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 Post subject: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:38 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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So, client brings me a guitar all set way out of whack. It's a MIM relic tele with shop made rusted out parts. Client has used the grooves in the cheap threaded rod to pull the strings in way from the edges. He just wanted a basic set up. He's had it for years but it sat in a case cause he was always irritated by the strings rolling off the edge of the board. I said I'd have a gander but he was on the fly so we couldn't go over it together.

So I looked at the frets today and found this

Image

Image

This is the original, untouched fret ends.

No wonder roll off is an issue, a smooth sloping curve to the fret tops right off the edge of the board.

I told him replacing the frets and putting a proper beveled end on is the only way to fix this.

I don't do a lot of electric refrets, what do y'all charge for it when you do it?


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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:04 pm 
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$400 including setup.


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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:32 pm 
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Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:09 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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This is what I've been talking about in several threads in the last couple of months. F*ctory fret ends can suck and because of the cheap, labor saving radical bevels and at times added with poor leveling technique that rolls the ends even more players lose valuable fret top real estate.

The only remedy is a refret beyond grinding them down to .025" height or so to the the lowest common denominator in height that nixes the roll over and even a bit of the bevel on the ends. That's more labor intensive than a refret. We are $420 (that number is only a coincidence and not related to time to get stoned....) (nor would I ever bring that up....) and this includes precision leveling making uber low action possible, semi-hemi fret ends and a new bone nut and full set-up. ETA with us is two working days and a wake up.

But this is what I've been ranting about here , ;) how f*ctories many years ago found it cheaper to set some worker loose with a file and total disregard for how the things will result and play over individually shaping each end for the player's functionality and comfort.

With Fenders the neck can often move left or right in the pocket too making the alignment a bit adjustable as a quick fix for now for some necks. With others the refret is the only real option.


Last edited by Hesh on Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:37 am, edited 1 time in total.


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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:45 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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I think this was their attempt at relicing the fret ends, as there is unnatural wear between the frets as well, almost scallops, on the edge of the board. Their effort to get that really smooth round vintage feel which can be nice, but then killed overly with a good dose of overkill.

Care to share some time how you do your fret ends? I've been content a long time with 'shield' ends, where you file til the 'horseshoe' is gone and then nicking the corners with a bottom safed file. But the semi-hemi-Demi Moore end are much curvier and seductive...


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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:02 am 
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meddlingfool wrote:
I think this was their attempt at relicing the fret ends, as there is unnatural wear between the frets as well, almost scallops, on the edge of the board. Their effort to get that really smooth round vintage feel which can be nice, but then killed overly with a good dose of overkill.

Care to share some time how you do your fret ends? I've been content a long time with 'shield' ends, where you file til the 'horseshoe' is gone and then nicking the corners with a bottom safed file. But the semi-hemi-Demi Moore end are much curvier and seductive...


LOL I like the Demi Moore reference.

We teach this method in our classes, we have one fully booked class the first of next month filled with non-OLFers for the most part. Many of our students are professional Luthiers and well established names and faces you will see at the shows and read about in the magazines.

Anyway what I can tell you and I hope that you know that I would tell you all that I could if I could. The methods are not mine and belong to someone else who developed them over many decades and we teach this stuff so I am not at liberty to get very detailed out of great respect for the person who's IP this is. Our former students know what I am talking about and there are a couple dozen of them on this forum now.

Anyway it's a two step process with filing the fret ends with a very minimal bevel, maybe 5 - 10 degrees and then using a three corner file hitting more than one fret at once. After the bevel filing the ends, all of them on both sides only take 5 minutes or less to turn them into semi-hemispherical and uber shiny fret ends that look like the stream lined passenger trains that were state of the art in the 60's. I'm not that old by the way....;).

I just did my own Strat after installing Lindy Frailin pups and tried to photograph the ends and I can't get them to show up they are so silky smooth. Full fret top is preserved and there is NO roll off at all with full fret tops available for players. You do not feel the ends with playing contrary to what one poster here suspected when I've mentioned this in the past.

