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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:14 pm 
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Koa
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Location: Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada
First name: Conor
Last Name: Searl
City: Duncan
State: British Columbia
Zip/Postal Code: V9L 2E5
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This is a friends guitar I've had in my shop before (it's an old D-28 clone made in Toronto in the 80's I think). There's no truss rod and from what I can tell the neck angle is not great. There's .007" relief without tension and .012" when strung up to pitch. The action is about 4/32" at the 12th fret. The saddle protrudes .0415" and the straightedge hits the bridge about 1/32" below the top of the bridge. We made do before but the guitar is just really uncomfortable to play so my friend thought this might be a good candidate to experiment resetting the neck on.

Anyway before I go that far, it seems best to deal with the relief first. Am I right in thinking it's important for the neck to be dead flat before embarking on a reset?

To that end I thought it would make the most sense to remove some of the frets in the middle of the neck and insert frets with a bigger tang to force some back bow into the neck, if I understand my terms correctly this is compression fretting? I've read that the goal with this is to induce a small amount of back bow so that when the strings pull on the neck you get an appropriate amount of relief. But since I think I need to reset this neck I thought I'd add just enough compression to get it flat, and then once the neck is reset introduce a little more compression so that the guitar sets up correctly.

Does this seem like an appropriate first step?

If so, is compression fret wire simply fretwire with a bigger tang than what is currently installed or is there specific compression fretwire?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:32 pm 
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Koa
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Real Martin guitar up to about 1980 have non adjustable square tube truss rods. If this is a true clone it will too.

From the pictures and measurements it needs a reset. You do not have to have a dead flat fretboard to do an adequate job. My 1974 D-18 has 0.012 relief and has had a reset - it plays like butter. My 1980 D12-28 has 0.015, higher than I would like but acceptable, and has had a reset, it plays like butter.

People talk a lot about compression refrets but it seems like a huge hassle and really pretty unpredictable. If it was my guitar and it needed frets I would measure the change in relief with and without tension (so I had an idea how much it changes), then I would pull the frets and plane/sand the neck so it had whatever starting relief I thought I wanted, then refret with standard wire.

Others with more experience will chime in


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:29 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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How are the frets? If you are doing a full reset I usually will do a level and crown to true everything up.

For nonadjustable truss guitars like the old Martins I do this with the headstock resting on a block tall enough to lift the shoulders of the instrument off the bench. I place a 5lb. weight on each upper bought beside the FB extension and level under this tension. When strung up it provides near perfect relief every time.

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These users thanked the author B. Howard for the post (total 2): DanKirkland (Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:24 pm) • Conor_Searl (Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:15 am)
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:51 pm 
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Just a comment. Done correctly, a compression fret job is certainly not haphazard. It does require some technique and extra time over a standard fret job. Dave Collins in Ann Arbor taught me.

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These users thanked the author SteveSmith for the post: Clinchriver (Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:28 pm)
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:10 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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I would do the neck reset and go from there. 0.012" is certainly well within what I would consider acceptable limits for neck relief...


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:23 pm 
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That's fine if you just want to practice resetting a neck. Depending on its value, you could also practice shaving the bridge down and ramping. Probably only 50 thou would be enough.

If you're going to level the Frets anyways, you could probably work on that relief a little bit like someone suggested above that way.

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