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Fret Dressings and Fret Polish

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by blood5150, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. blood5150

    blood5150 Member

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    Anyone ever had this done? I built a partscaster with all fender stuff...

    Mexican Satin Body
    American 70's style headstock neck
    fender locking tuners

    The only parts that arent fender are the pups, pots and switch. Some Dimarzio Area 58's and a SD screamin demon in the bridge...

    I had it all put together and fully set up with at my local music store. (mom and pop joint, been there for years). When I got the guitar the action was just not as sweet as I would like it. There was also a couple of dead spots up around the 15th fret. (if you bend the note too high it dies on you). Anyway, we adjusted the truss rod, etc.. no change....

    The neck was brand new, got it from the Straosphere on ebay...

    Would a fret dress and polish and a new setup help this?

    THANKS!
     
  2. Bob V

    Bob V Member

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    Fret level and crown and new setup would help any guitar unless it's a high end custom that was done that way or unless it's a Gibson historic that was Plekked at the factory.
     
  3. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

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    It depends on what's actually wrong with it. Could need frets leveled or readjusted or both. Polishing won't help your problem but should be done anyway in a fret dress.
     
  4. blood5150

    blood5150 Member

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  5. Mike9

    Mike9 Supporting Member

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    You say it's a '70s style USA neck - does it have the vintage 7.25" radius? If it does that's most likely your problem - they tend to fret out on bends as you approach the middle of the fret.
     
  6. khromo231

    khromo231 Guest

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    Well said. Replacement necks and most factory jobs don't begin to realize their true potential until they get a level and re-crown. Time-consuming and can be a little expensive. It is not always easy to find someone competent to do this kind of work. It is worth the effort, because as Bob V said, you don't get it off the rack unless you are paying "hand-made" prices in the first place!
     
  7. blood5150

    blood5150 Member

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    good to know.

    How much should I be looking to pay on average for a fret level, dressing, polish and set-up?

    $150.00, $300.00

    Just want to be sure before I jump in....
     
  8. jawjatek

    jawjatek Member

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    DIY! The last time I paid to have it done (mid 90s) it cost $125 (strat), and the guy ****ed it up. SO I learned how to do it myself. Its not rocket science - I learned how to do it from the Stew-Mac "Fretwork" book and Erlewine's GP repair book. Also Rob DeStephano (sp?) has a good pictorial on how to do fret dressing on his site. Requires an investment (or DIY effort) for the tools, and some practice making junkers & pawnshop beaters playable. I now do it myself on all my guitars (8) and my friend's as well. I charge $50, but I ain't in the repair business, its just for my buds. Good luck.
     
  9. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    I think that's a little high. I'd think you could get the job done well for around $100 - $125, for a fret level, polish and setup providing you don't need a new nut made. You shouldn't need a new nut - it's a brand new neck. DO spend some time checking out the work of the repair person you choose to do it - play some examples of their work, and talk with them to see if you and they seem to be a good matchup.

    As JawJatek wrote, you could learn to do it yourself .... but unless you're VERY mechanically inclined, I wouldn't start out on a good neck. It's not reasonable to think that you could learn to do great fretwork from a book or video anymore than you could learn to be an effective carpenter, plumber, or mechanic from reading a book or watching a dvd.

    Doing a good fret level is more like rebuilding a carb - better to let somebody who does it every day do yours - they'll have a better eye for the level of detail that is essential for a good leveling job, where you'll have to work some to develop your own eyes. In a fret levelling, it's ALL about the detail, and there's a lot to learn, much more than meets the eye.

    Practice LOTS OF TIMES on cheap guitars before you do one you care about, and get some hands-on instruction from somebody who is good at it.

    Hope this helps, Dana O.
     
  10. Bob V

    Bob V Member

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    Problem is, I care about all my cheap guitars. I'd encourage you to try level/crown/polish but by the time you invest in a crowning file for each size of fret you'll encounter (and a set of nut slotting files) you'd better be planning on doing quite a few before it becomes worthwhile financially and you're happy with the results.
     

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