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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:22 pm 
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This may seem like a stupid request, but can someone post a pic of their perfectly dressed (of as close as possible) fret end??



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:56 pm 
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Doesn't sound like a stupid request. There are multiple ideas out there of what constitutes a perfectly dressed fret end though. Eat Drink


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:22 am 
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Fret ends at the professional levels of the trade are a bit of a signature thing and there is no "perfect" only different styles as J is pointing out.

Here are some criteria that I look for and again it's a personal thing with no written right or wrong however there are things that clearly are more functional than others, that's what I look for.

1). Preservation of as much of the valuable top of fret real estate as possible without..... being proud or sharp. Or, in other words, no radical bevel like f*ctories do....
2). Intentional!
3). No fangs.....
4). scratchless and refined.
5). This is huge and don't laugh, we see it all of the time especially on Luthier built guitars - NOT loose.....

Fret ends at their best are not noticed.... and not in any way an impediment to playing. Players only seem to notice them when there is a problem so don't create any problems..... Because after all guitars are tools for musicians....

I've never had anyone ask me for a specific style of ends but we have been asked plenty of times if we can nix the stinkin.... radical bevel and preserve valuable fret top surface.



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:45 am 
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I don't have any close up pics but I don't like radical bevels either. I also like to round off the corners of the bevel where it meets the fretboard edge. Most guitars just have the bevel come down like a ramp and meet the fretboard edge so when you look down the fretboard you see all these nice ramped fret ends that all reflect the light nicely like facets. So when I round corners it looks 'wrong' since that's not what 95% of guitars out there look like. But it makes a better fret end even though it makes for worse pictures. Doing it by hand means that each fret end is different and as such will not reflect perfectly. But it's the best way to smooth up the intersection of fret end and fretboard edge.

This is not my guitar but this is what I am talking about, though I tend to leave a bit more of the ramp in the dead center:

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:38 am 
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jfmckenna wrote:

Image

Without binding the fingerboard, I wonder how the builder made the fret tangs disappear? CNC cut slots?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:43 am 
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Good catch! Andy Birko does a faux bound board like that on CNC. I have a few, they look nice!

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:58 pm 
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Yes those are definitely hidden slots or what ever they are called. I personally like to see the fret ends. I like functional design and they also kind of act as markers. So mine don't look exactly like that because the very center of the fret goes down to the fret end slot. I started doing it this way when I build my first Selmer guitar. Miachael Collins in his book describes this as the way Selmer Mac did it back in the day. Each fret is dressed separately then pressed or hammered in. The tang is cut back like for a bound board and then you can just fill the fret slot end in with black CA or something.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:19 pm 
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The other way to hide the fret ends is to put on a "self-binding". You cut a slice (say 3mm) off each side of the fretboard blank before you slot it. Then slot and taper it, and glue those strips back on. With most dark fingerboard timbers the join will be all but invisible and you get the look shown above. Or you can add an accent purfling strip if you want to look more fancy.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:01 pm 
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Joe Beaver wrote:
Without binding the fingerboard, I wonder how the builder made the fret tangs disappear? CNC cut slots?

CNC. With that said there is a simple solution for non-CNC guys. I always faux bind fretboards which also helps with fretboard shrinkage by capturing the tang and keeping it from protruding. Simply slice off some spare material on both sides of the fretboard. Then slot the board as you normally would. When cutting down the board to dimension, remove an additional amount to make up for the two binding pieces (choose your binding thickness - e.g. 0.040 to 0.060). Thickness the two pieces you initial cut off to be the faux binding, and glue them back on. I apply the glue with a finger on the binding, not leaving too much, then gently rub the binding in place on the fingerboard. This gets glue spread without loading up the slots with glue. Simply clamp and you have the same effect as you see here. When clamping I use two cauls which counter the fretboard taper, making clamping much easier. Hard to see the glue line once finished.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:16 am 
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Forgive me please Snow I must have misunderstood. I thought that you were interested in the fret ends themselves not faux bound boards or methods for hiding tangs. My mistake.



