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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Bought some files

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M Tracy
Contributing Member
*******

Lafayette IN

Aug 17th, 2017 02:25 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have one of the diamond crowning files and a set of nut files from AES. The nut files seem to work as well as my Stewmac files. I actually prefer the crowning file file from AES to the Stewmac file. I've only used the diamond crowning file so I can't comment on the standard files. I've been happy with everything I've bought from AES.

wrnchbndr
Contributing Member
**********
*

New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
Aug 17th, 2017 07:45 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The key to the diamond files is to not work them hard and generate heat. They are awesome but they'll wear out if you're hard on them. Hit with a stainless wire brush every few frets. The nickel alloy can gum them up. Treat em well and they'll last for years.

Hammond101
Contributing Member
**********

So. Cal. USA

Aug 18th, 2017 10:17 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Dremel, yeah right. That will take 'em down!

I can sometimes get a few high spots down with just a crowning file. I mark the top of the high area with a sharpie and check my progress with the fret rocker.

The trick is knowing whether it is actually a high fret or the fret(s) around it are low. Making the neck flat before checking with the truss rod is a must. Use a straight edge to get an idea if you have low or high fret(s) identified by the rocker.

If you have low spots you pretty much have to level the entire neck and re-crown or at least from that area toward the bridge.

Therealfrogman
Contributing Member
*****

Pueblo, Co

Relics produce tone, man.....
Aug 18th, 2017 11:17 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks for the advice. I found a video with a guy using a credit card to find a high fret, then he leveled it and crowned it with a regular looking file in around 6 minutes.

Makes me feel pretty inadequate. I always mess things up. I am going to take my time with this.

(This message was last edited by Therealfrogman at 02:24 PM, Aug 18th, 2017)

Hammond101
Contributing Member
**********

So. Cal. USA

Aug 18th, 2017 12:33 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

If you go slow and think about what is happening it will all work out. Ask more questions if needed because the only stupid question is the one that's not asked.

FunkyKikuchiyo

VT

Aug 19th, 2017 09:21 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Ditto on what Hammond says.

Generally, if someone has a really good, firm grasp on setups, then leveling/crowning is a very easy extension of that. Setups require a lot more demystifying, and wrapping your head around neck geometry is pretty easy once you've done that.

As far as a tool for leveling, any block that is either reasonably flat, or that you can flatten yourself easily is fine. It doesn't need to be NASA level, but reasonably precise. My constant favorite is a 3/4" quarter sawn maple block. I periodically flatten it with sticky sand paper and a flat stone. A thick piece of glass with sand paper on it works quite nicely to flatten a block, too. The flatter the better, but don't overthink it... technique is more important than tool tolerance after a certain point.

If you have old plane soles around, you can use them with sticky sandpaper with the iron drawn in.

You can also get reasonably cheap aluminum bar sanders. I use them during refrets, but don't much care for how they feel for fret leveling, but that's just me.

External link

Mick Reid

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Aug 19th, 2017 11:01 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hey frogman.
No real advice for you. Mostly just words of encouragement.
I did my first full level & crown earlier this year and with the advice and guidance of the good folk here, I achieved a very good result.
The neck went on my latest build and plays great.

FWIW, I have radiused hardwood sanding blocks (7.25",9",10",12") but I also bought a 8" Stainless Steel flat sanding beam from Stew Mac since acquiring a neck with a compound radius.

I've not yet tackled the a compound yet, but feel confident I can do it (again because what I've learnt here).

I've also upgraded my crowning file set since the first job too.

So, listen to the dudes above and you'll be fine!

Cheers,
Mick

Therealfrogman
Contributing Member
*****

Pueblo, Co

Relics produce tone, man.....
Aug 20th, 2017 12:52 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

This could get pretty wordy...I am going to spare you.

Turned out very good and I learned allot! How to hold a file (flat type) for leveling, the crowning files were pretty easy to figure out and I have a nice jewelers magnifier with LED lights so I could see the crowning real well.

I really enjoyed this, all 4 hours of it. I bought some fret erasers a while back so cleaning them up was simple. They are not mirror but they are nice. Very happy with learning this.

