What do you do when fret ends start to poke out?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by 316guitars, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. 316guitars

    316guitars Silver Supporting Member

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    This rarely happens but I see it sometimes with the wild changes in humidity where I live. Less moisture seems to make the wood shrink. Is there a simpler remedy then filing? What have you done?

    Thanks
     
  2. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    I've had the fret ends dressed by a local luthier when I lived in Virginia... then moved to dry Colorado, and after a couple of years the wood has dried and shrunk a bit. Need to have it - or do it myself - again. Not sure there is any way around the filing, but would love to hear.
     
  3. XKnight

    XKnight Member

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    Put a humidifier in the room where the guitar is kept or a wet sponge in the case.
     
  4. 73Fender

    73Fender Member

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  5. SinglecutGuy

    SinglecutGuy Supporting Member

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    Filing is not always a good option because that can result in issues when the wood become humidified again.

    If you have a rosewood board, buy "Bore Oil". Apply liberally, allow to set, wipe in with your fingers. This will hydrate the wood, and help clean off the fretboard at the same time.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

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    I think its more important to hydrate the room and make the environment more hospitable. Get a humidifier and keep it at 40-45% RH, it could take several days. Bore oil treats the symptom, not the cause IMO.

    File only if necessary after hydrating properly IMO.
     
  7. Sweat

    Sweat Member

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    hydrate! never grind wood contracts and expand, when mine do it on rare occasion patience and moisture works.
     
  8. TheoDog

    TheoDog Silver Supporting Member

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    Ounce of prevention.
    [​IMG]
    But I also believe it is ok to file the fret ends. If this is done conservatively during an extreme dry spell (by a skilled hand) it could minimize future fret spout.
     
  9. mellecaster

    mellecaster Member

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    Uh...despite the previous comments, your Fret ends need to be filed by someone familiar w/ the process and the correct Tools, or You can go to the Stew-Mac site and watch some Videos as to what's involved and perhaps try it your self ? File them once properly, and this would be the time of year to address the problem....and remember that between 40 and 50% Humidity in your Living quarters year round is a plus to You and your instruments.
     
  10. DrumBob

    DrumBob Gold Supporting Member

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    Good advice. I have a humidifier on intermittently this winter. paid $24.95 for it at Wally-Mart. There are better ones out there, but this seems to be getting the job done.
     
  11. marcuslom

    marcuslom Member

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    This BAD piece of advice keep rearing its ugly head every time someone asks the same question.

    Keep the guitar at 40-50 % relative humidity and forget about filing or sanding anything. It may take weeks for a dried out neck to expand to normal size. You don't want to discover then that you have short frets.
     
  12. Dale

    Dale Member

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    The amount filed off on any guitar I have owned over the last 30 years has never created a "short" fretwire when humidity came back. It is not that much being taken off.
     
  13. Axis29

    Axis29 Supporting Member

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    I actually file all of mine the first Winter I own them. It happens. You're not filing off an 1/8 of an inch. You're literally just taking off about a piece of paper's width. Once you do it once, you never have to do it again.

    I use a big bastard file, that I've had for years. It sits in my guitar tool box. I try not to hit the actual fret ends. Really all I'm hitting is the fret tangs which poke out and are sharp. If I hit the fret ends, it gives me a nice opportunity to smooth all of them out nicely... I go gently, smoothing and then polishing them. Actually, a lot of the time, I use this opportunity to polish all of the frets.

    I've never noticed my frets lacking when Spring comes around and the neck swells back up. It would be nice if I could keep my house at 40-50%. But, I live in a place where the temps and humidity dive in the Winter. And then, the humidity shoots up in the Summer. Add in forced air heating and air conditioning...
     
  14. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Exactly right.

    This is an EXTREMELY common occurrence. We travel with guitars, expose them to all sorts of changes in humidity, and they're just made of wood, so they respond to the changes with slight swelling or shrinkage.

    I have lightly dressed fret ends on over a dozen guitars, and I've seen them dressed on a hundred guitars. I have never seen a problem with doing this, because the amount of metal removed is tiny. Techs like Walter Wright (walterw on TGP) in Virginia Beach do a fret ends touch up on a couple guitars a week in winter time when the dry conditions cause this.

    It's an easy and inexpensive job for a good tech. Once it's done, it'll never happen again. It's definitely a good idea to manage the humidity where your guitars spend most of their time, but there is no problem at all in light filing fret ends that have begun to sprout due to low humidity. It's a much greater problem when acoustic or electric/ acoustic guitars see extreme humidity changes and the spruce tops start to split. Mostly us electric solid body players only have to deal with fret sprout.

    Hope this helps, Dana O.

    PS Respectfully, oil on the fretboard does not re-humidify the wood: oil in fact can be a barrier to rehydration. The low humidity causes the wood to shrink because it gives off water - oiling the fretboard does not change this. Most modern luthier types nowadays recommend the fret board be lightly oiled.maybe once a year at most on a rosewood board. Rosewood is an oily wood - it doesn't need much added oil.
     
  15. kennybro

    kennybro Member

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    I've both re-humidified and filed, depending on the need.

    If I pull a guit from the closet to play that night, and it has pokey frets, I file. Takes 10 minutes, and not that much off to make a difference.

    If I have time, I'll get some moisture back into the neck wood.
     
  16. 73Fender

    73Fender Member

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    And regarding bore oil / mineral oil etc, there have been many cautionary posts here advising to do it in tiny amounts and not too often if at all.
     
  17. 73Fender

    73Fender Member

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    I guess the advice to file also assumes some mechanical aptitude on the part of the one who is filing.
     
  18. kennybro

    kennybro Member

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    I stay away from those funky oils. Things can get sticky real fast. Maybe just a micro layer of lemon oil on a rosewood board very occasionally, wiped on from a rag, then wiped off.
     
  19. Tony Bones

    Tony Bones Member

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    Like, you just gotta have different guitars for the summer and the winter. Simple
     
  20. mellecaster

    mellecaster Member

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    I would suggest that you worry less about perceived "Bad advice" and educate yourself on the subject of Fret sprout....It really isn't that complicated.
     

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