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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-31-2015, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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1st fret too short

Hello,
so I confirmed that the 1st fret is shorter than the 2nd, on my uv70p. I know the options :
1) replace the fret -> fret level -> fret crown -> fret edge's rounding
2) remove the fret, re-shape to 16" radius, form some kind of very thin shim, (most probably around the slot), and re-install the fret
3) a new way that I have thought of, apply a thin layer of two-part liquid metal epoxy to the crown's top, and then shape/crown the top

I have tried option 2 on my Carvin, and the process was scary as hell. I did it because my FranKarvin has already got more beating that it could possibly handle, so it was no big deal experimenting with this. But the new Ibby? After all those pints of sweat to make it right? I do not dare to do this. Also I would not like option 1, since leveling by definition could possibly take "some" metal from the tips of the rest of the frets, and I definitely do not want that, buy any means. So that leaves only option 3. What do you think? Have you ever wanted to raise a single fret?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-31-2015, 04:32 PM
 
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Re: 1st fret too short

Quote:
Originally Posted by panix View Post
Hello,
so I confirmed that the 1st fret is shorter than the 2nd, on my uv70p. I know the options :
1) replace the fret -> fret level -> fret crown -> fret edge's rounding
2) remove the fret, re-shape to 16" radius, form some kind of very thin shim, (most probably around the slot), and re-install the fret
3) a new way that I have thought of, apply a thin layer of two-part liquid metal epoxy to the crown's top, and then shape/crown the top

I have tried option 2 on my Carvin, and the process was scary as hell. I did it because my FranKarvin has already got more beating that it could possibly handle, so it was no big deal experimenting with this. But the new Ibby? After all those pints of sweat to make it right? I do not dare to do this. Also I would not like option 1, since leveling by definition could possibly take "some" metal from the tips of the rest of the frets, and I definitely do not want that, buy any means. So that leaves only option 3. What do you think? Have you ever wanted to raise a single fret?
No matter what you do, you'll need to level all of the frets together. The easiest option would be to pull the first fret and replace it. Option 3, IMO, sounds ridiculous.

Also, how did you confirm that the first fret is low?
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-31-2015, 09:45 PM
 
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Re: 1st fret too short

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Originally Posted by RGTFanatic View Post
No matter what you do, you'll need to level all of the frets together. The easiest option would be to pull the first fret and replace it. Option 3, IMO, sounds ridiculous.

Also, how did you confirm that the first fret is low?
agreed. Do you have a set of calipers that you can actually measure the height of the fret?

If not what line of thinking leads you to believe that the first fret is too short ? Is it possible the second fret is too tall ?
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2015, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1st fret too short

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Originally Posted by RGTFanatic View Post
No matter what you do, you'll need to level all of the frets together. The easiest option would be to pull the first fret and replace it. Option 3, IMO, sounds ridiculous.

Also, how did you confirm that the first fret is low?
Re-read the original post, levelling the rest of frets is not gonna happen. It is 100% idiotic eating away metal (=life) from the healthy frets just for the sake of one short one. I confirmed the 1st one is low by using the fret-rocker test. 2nd fret is just a little shorter than 3rd, so clearly 1st is shortest of all.
3rd option is the least intrusive way. Nut height as is, just begs for the 1st fret to be a tad taller. I would re-use option 3 to re-shape "sitar-sounding" nuts and saddles any time. About steel reinforced slow curing liquid metal epoxy acting as fret material, I agree it is too soft and bending strings will act as filing on it, but it is the just 1st fret, how often do you bend on the 1st fret?
I will do it most probably and come back to share the results. In the meantime, avoid terms like "ridiculous" for things you haven't tested.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2015, 12:45 AM
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Re: 1st fret too short

You haven't confirmed any fret is shorter, you've confirmed they're below the next, which is more likely backbow at the first than it is a fret shorter than the next. In which case a level is the answer, and was always the only answer even if the first was a shorter fret.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2015, 01:04 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1st fret too short

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Originally Posted by j.arledge View Post
agreed. Do you have a set of calipers that you can actually measure the height of the fret?

If not what line of thinking leads you to believe that the first fret is too short ? Is it possible the second fret is too tall ?
Hmmm, nice observation. To be frank I tried to verify the difference in height between 1st,2nd,3rd frets, but was not able to do so, neither by using a digital calliper, nor by using a set of 0.05->1mm filler gauges. The string height seems to be close to the 0.25mm mark both for 1st and 2nd frets. Maybe there is simply not enough precision to measure this correctly. By using the digital calliper to measure the actual fret height, I think is less reliable since a slight deviation from the perpendicular position gives way too off results.
But what is certain is that when I fret on the 2nd fret, there is some clearance between string and the 3rd fret. When I fret on the 1st fret, the string almost touches the 2nd fret. Maybe it is the wood underneath and not the fret itself?
Of course all this, is under a setup in the "silly low" territory as per ibanezrules.com's article.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2015, 01:40 AM
 
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Re: 1st fret too short

Is the guitar fretting out ? Sometimes the frets can pop up a little in the middle. The frets are over radius before being pressed or hammered in and sometimes they can pop up a little if not seated correctly. I have had to hammer down a fret or two after setting up customer's guitars.

