frets be dressed before you're basically down flat with the fretboard?
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Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2017, 07:47:35 PM »

If the tech knows what there doing you should get 6-8 dressings so about 20 or so years before needing a refret.The liter the touch the more dressings you can get.Replacing a few frets take's away there longevity because they will need to be dress to the height of the other frets.
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« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2017, 04:35:04 PM »

One of my main problems was probably my lack of a light touch.  I tend to play like I'm trying to choke a bear or twist the neck off the guitar.  I started out on crappy guitars with high action and I guess the practice has stuck.  My 13-year frets were absolutely toast. 
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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2017, 04:49:18 PM »

Wouldn't it just be easier, when your first three frets wear out, to buy a capo, put it on at the third fret, and keep playing until the next three wear out?

You could even get a set of super heavy strings and tune down if you still want to play in standard tuning...

 
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Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2017, 05:41:25 PM »

Calab I've been teaching people of all age's how to loss the bear straggle hold.Play the A-G litely pressing the chords just enough to get a clear chord,the notes should just seat enough without pushing them past the fret.Strum litely then repeat strumming a little harder while making sure that your chording hand isn't pressing down any harder,Keep repeating stumming harder each time.



Rev your a silly man sometime's.
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« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2017, 05:56:35 PM »

Mikey,
That's why I drive my truck in first, third and fifth on mon, weds and friday,
and only use second and fourth on tues, thurs and saturday.
So far, no new transmission
 
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« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2017, 05:09:14 PM »

Mikey,
That's why I drive my truck in first, third and fifth on mon, weds and friday,
and only use second and fourth on tues, thurs and saturday.
So far, no new transmission
 

LOL! Love it!   
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« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2017, 09:16:13 AM »

My approach for my clients goes something like this:

If I can't set up the guitar with the action as low as they want by adjusting the string height at the saddle, lowering the nut slots to their practical limit, and adjusting the truss rod so the relief is very slight (say .008" max.) without the guitar buzzing anywhere, only then do I look at the frets.  If there is no buzzing after these initial adjustments and the guitar plays in tune, then the setup is complete as far as I'm concerned.  I may notice frets that are worn or grooved, but if they don't affect the playability at this time, I'm not concerned.  I might advise that the frets will need some attention in the not too distant future.  This time period could be very long or not so long depending on how much the client plays the guitar.  Most of the people I do work for are not professional players and are not likely to wear out their frets for a reasonably long time.  When it does come time for a fret dressing, they will hopefully come to me to do the job. 

On the other hand, if there is buzzing anywhere at all, then I get concerned about the frets.  If I have to take it to this stage, my first step is to check the frets for evenness in height.  If I find high ones, I first check to see if they are loose and lifting on the ends.  If they are, I try tapping or pressing them back down to see if they stay there.  If they don't stay, then I use "stupid glue" to hold them back in the slot where they were intended to be (sorry Rob).  I've seen a lot of guitars where loose and lifting frets have been filed down to almost nothing when all that needed to be done was re-seat them in the first place.  To me this is a sign of a "guitar tech" who is not thorough or competent in his analysis of the guitar.  Once all the frets are seated I check if there is still any buzzing.  If there isn't then I consider the job done.  If the guitar still buzzes, I check for evenness in fret-height once again to see if I can isolate the fret(s) that are causing the buzz.  Sometimes, the problem can be fixed by dressing just one or a few frets.  These are most often the higher frets in the area of where the neck joins the body and higher up.  Mostly though, the fret heights are uneven all along the fret-board and like the OP's guitar, worn the most on the first few frets.  In these situations, the most common, I will recommend a complete fret-dressing to the client.

If a complete fret dressing is required,  I get authorization from the client to proceed.  Properly done, with the neck adjusted flat before proceeding, as Rob says; not that much material needs to be removed most of the time.  If it turns out a lot of frets seem to need a lot of filing, then maybe a partial or full re-fret is in order, but I don't know where that line is or how to best determine it.  Individual fret heights above the fingerboard are easily measured and recommended minimum heights are suggested everywhere.  My impression from all I've read is that a fret who's crown is less than .030" above the fingerboard is too low.   Probably best decided after discussing with the guitar's owner?