We have clients who begrudgingly... travel hundreds of miles for our fret work since I won't let them ship us guitars claiming that it's too difficult for us to be in the shipping and receiving business. Don't tell them that the cities post office is across the street from us...;)

Anyway Ed it's a combination of not radically beveling and then learning to use a small, OOish safed three corner to hit multiple frets in unison while carefully controlling the angles of attack in a progressively moving manner. There is a "zip" noise that I always enjoy too in so much as I know that this process is WAY faster than what I used to do and the results are rather stunning if I do say so myself.

When they are done there is not a flat surface on any of the fret ends, they all are completely rounded into nice semi-hemispherical ends. It is a problem photographing them though, nothing for the auto range finder to lock onto. Kind of like stealth technology in that respect, nothing bounces back.

The worst fret ends that we see at times with the most bevels are G*bsons and the nature of the Les Pauls attracting pro players makes this a problem. We've refretted many a new G*bson just because the owner wanted to toss the lousy fret work. They are said to be PLEKed too which on FRETS.net a number of us working in the trade Luthiers with high volume operations have complained that the frets are not even level right from the factory.

Not to digress too much but this notion of relicing perfectly good, new instruments is something that I've never understood. I mean I get-it that people are looking for that vintage vibe but when the process makes the thing suck to play, like what you have there Ed in your pictures in my mind it actually eliminates value not adds it..... Oh well everyone wants to be Clapton...

I'll add that some if not most of the approaches that I've seen to semi-hemispherical fret ends involve doing them off the instrument and then installing them. This always looks like dog crap to me because they never line up well when sighting down the neck. It looks like someone who needed an orthodontist. I've even been sent samples of frets pre done this way available for sale that are to be installed already completed having the same orthodontist issue.

Our's are milled on the instrument after all fret ends have been filed even and that minimal bevel is filed making them all exactly lined up for a very eloquent and finished look.

It's interesting because fret ends are not something that people seem to notice unless there is an issue with what they have to deal with. OTOH it's a nice touch and important detail for players who really take advantage of a fret board in their style of playing.



These users thanked the author Hesh for the post (total 2): Jonny (Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:34 pm) • david farmer (Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:47 am)
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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:23 am 
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Koa
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The wear on the thumb side doesn't look too authentic.

On the plus side, it should be easy to please your customer. Especially when you knock the ski jump down too.

I usually start by finding the lowest angle that will flush the ends but not go into the neck edge. Usually between 5 and20 degrees. I made a series of small pairs of file holders in 5 degree increments. Just a push fit in a table saw kerf cut from a long pine stick. One coarse, the other fine. Once I find the minimum flushing angle, a coarse file in a holder lets me rip the ends flush much faster than I used to. Usually I just round the ends from there. Every once in a while someone finds them too abrupt at the rounded minimum angle and I'll lean the bevel over a touch more for them. It's easier to go that way if someone wants. Gluing the filings back on with CA is a real PIA. ;)

Maybe a new nut if the wire choice is taller or they want new string spacing to take advantage of the wider playing surface.

Out here in the boonie, I'm sill holding at $350+nut if needed. That includes wire, My strings, and their satisfaction.

ps. "safed three corner to hit multiple frets in unison while carefully controlling the angles of attack in a progressively moving manner."

I've spent some time laying in the dark over the
years trying to figure out just what this means. :shock: :)
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These users thanked the author david farmer for the post (total 3): Clinchriver (Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:10 pm) • pat macaluso (Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:01 am) • Hesh (Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:12 am)
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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:34 am 
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Dave, the radius on the bottom of the blocks (the part that rides along the frets) did you choose a specific radius there that works for most instruments? I also made a 5 and 10 degree holder using the table saw, but the bottoms are just flat.


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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:57 am 
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Brad, It's just a random relief to make it a little more stable sitting on a tighter radius. There's a 1/8" flat on either side. I'm not sure why I used a router bit to run the length of my stick. It seems like a wast of time in hindsight . I would just rotate the blank and make a shallow v cut on the TS if I were to do it again. A dado would also work.

