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Fret leveler tool

posted Mar 10, 2014 16:56:30 by ParéjJózsef
asking seasoned fret dressers, could this tool be any good? I have mixed feelings about it... but in theory it makes fret dressing easy as heck, and you can buy sandpaper really cheap later...
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Guitar-FRET-LEVELING-DRESSING-CROWNING-KIT-Fret-Refinishing-Luthier-Tools-/111295765085?pt=Guitar_Accessories&hash=item19e9be9a5d
Just call me Joe ;)
Proud owner of my 7-string "Bear" LP.
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18 replies
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SteveTebble said Mar 10, 2014 17:51:49
I don't think I'd touch that. It means you could be carrying out all the work on a neck that still has bow in it.
God give me patience ... but I want it NOW!!
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MichaelWamback said Mar 10, 2014 18:46:32
I think the leveling part would work, as it's basically what we all do anyway. I'm not so sure about the crowning part. I have a hard time seeing how this is going to give you perfectly round frets, in the way my concave crowning file will - especially working along the length of the neck. It reminds me of the "Little Bone" the guy in Japan sells for crowning. It's a small diamond file that was originally intended to go in your tackle box for sharpening knives. The issue is that it cuts the fret at an angle, which narrows them but doesn't actually crown them in the proper sense.

One thing I do like about these types of leveling systems is the idea of leveling with the neck under string tension. When you put a neck under tension, it doesn't necessarily bend uniformly. Inconsistencies that are not there when you level the frets with no string tension can reappear when you apply the tension again. Not an issue with a guitar with a medium action, but can be if you are aiming for a super low action.

The Katana system I used is also designed to level under string tension. The added benefit is that you have a truss rod inside the leveling beam so you can match the shape of the level to the amount of relief you have in the neck - meaning you don't have to straighten the neck first. It was expensive though - and they sell a similar device without the truss rod where you do first take the relief out of the neck in the more traditional fashion. If I had to do it again, I don't know if I would pay all the extra for the fancier unit - but I admit it does a really nice job.

But leveling the neck under string tension is definitely the way to go overall.
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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ParéjJózsef said Mar 10, 2014 18:57:51
yep, I realised that, but at this price, it is tempting for me. I mean, if I set the neck straight, then use this, it's still cheaper than a file and if it works well with bent neck, even better... money is getting tight for me, so I might have to go cheap with this one, or use the screwdriver-sandpaper method. (doesn't matter how much I save up, local currency is getting weaker compared to USD)
[Last edited Mar 10, 2014 19:00:48]
Just call me Joe ;)
Proud owner of my 7-string "Bear" LP.
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MichaelWamback said Mar 11, 2014 16:14:08
If you are going to use the screwdriver method to crown the files, then you can get a leveling device a lot cheaper that $30. Anything with a perfectly flat machined surface will actually do - since you can attach 150 grit sticky back sandpaper to it. You might want to visit the local big box hardware store - you may be able to find something suitable for very little money. The main concern is that it's perfectly machined flat and rigid. Metal is best, as I think it's easier to remove the old sandpaper.

If you buy this kit, keep in mind that they use some abrasive paper as well - which is going to wear out fairly quickly. You will likely only get one guitar done with it, before you will need to replace the paper abrasive anyway. So if you are only planning on doing one guitar - it's probably a good deal. But if you are going to do more than one, then there may be more economical solutions.

Here's a really cheap tip - visit a few local construction sites, machine shops and so forth. They may have something in their scrap bin that will be perfect that they will give to you. I've seen people use scrap pieces of marble tile even.

Check around on the net a bit - there are a lot of ideas for do it yourself fret files out there that don't cost much if anything at all.
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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KevSmith said Mar 21, 2014 11:21:32
Sounds like a bit of con to me. If you need to give the frets a once over you can use a sprit level, stick on some wet and dry and away you go.
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vambostrausser said Mar 21, 2014 18:33:00
To PAREJ JOZSEF
This Person (me) can answer your question.This product does what it says,it will level and crown your frets.Care is needed as they give you a to heavy grade abrasive to start the process.You can replace the grades of material with MICRO MESH easily available on the net and much much better quality.You should be able to get about three uses out of the abrasives they supply.
Is it a con, NO is the answer,just a simple way of dressing frets.I also suggest you set the neck straight.
A WORD OF WARNING
I STRONGLY ADVISE ANYONE WHO IS THINKING OF BUYING ONE OF THESE WHO HAS A BOUND NECK GUITAR TO MAKE SURE YOU GO WELL OVER THE BINDING WITH MASKING TAPE AND TAPE IN BETWEEN THE FRETS BINDING SIDE, OTHERWISE YOU RISK RIPPING THE CLEAR COAT OFF.