All that said, on almost any guitar, a proper fret-dressing, crowning and polishing will make it feel and play so much better, whether it is really needed or not and provided it is done by someone who knows what they are doing.  This applies as much to brand new guitars as to older ones.  Even new guitars from the best manufacturers don't necessarily have the luxury to pay full attention to fine tuning of the frets for each individual guitar.
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« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2017, 12:56:59 PM »

My approach for my clients goes something like this:

If I can't set up the guitar with the action as low as they want by adjusting the string height at the saddle, lowering the nut slots to their practical limit, and adjusting the truss rod so the relief is very slight (say .008" max.) without the guitar buzzing anywhere, only then do I look at the frets.  If there is no buzzing after these initial adjustments and the guitar plays in tune, then the setup is complete as far as I'm concerned.  I may notice frets that are worn or grooved, but if they don't affect the playability at this time, I'm not concerned.  I might advise that the frets will need some attention in the not too distant future.  This time period could be very long or not so long depending on how much the client plays the guitar.  Most of the people I do work for are not professional players and are not likely to wear out their frets for a reasonably long time.  When it does come time for a fret dressing, they will hopefully come to me to do the job. 

On the other hand, if there is buzzing anywhere at all, then I get concerned about the frets.  If I have to take it to this stage, my first step is to check the frets for evenness in height.  If I find high ones, I first check to see if they are loose and lifting on the ends.  If they are, I try tapping or pressing them back down to see if they stay there.  If they don't stay, then I use "stupid glue" to hold them back in the slot where they were intended to be (sorry Rob).  I've seen a lot of guitars where loose and lifting frets have been filed down to almost nothing when all that needed to be done was re-seat them in the first place.  To me this is a sign of a "guitar tech" who is not thorough or competent in his analysis of the guitar.  Once all the frets are seated I check if there is still any buzzing.  If there isn't then I consider the job done.  If the guitar still buzzes, I check for evenness in fret-height once again to see if I can isolate the fret(s) that are causing the buzz.  Sometimes, the problem can be fixed by dressing just one or a few frets.  These are most often the higher frets in the area of where the neck joins the body and higher up.  Mostly though, the fret heights are uneven all along the fret-board and like the OP's guitar, worn the most on the first few frets.  In these situations, the most common, I will recommend a complete fret-dressing to the client.

If a complete fret dressing is required,  I get authorization from the client to proceed.  Properly done, with the neck adjusted flat before proceeding, as Rob says; not that much material needs to be removed most of the time.  If it turns out a lot of frets seem to need a lot of filing, then maybe a partial or full re-fret is in order, but I don't know where that line is or how to best determine it.  Individual fret heights above the fingerboard are easily measured and recommended minimum heights are suggested everywhere.  My impression from all I've read is that a fret who's crown is less than .030" above the fingerboard is too low.   Probably best decided after discussing with the guitar's owner?

All that said, on almost any guitar, a proper fret-dressing, crowning and polishing will make it feel and play so much better, whether it is really needed or not and provided it is done by someone who knows what they are doing.  This applies as much to brand new guitars as to older ones.  Even new guitars from the best manufacturers don't necessarily have the luxury to pay full attention to fine tuning of the frets for each individual guitar.

Very logical approach to this issue, right down my alley. How finely do you polish at the last step?
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« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2017, 10:30:35 PM »

My approach for my clients goes something like this:

If I can't set up the guitar with the action as low as they want by adjusting the string height at the saddle, lowering the nut slots to their practical limit, and adjusting the truss rod so the relief is very slight (say .008" max.) without the guitar buzzing anywhere, only then do I look at the frets.  If there is no buzzing after these initial adjustments and the guitar plays in tune, then the setup is complete as far as I'm concerned.  I may notice frets that are worn or grooved, but if they don't affect the playability at this time, I'm not concerned.  I might advise that the frets will need some attention in the not too distant future.  This time period could be very long or not so long depending on how much the client plays the guitar.  Most of the people I do work for are not professional players and are not likely to wear out their frets for a reasonably long time.  When it does come time for a fret dressing, they will hopefully come to me to do the job. 