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:12 am 
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This is a tad off topic but I'd like to offer a commercial plug to Dave Collins and Hesh Breakstone (Ann Arbor Guitars) for putting on a great fretting and set up class, that teaches the skills which SMS inquired about. I've been at this for 25 years and I learned a LOT! My setups will definitely change going forward.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:16 am 
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Hesh wrote:
Forgive me please Snow I must have misunderstood. I thought that you were interested in the fret ends themselves not faux bound boards or methods for hiding tangs. My mistake.


I thought that's what you meant by, 'no fangs.' What do you mean by no fangs?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:16 am 
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Quote:
I thought that's what you meant by, 'no fangs.' What do you mean by no fangs?


Hesh can speak for himself, but I'll bet he was talking about sharp fret ends that stick out and catch or cut the fingers of the player. It's a big no-no, and I have to fix a number of them on brand new guitars - not just dried out fingerboards.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:18 pm 
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jfmckenna wrote:
Hesh wrote:
Forgive me please Snow I must have misunderstood. I thought that you were interested in the fret ends themselves not faux bound boards or methods for hiding tangs. My mistake.


I thought that's what you meant by, 'no fangs.' What do you mean by no fangs?



Fangs result from nipping the ends of an overhanging frets during the refret process with the jaws of the nippers vertical. This slightly compresses the intersection of the fret crown and the underside of the fret crown on both sides (more so if the nippers are dull) and what results looks like a snake's fangs. Two, sharp points that are visually showing and may or may not be felt depending on how close to the fret board the nippers were.

We are fangless here at Ann Arbor Guitars but we see them frequently, feel them at times too and I'll make a mental note to take a pic. OTOH I'm getting older now and a bit of a dotard... and I might forget...;) but I'll try to remember.

Anyway the remedy besides avoiding them in the first place with sharp nippers is to file them off when doing the fret ends.



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:20 pm 
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Tim McKnight wrote:
This is a tad off topic but I'd like to offer a commercial plug to Dave Collins and Hesh Breakstone (Ann Arbor Guitars) for putting on a great fretting and set up class, that teaches the skills which SMS inquired about. I've been at this for 25 years and I learned a LOT! My setups will definitely change going forward.


My apologies too for being off topic but I wanted to thank Tim AND also thank him for all the help that he/you gave me Tim 12 years ago when I was starting out.

One day out of the blue Tim sends me a PM with advice for voicing that I won't share here but it was a game changer for my guitars. Having Tim in our class was very cool for all of us and I'll add that Tim not only builds superb guitars but his daughter now does too! How cool is that!



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:24 pm 
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I've shown this photo before, but this is the way I do mine. Pretty standard really.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:42 pm 
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Hesh wrote:
Forgive me please Snow I must have misunderstood. I thought that you were interested in the fret ends themselves not faux bound boards or methods for hiding tangs. My mistake.

It all has to do with fret ends in the end:)


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:10 pm 
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Barry Daniels wrote:
I've shown this photo before, but this is the way I do mine. Pretty standard really.


Thanks Barry. Your bevel is minimal and to further quantify what I am citing as the radical f*ctory bevel your's looks to be around 10 degrees at best, we've seen over 45 degrees.... and commonly 40 - 45 degrees taking valuable fret top surface.

Thanks for posting the pic. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you too my friend!


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:44 am 
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Hesh wrote:
jfmckenna wrote:
Hesh wrote:
Forgive me please Snow I must have misunderstood. I thought that you were interested in the fret ends themselves not faux bound boards or methods for hiding tangs. My mistake.


I thought that's what you meant by, 'no fangs.' What do you mean by no fangs?



Fangs result from nipping the ends of an overhanging frets during the refret process with the jaws of the nippers vertical. This slightly compresses the intersection of the fret crown and the underside of the fret crown on both sides (more so if the nippers are dull) and what results looks like a snake's fangs. Two, sharp points that are visually showing and may or may not be felt depending on how close to the fret board the nippers were.

We are fangless here at Ann Arbor Guitars but we see them frequently, feel them at times too and I'll make a mental note to take a pic. OTOH I'm getting older now and a bit of a dotard... and I might forget...;) but I'll try to remember.

