Crowning frets. - Jemsite
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2012, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
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Crowning frets.

Okay, so my new (7 years old) Ibanez RG370DX is far from singing. I have been able to make minor improvements, but now i am stuck at the next problem.

The .118 jumbo frets are pretty played out and i have checked StewMac for crowning files, they don't really mention any sizes there so i wouldn't know which one to buy and ontop of that those files cost way too much to keep for just doing one guitar.

Now i don't want to mess the fretboard up, i tried crowning an old 7 string russian guitar from 1953 which i practiced for a while with, before i got myself the electric. It's actually a miracle the russian acoustic is still intact, so i wouldn't really mind if i messed anything up on it. I used an ordinary but small double cut flat file really carefully, just to get the feel for it. And i gotta say... this is going to be a serious pain in the ass without a fret crowning file.

Another idea i had was to get a 3 corner, three square whatever it is - file from a local hardware store and polish the edges off so that it would be like the one that luthiers use.

And my last idea was to completely remove the frets from the board and buy new ones, which i actually found to be 2x cheaper than a crowning file of the lowest price.

The frets themselves are 6000 accu-frets apparently, but on the ibanez webpage it just says they are Jumbo.

Though i would have no idea how to remove the frets, heheheh. One or two frets seem like they have some kind of GLUE residue under them near the body of the guitar. It's really hard to notice, but it's there allright. And the neck edges are covered with white lining, not sure what material, so the only visible parts are the tops of the frets themselves basically. I don't want to pay to a luthier i prefer doing it myself. Might take some time, sure, but at least i wont have to go to a luthier every time i find my frets dead from playing.

Advice?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2012, 02:52 PM
 
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Re: Crowning frets.

You would still need to level and crown new frets.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2012, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Crowning frets.

Hmm, are you sure?

The particular one's i have in mind are these :

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DUNLOP-ACC...item4cfdbfdb83

I was hoping they were already crowned and all you had to do was put them on.

I know that isn't usually the case, but hell, what do i know.

Oh well... going to need that file after all i guess.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2012, 03:24 PM
 
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Re: Crowning frets.

I think you have to level and crown new frets, besides i don't think changing frets every time you need a recrown is good for the fretboard.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2012, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Crowning frets.

I guess you are right on that, it's what i thought at first too. Rather file them and play until there's nothing left to file before getting new frets.

But damn i don't want to risk with any other than a quality fret file, at least not on the ibanez.

Anyone selling an old, but usable fret file, .118 size?

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2012, 04:48 PM
 
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2012, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Crowning frets.

Thanks for that link Zoot!

That answered a lot of my questions and i will save it for future reference.



But right now, my mission is going to be to find a fret file for around 20 bucks or less :P

A file is a file... the only reason they cost more than regular ones is because the demand is higher, making a fret file in the factory is in no way any more expensive than making a regular file that you can get for 5 bucks.

It's just principle, unless it's a diamond file i ain't paying more than 20 bucks for a piece of metal that has been turned into a file. But since i won't need a diamond file unless i were to crown thousands of instruments it's not gonna be worth it.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2012, 05:13 PM
 
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Re: Crowning frets.

"A file is a file"?

Good tools is half the job, period!
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2012, 05:19 PM
 
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Re: Crowning frets.

You file the high frets to meet the low ones, leveling.
I cut a fine tooth hardware store file in half and used epoxy to attach it to a wooden handle I made out of some scrap wood. A good straight edge will show you the high spots.
You don't have to file them all. I found that the most wear was on the frets between 12 and 20 on my guitar. I realized if I filed down the higher frets a little, 20 - 24, I was able to get them out of the way of the lower frets that were buzzing on them. Then I cleaned them up with steel wool. I shimmed the nut up a little and lowered the trem. Tada! Low action with no buzz!
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2012, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Crowning frets.

Yes i know it's half of the job, but in my case there's less skill so i need to compensate that with a better tool. Makes sense, no?

I would practice on an old guitar anyways before moving onto my real one and if i wouldn't still feel confident in doing it after finishing on the old one i would just take my guitar to a luthier, but the point is, they don't really sell these files anywhere around here and i'm probably going to have to order it from some place.