On the other hand, if there is buzzing anywhere at all, then I get concerned about the frets.  If I have to take it to this stage, my first step is to check the frets for evenness in height.  If I find high ones, I first check to see if they are loose and lifting on the ends.  If they are, I try tapping or pressing them back down to see if they stay there.  If they don't stay, then I use "stupid glue" to hold them back in the slot where they were intended to be (sorry Rob).  I've seen a lot of guitars where loose and lifting frets have been filed down to almost nothing when all that needed to be done was re-seat them in the first place.  To me this is a sign of a "guitar tech" who is not thorough or competent in his analysis of the guitar.  Once all the frets are seated I check if there is still any buzzing.  If there isn't then I consider the job done.  If the guitar still buzzes, I check for evenness in fret-height once again to see if I can isolate the fret(s) that are causing the buzz.  Sometimes, the problem can be fixed by dressing just one or a few frets.  These are most often the higher frets in the area of where the neck joins the body and higher up.  Mostly though, the fret heights are uneven all along the fret-board and like the OP's guitar, worn the most on the first few frets.  In these situations, the most common, I will recommend a complete fret-dressing to the client.

If a complete fret dressing is required,  I get authorization from the client to proceed.  Properly done, with the neck adjusted flat before proceeding, as Rob says; not that much material needs to be removed most of the time.  If it turns out a lot of frets seem to need a lot of filing, then maybe a partial or full re-fret is in order, but I don't know where that line is or how to best determine it.  Individual fret heights above the fingerboard are easily measured and recommended minimum heights are suggested everywhere.  My impression from all I've read is that a fret who's crown is less than .030" above the fingerboard is too low.   Probably best decided after discussing with the guitar's owner?

All that said, on almost any guitar, a proper fret-dressing, crowning and polishing will make it feel and play so much better, whether it is really needed or not and provided it is done by someone who knows what they are doing.  This applies as much to brand new guitars as to older ones.  Even new guitars from the best manufacturers don't necessarily have the luxury to pay full attention to fine tuning of the frets for each individual guitar.

 +1 different from me but good stuff.

I automatically do a fret dressing,even on new one's when doing a set up.I use 0000 steel wool as my final polishing.
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« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2017, 07:15:57 AM »

Very logical approach to this issue, right down my alley. How finely do you polish at the last step?

Once I've crowned the frets with my crowning file, my next step is to smooth them some more.  I do this with a 1/4" stick sander equipped with a 320X belt.  I filed a groove in the business end with a needle file to make it conform more closely to the fret top.  I sand in line with the fret until all scratches left behind by the crowning file are gone.
http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=20187&cat=1,42500

My final step is to polish each fret using "micro-mesh" sanding pads.  http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=62127&cat=1,250,43243,43245
I polish lengthwise along each fret again using the 6000x or higher.  You need to protect the fingerboard when you do this because any filing or scratch marks 90 degrees to the fret board will show big time.  I use the Stewmac aluminum fretboard  protectors but you can tape off the fingerboard with masking tape instead.  http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/Tools_by_Job/Tools_for_Fretting/StewMac_Fingerboard_Guards.html



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« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2017, 07:45:09 AM »

+1 different from me but good stuff.

I automatically do a fret dressing,even on new one's when doing a set up.I use 0000 steel wool as my final polishing.

Thanks for your endorsement Rob.  Very much appreciated.  I guess where we differ is how we define what a complete or maybe a basic setup is.  I generally don't suggest or recommend a fret dressing unless I feel it is needed to accomplish a satisfactory basic setup.  If that happens, and a fret dressing is required,  I advise the client and charge accordingly for the fret-dressing provided he/she authorizes it.
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"Badges?  We don't need no stinkin' badges."

Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
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