HOPE THAT HELPS
THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT,THE GIRL IS MUCH TOO YOUNG TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE
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ParéjJózsef said Mar 21, 2014 19:13:20
wow. if it actually works, I can replace the abresive easily- my father is a car painter, he knows really much about sandpaper types and other abresives, he can help me out getting the right one for sure, and he even has discount on these stuff. I have a spare neck laying around that needs a fretjob and crowning, I'll test it on that neck, if it is safe, i'll hit my new guitar with it, and write a report on both the guitar and the level tool.
Just call me Joe ;)
Proud owner of my 7-string "Bear" LP.
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vambostrausser said Mar 21, 2014 21:01:41
To PAREJ JOZSEF
Please wait,for few days before buying this.I have lent mine to someone,I will try to get them to send it to you,you can try for the cost of sending it back to me,that way you can judge for yourself with out spending nearly 40 usd,how does that sound to you.I will not give my email out on this forum,but I can send you a link via YOUTUBE I do not use FACEBOOK SO I CANNOT BE CONTACTED THAT WAY.
THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT,THE GIRL IS MUCH TOO YOUNG TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE
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ParéjJózsef said Mar 21, 2014 22:32:21
Thank you, but it is really not necessary :) I believe postage fees to hungary and back would add up to even more, and I'm still not 100% on getting one because so far I don't know if I'll need it, I will check the guitar when it arrives,and decide then.
Just call me Joe ;)
Proud owner of my 7-string "Bear" LP.
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MichaelWamback said Mar 21, 2014 23:21:56
First thing is to have a good fret rocker. It doesn't need to be one of the proper ones, but it does need a machine edge (perfectly straight) with enough variations of size to span just 3 frets as they get closer together. Without a fret rocker, you can't properly diagnose the frets - since you can't always tell by eye. Even the super fine dust left behind on the fret by the crowning diamond crowing file is enough to be detected by the rocker if I forget to wipe off the fret before rechecking it. No way to properly tell how good/bad your frets are without one.
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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ParéjJózsef said Mar 22, 2014 07:17:49
I ordered one already :)
Just call me Joe ;)
Proud owner of my 7-string "Bear" LP.
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littlericky325 said Mar 23, 2014 17:00:10
I know you ordered it already but I use the bar sanders, specifically the 11" & 22". They're inexpensive and dead flat



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ParéjJózsef said Mar 23, 2014 18:25:22
I meant thee fret rocker, I haven't ordered the leveler, since I'm nut sure I'll need it with my purchase.
Just call me Joe ;)
Proud owner of my 7-string "Bear" LP.
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MichaelWamback said Mar 23, 2014 23:32:54
The two most valuable tools for me are a fret rocker and a diamond crowning file. I can actually fix a lot of fret issues that create buzz with jut those. If all the frets are all over the place, then a level makes a lot of sense. But if it's just one fret that is high, I can shave it down with the crowning file and just keep checking with the rocker until everything is perfect. And since you are only checking the fret in relation to the frets on either side of it, the span isn't great enough that relief even comes into play. I would definitely spend my money on those two tools first - and trust me, you don't want to scrimp on a crowning file. It's an expensive tool, but one fret job alone will pay for it - and you save money every time you use it after. Like a good friend once said, better to cry once when you buy a tool than every time you use it.
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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SteveTebble said Mar 25, 2014 19:07:16
I've just come across a thread in the Telecaster forum (TDPRI) in which Ron Kirn says don't touch it.

If Ron Kirn says that, it's good enough for me.
[Last edited Mar 25, 2014 19:08:27]
God give me patience ... but I want it NOW!!
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