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Best Time to Install Frets
Author
Post
ejko

Total Topics: 24
Total Posts: 113
Has anyone found it to be an advantage to install frets before attaching the fingerboard to the neck versus after?

Ed

Jul 22, 06 | 10:50 am
jhowell

Total Topics: 37
Total Posts: 676
Ed--

In my opinion, it should be done the old fashioned way. The fret board should be installed on the neck and the neck set in the guitar. There is a way to simulate the tension of strings by supporting the neck at the headstock and then placing a six pound weight on each side of the upper bout. The truss rod can then be adjusted to straighen the neck.

This is when one should do the final leveling of the fret board prior to the actual fretting. No buzzes! No 14th fret hump!

Dan Erlewine's book on guitar repair should be in everyone's library. His chapters on setups are invaluable to making a guitar playable. The book explains this in way more detail and if your checkbook can stand it, a neck jig is the way to go.

--Jim

Jul 22, 06 | 1:12 pm
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
For what it is worth on my steel string and the mando I fretted the board before gluing to the neck, while on the classical I did it afterwards.

When fretted the board will take on a back bow because the frets push the slots apart. If the board is off the guitar it is real easy to support it while pressing them in, and when clamped to the neck it will flatten out. I dealt with the neck relief last. On the mando from the 15 fret on there is no way to support under the board once it is on the neck. Plus, mando necks are often bound - much easier to do with the board off the neck (I discussed how I'm doing this in another thread).

On a classical the relief is plained into the board - there is no truss rod. While you could do this before gluing it up, it was much easier to glue the fretboard on, plane the relief and deal with the action height before adding the frets. A little crowning and clean up and we were good to go.

I used a heavy piece of brass as an anvil inside the classical when hammering the frets in. The little half pieces where just superglued in.

Jul 27, 06 | 1:05 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
If the frets are the right match for the fret slots “in my opinion” there is no reason that they cannot be installed before the board is assembled to the neck. I have always completed the fingerboard before they are assembled to the neck. Never had a problem. Think about it --- if the frets tangs are too wide they are going to cause a back bow whether the board in on or off the neck. I'd rather know before hand if the board were going to be shaped like a “C” before it is assembled. Take a look at my methods page --- the board is flat when I start and it is flat when I am finished .023 tangs ---- .023 http://www.kennethmichaelguitars.com/fret.html
Doing a re-fret job is a different subject --- I like Don Teeter’s epoxy method. Keep It Simple!

Ken ------ Kenneth Michael Guitars

[Edited by Admin to fix link 7/28]



Jul 27, 06 | 2:35 pm
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
Ken,

Link doesn't seem to work.

Ed

Jul 27, 06 | 2:42 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Sorry Ed, I screwed something up try this

http://www.kennethmichaelguitars.com/fret.html

Ken ------ KMG

Jul 27, 06 | 3:07 pm
JimB

Total Topics: 13
Total Posts: 89
What if you are binding the fretboard - what do you suggest in that regard - any help?

JB

Jul 31, 06 | 8:51 am
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
I wound up fretting before installing the fretboard on the neck. I figured doing it the traditional way (first gluing the fretboard to the neck and then assembling the unit to the body) held a bit too much risk (re' the frets over the body) for a newbie like me.

It did comeout quite well. Also, after 'fearing' fret installation, I found it to be pretty straightforward.

Ed.

Jul 31, 06 | 3:57 pm
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
Jim, the little bit I know about binding the fretboard is that on the mandolin Siminoff says to first fret the board, file the frets flush with the edge (but do not bevel), then bind it. The binding on the manodin is very thin - about 0.020 inch. It is flush with the bottom of the board and extends above the top of the board to about the height of the fret wire. Siminoff says to now scrape it between the fretwire to the top of the board leaving a little bit of binding at the frets. Then bevel the tops of the frets and the top edge of the binding at about 30 degrees as usual.

I haven't tried it yet, but looking at a friends mando that looks right.

If the binding were thicker or some sort of wood instead of plastic I would think you could either slot through it and have the ends of the tangs flush with the outside of the binding (just like an unbound board) or best, to grind back the tang at the ends so it fits inside the binding with the fret itself extending to the edge.

Lastly, the bound fretboard on my very old Dobro is routed only partway down the thickness of the board. The frets exend to the binding, but not past it. The binding, like the mando, is very thin.

Aug 01, 06 | 6:16 am
jhowell

Total Topics: 37
Total Posts: 676
I'm thinking that if you bind the fretboard first you will have to get a fret tang nipper from Stew-Mac to trim about 1/8" of the tang off of the bottom of each end of each fret. It would be basically the same operation that would have to be done for a re-fret.

Aug 01, 06 | 2:59 pm



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