Bevel rips can be sketchy on a table saw. Be safe and use a push stick/hold downs etc.

Oh yeah, most already know this but just a reminder, the file should be oriented and used so forward motion tends to pull it down not skate up.



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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:57 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Anyway what I can tell you and I hope that you know that I would tell you all that I could if I could. The methods are not mine and belong to someone else who developed them over many decades and we teach this stuff so I am not at liberty to get very detailed out of great respect for the person who's IP this is. Our former students know what I am talking about and there are a couple dozen of them on this forum now.

I get it.

The irony of making a living as a builder is that I don't make enough money for supplemental education. Anne Arbor is not on my bus route:)



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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:11 pm 
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meddlingfool wrote:

The irony of making a living as a builder is that I don't make enough money for supplemental education. Anne Arbor is not on my bus route:)


Yeah, we need a west coast tour!!

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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:16 pm 
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Bri wrote:
meddlingfool wrote:

The irony of making a living as a builder is that I don't make enough money for supplemental education. Anne Arbor is not on my bus route:)


Yeah, we need a west coast tour!!


Yes we do!



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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:08 pm 
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Bri wrote:
meddlingfool wrote:

The irony of making a living as a builder is that I don't make enough money for supplemental education. Anne Arbor is not on my bus route:)


Yeah, we need a west coast tour!!


Thanks but I would not hold my breath because that's not going to happen. We are no longer promoting the classes and the class December 1st was largely put together by folks who called us over the months and most of them were on a waiting list. Only one is from the OLF.

The classes are difficult for us and these are very long days where both of us bend over backwards and then some to be absolutely sure that folks get much more than their money's worth. You can check with any of our alumni they call these classes "game changers" etc in so much as they address a level of important things, the guitars's user interface if you will that most builders don't typically address until they get the wood working down if ever.....

Completely fretting four instruments, often some with one-off increases in difficulty such as a compression refret and then making bone nuts, compensated bone saddles, repairing things on the fly such as a loose bridge, etc. AND Dave's way of offering you 250% information in a methodical, organized manner takes at least 10 hours each day. We prep a great deal too with a lot of holding hands so that when everyone comes together from even thousands of miles away everyone has a place to stay, an instrument in the same place in terms of what it now needs, and the tools that we teach you to use that we use, Jaws II, etc.

Anyway it's hard for us and I even got stuck in an elevator in the cold and snow storm last year and the fire department had to rescue me. Can't take me anywhere....;)

Our business has grown tremendously now and we are booked solid all of the time now except in the mid summer when 50,000 student leave the area for summer break. There is the concept of "opportunity costs" where what the classes cost us to put on is now more than we can make just remaining open and doing our daily work.

We both enjoy the classes a great deal and will continue to offer private classes for folks who can put together a group of 3 - 4 students and we will help and maintain a waiting list, that's what happened this time, but we have no plans to actively schedule more classes and promote them. We are too busy.

So good reasons for the changes and a day of our classes costs 75% of what it would cost you to have a pro shop, a great one... refret your guitar for you making this a great value.

Ed we would love to have you so if it ever works out that a group can put a class together and we can help with the waiting list I am sure we can discount for you. You've got a perspective from your production days that I'm always interested in being a former efficiency expert, Six Sigma with manufacturing a former Fortune one for much of my life. To this day I can't stop things such as when I pick up a #2 screw driver I use it on every place on the guitar that I can before putting it down. It makes my life easier AND lets me get around a guitar more comprehensively than most people ever do.

Lastly personally for me lately we've been seeing a number of our students/friends doing a lot to repair work including difficult repairs and they are doing excellent, above commercial quality work. It makes me personally proud as punch to know these guys and know that at least in some cases they are working to make this a retirement gig for them like I did. It also makes me feel like there will be countless guitars with much higher quality work done on them in the future and that's a good thing.

Anyway classes remain available you just have to do a bit of assembling of a friend or two and then see if I have anyone on the list and we can make it happen.