Anyway the remedy besides avoiding them in the first place with sharp nippers is to file them off when doing the fret ends.


Or you can just turn your nippers 90 degrees.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:44 am 
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Ken Franklin wrote:
Or you can just turn your nippers 90 degrees.


You most certainly can except for certain locations such as the glued down fret board extension where there is not room to have the nippers horizontal on conventionally built flat tops. Sometimes you have to have your nippers vertical and that's where filing the fangs away and playing orthodontist can aid in appearances, uniformity and in some cases feel too. Fangs suck. ;)

With the popularity of jumbo wire AND stainless and physically larger and more cumbersome nippers jaw orientation becomes a larger consideration as well in some instances.

No biggie, fangs are just one of a plethora of things that we see and that should be avoided for the homogenous appearance and non-noticed-feel.

Your fret work, set-up and if they are not right fret ends are a statement of your knowledge of a guitar as a musical instrument and tool for musicians and not just a justification for a killer bandsaw. Get it right and that's one more thing not preventing folks from beating a path to your door. Get it wrong and you may find this endeavor more expensive than it needs to be. ;)


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:55 am 
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One other thought (dangerous I know...) is that in the repair world you often have to deal with what is in terms of fret ends and improve them instead of having a clean canvas for shaping the appearance and feel of the ends.

There are things that we can and do do to existing fret ends to soften them, square them up and perhaps most importantly make sure that they are fully seated. Spongy or loose fret or ends are a problem and we see them near daily.

Special tools for seating frets, techniques for safely gluing them down are also helpful.

Related are proud fret ends from RH swings and...... shrinkage..... :? :roll:

Also related is what a loose fret can sound like as it sucks energy and tone/sound.

Frets matter!


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:03 am 
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As Mr. Breakstone mentioned, nipping the excess wire - especially stainless - close to the board can distort the fret end such that a fair amount of cleanup is required. Instead, we trim about 1/16" out from the edge and rely on sharp files to quickly remove the excess. The Nicholson Handy file in 10" length made safe edged and trimmed to the 6" length needed for our fret end bevel blocks are our preference, and are available at the usual big box stores or online for prices low enough to allow fairly frequent replacement (every six months if working in EVO and stainless).

The half-hemisphere sort of fret ends pictured earlier in the thread seem to garner interest from those that have not played on them before, while our customers that have instruments with the treatment usually wish that they had opted for something closer to the fret end treatment Mr. Daniels posted. In particular, we have a customer that considers the half-hemispheric fret end treatment to be just slightly more annoying than the gapped, nibbed ends on his Les Paul, but cannot bring himself to rip out nearly new frets that cost him close to $500 for the option.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:15 am 
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Did a few of the semi-hemispherical fret end jobs. A PITA to get right and none of my player buds noticed. Won't do em anymore, instead I'm also doing more what Barry is doing to maximize fret-top real estate.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:26 pm 
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SteveSmith wrote:
Did a few of the semi-hemispherical fret end jobs. A PITA to get right and none of my player buds noticed. Won't do em anymore, instead I'm also doing more what Barry is doing to maximize fret-top real estate.


That's what I usually see too Steve and it shines a light on the idea that much of what we stress over here.... is not something that very many potential clients are losing any sleep over.

Fret ends never got anyone that perfect, low action or perfect intonation or, or, or..... In other words the value of fret ends beyond what's important at the functional level is debatable.

Not advocating shoddy work ever but it's also been my observation that in an effort to have differentiation in the trade some folks may.... have issues declaring something to be done.

Personally I try to be sure that the things that provide measurable and appreciated value are where I concentrate. Not to get off topic but very well done nut slots qualify and are noticed immediately.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:57 am 
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Hesh wrote:
Ken Franklin wrote:
Or you can just turn your nippers 90 degrees.


You most certainly can except for certain locations such as the glued down fret board extension where there is not room to have the nippers horizontal on conventionally built flat tops. Sometimes you have to have your nippers vertical and that's where filing the fangs away and playing orthodontist can aid in appearances, uniformity and in some cases feel too. Fangs suck. ;)


You must have different nippers than I do. No problem for me with glued fretboard extensions.

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