Making a neck straight for fret leveling: Fingerboard or fret tops? How and why?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by GuitarInnovations, Sep 22, 2019.

  1. GuitarInnovations

    GuitarInnovations Member

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    Obviously, this is concerning methods that don't require a neck jig. I'm just curious exactly how people do this.

    I know some say to use the tops of the frets themselves, but how exactly do you do this? If you've got one high fret, won't it throw off the straight edge the rest of the way?

    Secondarily, if anyone is unfamiliar, the traditional way is to use a notched straightedge along the fingerboard.

    Either way, would it be helpful to check the level in a few different (between the E and A, D and G, and B and E) places to suss out any humps or inconsistencies so as to adjust the truss to compensate and find a happy medium?
     
  2. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    Wood, being an dynamic substance, each piece has to be evaluated as an individual. Does it have a history of being stable? If so, minor wood imperfections can be taken care of with fret leveling...but you can only do so much as you don't want to have to remove say 1/2 the height of some frets to compensate for a fretboard irregularity. In that case, it would make sense to level the fretboard first.
     
  3. ChrisN

    ChrisN Supporting Member

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    I'm no expert, but I'd use a slotted straightedge to ensure a flat fretBOARD (via the truss rod), then level/dress the fret tops. That will also reveal humps/dips in the fretboard.
     
  4. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

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    You play/level the fret tops, the board imperfections are ignored...until you can't.
     
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  5. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    Ive been wanting to get into this. Thinking I want a slotted as well as a regular straight edge. The regular I already have. Then I could check both ways.
     
  6. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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