PS: I spent nearly 25 years living in Residence Inns in Sunnyvale and many west coast cities. My first ever guitar was built in a Residence Inn.... I was my companies representative to this "new fangled vaporware economy with valuations 32 times earnings that will never make it against the traditional brick and mortar, old guard manufacturing companies...."

Times change Google and Apple sure showed us, Brad! [clap] [:Y:]


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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:00 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Thanks Hesh,

I'm not seeking a discount and would be happy to share any handy tidbits I know about my experiences in high speed goings on (12 minute fret jobs included), it's just that the commute to Michigan overshadows the course cost by a long mile.

If/When I ever raise the $ to gander with Galloup/Guidry et al, I expect I'll pop in for a look see with a bottle or two of fine single malt to smooth the path to enlightenment. Being in the same hood and all...:)



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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:48 am 
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Very cool Ed and you are always welcome. Lot's of great single malt in A2 too! I just can't remember where to go since we have over 21 medical pot shops....;). A2 is a town where people frequently drive 5 mph (kph) and cookie and ice cream shops do very well....

Galloup and Guidry are in my view the pinnacle of Lutherie education EVER offered with the exception of the micro focus that we at Ann Arbor Guitars have on set-up and fretting. They are highly recommended! Dave used to teach at Galloup and Sam was his first apprentice. I was the second.



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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:08 pm 
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david farmer wrote:
Oh yeah, most already know this but just a reminder, the file should be oriented and used so forward motion tends to pull it down not skate up.


NO WONDER MINE ALWAYS SKATES UP! doh! Wow thanks David! Wow! I can see!



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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:17 pm 
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I use a 20 degree bevel.


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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:32 pm 
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A thing of beauty....

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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:48 pm 
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Barry Daniels wrote:
I use a 20 degree bevel.


Hey Barry thanks for this!

Everyone see how Barry's 20 degree bevel still does not leave the ends proud, they are rounded with no sharp corners and valuable fret top surface is preserved? Nicely done Barry! Hope you are doing great too!

BTW that 20 degree bevel that Barry uses is often less than half.... of that factories do....


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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:01 pm 
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pat macaluso wrote:
david farmer wrote:
Oh yeah, most already know this but just a reminder, the file should be oriented and used so forward motion tends to pull it down not skate up.


NO WONDER MINE ALWAYS SKATES UP! doh! Wow thanks David! Wow! I can see!


Yeah, that was always a strong caution to the newbies, who, no matter how pointed the warning, would inevitably skate the block up and over the brand new frets. After pulling a few sets of freshly laid frets, the lesson would eventually stick.

We eventually switched to double cut files xxxx instead of single ///// which both prevented that problem and dramatically reduced the time on that task. Win win.



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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:03 pm 
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Nicely done, Barry!


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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:07 pm 
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Thanks guys. This was a recent repair on a Gretsch 7-string that I had to make a new fretboard for, and a new truss rod.


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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:23 pm 
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meddlingfool wrote:
pat macaluso wrote:
david farmer wrote:
Oh yeah, most already know this but just a reminder, the file should be oriented and used so forward motion tends to pull it down not skate up.


NO WONDER MINE ALWAYS SKATES UP! doh! Wow thanks David! Wow! I can see!


Yeah, that was always a strong caution to the newbies, who, no matter how pointed the warning, would inevitably skate the block up and over the brand new frets. After pulling a few sets of freshly laid frets, the lesson would eventually stick.

We eventually switched to double cut files xxxx instead of single ///// which both prevented that problem and dramatically reduced the time on that task. Win win.
After staring at the file for a while, it seems like if it's the right orientation in the holder, then you shouldn't need to think about it again unless it comes out as it only Cuts in One Direction. xxxx would also work.

Nice work Barry! Is that A2 technique?


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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:26 pm 
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No, that is my self taught method that I have been refining for about 40 years. I'm sort of obsessed with fret bevels.


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 Post subject: Re: Really, Fender?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:38 pm 
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Hesh wrote:
Only one is from the OLF.

I hear he's looking forward to being there.

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