I have read some people make their own "fret files" from wood that have a hole drilled, then half cut away and the groove fitted with sandpaper. I can't really imagine fitting a piece of sandpaper as small as the fret into a groove when the sandpaper is so fat it doesn't even bend.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2012, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Crowning frets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sebastian View Post
You file the high frets to meet the low ones, leveling.
I cut a fine tooth hardware store file in half and used epoxy to attach it to a wooden handle I made out of some scrap wood. A good straight edge will show you the high spots.
You don't have to file them all. I found that the most wear was on the frets between 12 and 20 on my guitar. I realized if I filed down the higher frets a little, 20 - 24, I was able to get them out of the way of the lower frets that were buzzing on them. Then I cleaned them up with steel wool. I shimmed the nut up a little and lowered the trem. Tada! Low action with no buzz!
Yeah, i would probably have to level a few of them, although it seems like all the frets are going to need crowning, or well, shaping them into the fret shape that is required for better sustain and intonation. I hope i haven't been using the wrong word the whole time... That IS crowning isn't it? When the fret is flat and you need it to be round on the top. That's actually the main cause of the buzzing as far as i have read, when there is a larger surface area for the string to contact and it vibrates on top of it.

The previous users have played the crap out of this guitar and nearly all the frets are flat to some degree on the top.

Besides, without a crowning file there's no point for me to level them. Unless i have misunderstood something.

I could use any regular file for leveling, those i have, but unfortunately they do not sell files with such small grooves in them at the hardware store which you could reshape or modify to fit the job of crowning the frets.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2012, 05:31 PM
 
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Re: Crowning frets.

I file from headstock to bridge along several frets at once, not all of them, just target areas.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2012, 05:42 PM
 
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Re: Crowning frets.

All im saying is,dont save on some proper tools to make your life a whole lot easier.
I understand what your saying. practice makes perfect right?
Anyway, if you have glued frets that you want to take out, then heat them with a solder iron so the glue softens and the fretslots expand a little which makes it a lot easier to take m out without damaging the fretboard.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2012, 06:33 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Crowning frets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Death.by.G-string View Post
All im saying is,dont save on some proper tools to make your life a whole lot easier.
I understand what your saying. practice makes perfect right?
Anyway, if you have glued frets that you want to take out, then heat them with a solder iron so the glue softens and the fretslots expand a little which makes it a lot easier to take m out without damaging the fretboard.

Yeah, when it comes to the time the frets need to be replaced i will keep that in mind. But like someone advised, it's not a good idea to replace the frets if the existing ones can still be leveled and re-crowned.

Of course i don't want to buy the best kind of tools there are, it's just that i am practically new to this guitar thing.

I bought this ( my first electric ) just a week or two ago basically.

Prior to that the only experience i had with playing guitar was on a 1953 7 string russian guitar that was in such a bad shape it doesn't even deserve to be called a guitar.

BUT, since i am an idiot and although i thought i did enough research before buying my first electric, i still ended up with the ibanez RG370DX which was in a BAD shape and has the floyd tremolo system which is absolutely not advised for someone who is just starting to learn how to play guitar.

Luckily i overcame the difficulty of educating myself about how it works and the correct way of setting it up thanks to the internet and this brilliant site in just a few days.

The guitar is now tuned properly, albeit not 100% correctly intonated, yet definitely sounds a hundred times better than the russian corpse.

All the electronics are working properly, i cleaned the fretboard, the edge 3 tremolo was dirty and awfully adjusted. The previous owner had put the saddles in the wrong order removing the essential arc from the bridge and stuck shims in places where they weren't necessary. I put new strings on it, some screws holding the back plate, input/output connector and the pickup selector were loose because the grooves were gone, had to use some glue and toothpicks to fill the holes.

Now the only things left stopping me from really enjoying this guitar are the frets and probably a truss rod adjustment which i do not believe is actually necessary, because the neck seems very properly aligned, but that is better observed after the frets have been dealt with.

On the positive side i got myself a very versatile guitar for the first instrument and learned a lot before i was able to play it, on the negative side i have had less time to play it and this particular guitar is going to need a lot more maintenance and care, not only now, but also in the future than any other good beginners electric guitar without a floating tremolo.

But i am very happy with the Wizard neck and the tremolo system.

What's also nice is that one of the previous owners have painted it into a nice glossy dark cherry red color which i believe isn't in the selectable colors range for this guitar when buying one.

Sorry for all the drivel, i'm just very content to restore this thing into it's former glory heheh.

Since i have already gone through most of the trouble on this thing without taking it to a luthier and paying half the price of the guitar, i don't see why i should stop now.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-04-2012, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Crowning frets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sebastian View Post
I file from headstock to bridge along several frets at once, not all of them, just target areas.
Do you file when the neck is under tension or without?

I read here:

http://www.richbeckguitars.com/refre...ho_to_ask.html

That when leveling it's better to mimick the tension of the strings because that's how the frets will be really leveled like when you play the guitar.
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