with a digital caliber you should be able to measure the neck thickness right in front and right behind the fret then including the fret. Subtract the neck thickness and you have fret height.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2015, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1st fret too short

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Originally Posted by j.arledge View Post
Is the guitar fretting out ? Sometimes the frets can pop up a little in the middle. The frets are over radius before being pressed or hammered in and sometimes they can pop up a little if not seated correctly. I have had to hammer down a fret or two after setting up customer's guitars.

with a digital caliber you should be able to measure the neck thickness right in front and right behind the fret then including the fret. Subtract the neck thickness and you have fret height.
Thanks, those frets do not seem like they are not seated properly. If this was the case, the culprit should be the 2nd fret,3rd fret and so on. But all of them seem consistently tight in their slots, including fret 1. The guitar had impressive fretwork, one of the reasons I kept it. Its just this one fret, which buzzes under medium->heavy picking hand.

Next time, i de-string the guitar I will measure the fret's heights via the calliper method you suggested. Thank you for this!

Last edited by panix; 06-01-2015 at 02:59 AM.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2015, 02:36 AM
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Re: 1st fret too short

BTW I owe you an apology. A customer of mine broke a Premium pad bolt same as yours. So evidently it's either just extremely poor metallurgy, or at least one batch of them had poor metallurgy.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2015, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1st fret too short

I did the measurement as per j.arledge's advice but didn't find anything spectacular. Bare wood avg width at 1st fret 19.39mm, and 19.40 at 2nd. Total width with frets included 20.85->20.90mm on 1st, and 20.87->20.93 on second. So height of 2nd fret is 1.5mm while height of 1st 1.48mm. Overall I dont consider this method reliable at all, nor consistent. The slightest play and the readings go way off, anyway, I wonder if those 0.02 mm might be the culprit, or even be "detected" by the fret rocker method. Is it possible that 0.02 of a mm might make such difference?
By eye I don't see any back bow, or any other anomaly on the fretboard or frets, of any kind. The guitar had a slight twist from the very first day, 0.05+ of relief on low B gave almost zero (but slightly greater than zero) relief on high E (which is considered a desirable "feature" by many). Nothing is visually wrong.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2015, 10:42 AM
 
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Re: 1st fret too short

Is that really a do-able thing, I wondered that recently? Pulling, then either replace or can you even reshape, reuse the fret and leave the board looking as pristine as the rest of the board? I suppose you'd still have to tweak the overall level afterward? I somewhat recently bought a $200 Jackson JS22-7 Dinky so I could start playing (any) 7 string. I never saw the Ibanez GRG7221 or I probably would have got that. Anyway, the 12th fret on the Dinky was pressed in differently/lower than all the other frets (I could easily see it sighting down the neck either way). I ended up doing a complete level and recrown, a moderate amount but the frets are so huge on it that there's plenty left.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2015, 11:31 AM
 
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Re: 1st fret too short

If you're going for insanely low action even small inconsistancies can make big differences. From what I've read so far you problem could be one of several different things (which I think have been covered). The most likely of which are:
1. 1st fret too low
2. 2nd fret too high
3. frets not properly seated
4. slight twist or backbow at the top of the neck.

Depending on the which problem is the culprit and the severity of it eyeballing it probably won't show anything. First thing I would do is make sure the neck isn't back bowed by putting a straight edge on it. You'd need to use one of those straight edges with the notches cut out at the fret positions for an accurate measurement. A bright flashlight will aslo be helpful. Shine it on the fretboard where the straight edge makes contact. If you see light coming through the other side anywhere it's not perfectly level there. If you eliminate this as the problem then move on to the frets.

Onto the frets start with the fret rocker method. Put it on the first three frets if it rocks that will tell you 1 of 3 things: either the 1st fret or the 3rd fret is too low or the 2nd fret is too high. Put the rocker on the 2nd, 3rd & 4th fret and note the results, this will narrow down which fret is the problem. If it doesn't rock & is making contact with each fret then the first fret is too low, replace this fret. If it doesn't rock but is not making contact with the 3rd fret then the 2nd fret may be too high, and/or the 3rd fret is too low. Putting the rocker on the 3rd, 4th & 5th fret will help verify which is the problem fret. If all is good on the 3rd, 4th & 5th fret then you know the 2nd fret is too high. If this is the case first make sure the fret is seated all the way then level it. If it rocks then most likely the 3rd fret is too low but the 2nd fret could still be too high. If this happens you should proabbaly go all the way down the fretboard to make sure everything else is good making note of any problem areas. at this point you can replace and/or level any problem frets.

If you haven't gotten any good results at this point it's time to pull out the digital calipers and measure the fret hights using j.arledge's method. Measure at several points along the width of the frets. I can understand your reluctance to trust this but if you do it properly the results will be accurate. Since the fretboard & back of the neck is curved the trick is to make sure the caliper is parallel to the flat part on the side of the neck. You want to make sure that where the caliper contacts the top and bottom of the neck is a straight parallel line. It's tricky but can be done, make some pencil marks on the neck for measuring points if you need to.