FunkyKikuchiyo

VT

Aug 20th, 2017 02:39 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Excellent! You'll be amazed how much better pretty much any guitar will be by doing this. Most of the time the great results of a fret dress are 20% from being leveled and 80% from the recrown and polish... flat frets are no fun, and are frequently a feature on brand new guitars.

Mick Reid

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Aug 20th, 2017 03:57 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Glad I could help - LOL!!!

;^p

Glad to hear you got a good result. It's very rewarding itn't it???

Therealfrogman
Contributing Member
*****

Pueblo, Co

Relics produce tone, man.....
Aug 20th, 2017 04:23 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yes, it is. My shoulder hurts from patting myself on the back. Literally a giddy feeling of studliness. I never shared the crazy experience I had with the one and only luthier in town and because it made me so crazy pissed off I will again spare you guys.

It is also a pleasure to have the basic tools.

Mick, why did you upgrade your crowning files so quickly?



Mick Reid

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Aug 20th, 2017 05:30 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Mick, why did you upgrade your crowning files so quickly?"

Because I cheaped-out with the first ones.

The original "tool" I got were not "traditional" files but a holder/handle that accepts replaceable file inserts. (see link)

I found it cumbersome and the "bits" weren't very smooth cutting (maybe crap steel?) and I really had to work hard to remove material.

The tool was 'Made in the USA' but that doesn't mean as much as it use to. No offence.
To be fair, it could also have been my lack of experience to that point.

Put it in the live & learn department...

External link

FunkyKikuchiyo

VT

Aug 20th, 2017 09:00 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Ugh. I keep hearing so, so many stories about crummy "luthiers", that is why I love coming here and helping out the DIY crowd. I get so much bad second hand work through my shop, it is truly embarrassing to the profession.

Maybe I should just start a youtube instructional channel and hang up my other professional services. Power to the players, and all that jazz. ;)

Therealfrogman
Contributing Member
*****

Pueblo, Co

Relics produce tone, man.....
Aug 29th, 2017 03:12 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Instead of starting another thread I was hoping someone could explain the dead high e or b string.

Seems that I have had several guitars that just had dead high strings and I think it is the nut slot causing this. A bad slot angle? I am working on a parts tele rosewood neck that I did some fret work on, frets are great but I think I am butchering the nut when I lower the strings to a comfortable level.

I do not have a proper file set so I am sure that has everything to do with it, I want to buy a couple for the .010 and 0.13 strings and I have a couple of bone pre-slotted nuts coming. This part of building seems to be the hardest.

Mick Reid

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Aug 29th, 2017 03:36 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

You may a need to start a new thread to get your answer but, describe "dead".

More info on what's happening & where.

Therealfrogman
Contributing Member
*****

Pueblo, Co

Relics produce tone, man.....
Aug 29th, 2017 03:48 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

By dead I mean when I hit the string it just fuzzes out, the vibration just is not there and somewhat muted. I know it is not pickup height and the string has plenty of distance from the first fret.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Aug 29th, 2017 05:15 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yes, a poorly cut nut can kill sustain (on open strings). Slot too deep (buzzing on first fret), nut material too soft, slot too wide, slot parallel to, or angled down towards, the fingerboard, bottom of slot not smooth. Also look for insufficient break angle over the nut.

Saddles can also cause sustain problems, though that's less common.

(This message was last edited by Te 52 at 03:06 PM, Aug 30th, 2017)

twangdoodles

michigan usa

Aug 30th, 2017 04:50 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Does that happen when fretting the string(s) too, or only when playing open?

Therealfrogman
Contributing Member
*****

Pueblo, Co

Relics produce tone, man.....
Aug 30th, 2017 08:21 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

When playing open.

wrnchbndr
Contributing Member
**********
*

New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
Aug 31st, 2017 12:48 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

If there is a problem with an open string and the fretted notes sound fine the problem is with the nut. Sometimes a little bit of fluff or a wooleybooger from a cleaning cloth can find its way into the slot. Nut slots are the single most frequent problem I see on guitars that have not been to a good tech. Unless they are already too deep, its also the biggest bang for the buck when it comes to getting a guitar to play better.
If you're really getting into this I highly recommend the book written by Dan Erlewine "How To Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great".

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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Bought some files




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