Fret Buzz And Leveling

Discussion in 'Guitar Building' started by Paul Kersey, Jun 5, 2020.

  1. Paul Kersey

    Paul Kersey New Member

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    When I play the 13th position on the low E (the F note) the string is buzzing out on the 14th fret. That fret is too high in that one spot and needs to be leveled.

    Fret work is one of the few things that I've always let the pros handle. I'm having a hard time making an appt tho, so I've decided to fix it myself. This seems like the perfect small job for my first attempt at fret repair.

    I need to buy the tools for this and need help choosing to right file(s). I've noticed that fret files can get pretty pricey; I'm looking to buy the the cheapest one that isn't a piece of junk. Any suggestions?

    Also, if anyone has some tips on the best way to do this job correct, and even out the fret with itself and the others, I'd appreciate it.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Timm

    Timm New Member

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    For the actual leveling process (usually for all frets) I use 400 grit sandpaper taped to a straight aluminum profile 25x25mm, approx. 25 cm long for guitar and 35cm for bass. I put a line of black permanent marker on top of each fret to see when all frets are leveled. That's not very expensive. When you have leveled your fret(s) you have to recrown. For that I use a traditional triangular file with blunt edges, but any small blunt-edged file should do (so you don't damage your fretboard). I think mine is from Crimson guitars. You can get also get dedicated fret crowning files, but I doubt that you need that to fix one fret. A fret rocker is also an extremely useful tool for spotting high frets and doesn't cost much.

    Quick tip: Before you start filing on that high fret, make sure that it is not just lifting out of it's slot. If it starts buzzing out of nowhere, this could be it. If it is not properly seated in the fretboard you might get away with gently tapping it back in with a fretting hammer, and you don't need to file it at all.
     
  3. Timm

    Timm New Member

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    In your case it might be better not to use the leveling beam/marker technique over all the frets, but to use a small file on that high fret and then repeatedly check with a straight edge and fret rocker until it is even. Then recrown.
     

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