If you've gone this far you should have been able to fully identify the problem area and fix it accordingly.

Honestly I think verifying the neck is straight replace the top 2 or 3 frets and then doing a full fret level would be the quickest, easiest thing to do and save you alot of trouble. From what you've described the unevenness isn't that severe so a full fret level probably wouldn't take that much off of the life of the frets. It's possible to just replace one or two frets and get them even with the others without having to do a full level but it will take careful and precise work. In the end even if you only replace one fret you'll probably still have to go through and do a slight full fret level to get everything straight.

Sorry if it seem like I'm giving you baby steps on stuff you already know but I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything major. I hope this helps and good luck.

Last edited by madasahatter; 06-01-2015 at 11:51 AM.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2015, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1st fret too short

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Originally Posted by scorson View Post
Is that really a do-able thing, I wondered that recently? Pulling, then either replace or can you even reshape, reuse the fret and leave the board looking as pristine as the rest of the board? I suppose you'd still have to tweak the overall level afterward? I somewhat recently bought a $200 Jackson JS22-7 Dinky so I could start playing (any) 7 string. I never saw the Ibanez GRG7221 or I probably would have got that. Anyway, the 12th fret on the Dinky was pressed in differently/lower than all the other frets (I could easily see it sighting down the neck either way). I ended up doing a complete level and recrown, a moderate amount but the frets are so huge on it that there's plenty left.
Using the same fret is doable. I did it 3 days ago on my Carvin, or should I say FranKarvin. However I had the fretboard chipped, now matter how I heated the frets, or was cautious with the flush fret puller. Simply buying the right (but expensive) pro tools for a one-off job does not make business sense, while not having them might end up ugly. But If someone is experienced in pulling out, then i think it is 100% doable. Even some sort of shim under the crown's base can work.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2015, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1st fret too short

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Originally Posted by madasahatter View Post
If you're going for insanely low action even small inconsistancies can make big differences. From what I've read so far you problem could be one of several different things (which I think have been covered). The most likely of which are:
1. 1st fret too low
2. 2nd fret too high
3. frets not properly seated
4. slight twist or backbow at the top of the neck.

Depending on the which problem is the culprit and the severity of it eyeballing it probably won't show anything. First thing I would do is make sure the neck isn't back bowed by putting a straight edge on it. You'd need to use one of those straight edges with the notches cut out at the fret positions for an accurate measurement. A bright flashlight will aslo be helpful. Shine it on the fretboard where the straight edge makes contact. If you see light coming through the other side anywhere it's not perfectly level there. If you eliminate this as the problem then move on to the frets.

Onto the frets start with the fret rocker method. Put it on the first three frets if it rocks that will tell you 1 of 3 things: either the 1st fret or the 3rd fret is too low or the 2nd fret is too high. Put the rocker on the 2nd, 3rd & 4th fret and note the results, this will narrow down which fret is the problem. If it doesn't rock & is making contact with each fret then the first fret is too low, replace this fret. If it doesn't rock but is not making contact with the 3rd fret then the 2nd fret may be too high, and/or the 3rd fret is too low. Putting the rocker on the 3rd, 4th & 5th fret will help verify which is the problem fret. If all is good on the 3rd, 4th & 5th fret then you know the 2nd fret is too high. If this is the case first make sure the fret is seated all the way then level it. If it rocks then most likely the 3rd fret is too low but the 2nd fret could still be too high. If this happens you should proabbaly go all the way down the fretboard to make sure everything else is good making note of any problem areas. at this point you can replace and/or level any problem frets.

If you haven't gotten any good results at this point it's time to pull out the digital calipers and measure the fret hights using j.arledge's method. Measure at several points along the width of the frets. I can understand your reluctance to trust this but if you do it properly the results will be accurate. Since the fretboard & back of the neck is curved the trick is to make sure the caliper is parallel to the flat part on the side of the neck. You want to make sure that where the caliper contacts the top and bottom of the neck is a straight parallel line. It's tricky but can be done, make some pencil marks on the neck for measuring points if you need to.

If you've gone this far you should have been able to fully identify the problem area and fix it accordingly.

Honestly I think verifying the neck is straight replace the top 2 or 3 frets and then doing a full fret level would be the quickest, easiest thing to do and save you alot of trouble. From what you've described the unevenness isn't that severe so a full fret level probably wouldn't take that much off of the life of the frets. It's possible to just replace one or two frets and get them even with the others without having to do a full level but it will take careful and precise work. In the end even if you only replace one fret you'll probably still have to go through and do a slight full fret level to get everything straight.

Sorry if it seem like I'm giving you baby steps on stuff you already know but I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything major. I hope this helps and good luck.
Thanx man for your good points there. I think it is just the 1st fret. The visual clearance by fretting each fret points at this direction as well as the fret rocker method (its even on the rest of frets).
Now about the calliper method I just went for the minimum of all measurements parallel (as parallel as a straight line can be to 16" radius'ed fretboard/frets) to the fretboard. At the point when it stopped decreasing and started increasing, I used that figure. Now can 0.02 of difference in height make such a audible difference ?
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