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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Can we talk 7.25" radius/string bend chokes again?

littleuch
Contributing Member
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Florida

Itchy finger on the outrage trigger
Aug 29th, 2019 05:49 AM   Edit   Profile  

Against my better judgment and the counsel of the FDP I did my first refret on my favorite Allparts vintage style Strat neck. With stainless steel wire. While in Michigan a friend with the gadgets pressed them in for me. I did the rest and while I'd never boast about this job with pics don't feel compelled to remove the neck and hit myself repeatedly over the head with it either.

But I do have the typical vintage radius upper choke out on big bends on the E and B strings. My pre refret work was done by a knowledgeable and well respected luthier and I believe he's a Dan Erlewine disciple. It appeared to me he had flattened the radius of the upper frets and that had a dandy result.

So, if I were to see this through can anyone clue me into the process? I have seen reference to having a bit of fall off in conjunction with the flatter radius. So starting at what fret??

Fear not with words of caution. If I fail I'll let my wife beat me over the head with the neck, then march off to Warmoth.

Peegoo
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If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Aug 29th, 2019 09:15 AM   Edit   Profile  

Fall-away is a good thing to do, but you need only about .005" or so difference between the 16th and 21st frets. It's so little that many necks don't need it at all.

Best way to do this stuff is with a leveling bar and stick-on sandpaper. Don't spend $50 on a "luthier tool" sanding beam.

You may already own it: a 14" - 16" aluminum level that is an I-beam in cross section with at least a 1" flange on each edge (see link).

You can make your own removable stick-on sandpaper. Here's how:

Cut your sandpaper into 1" strips on the long dimension of the sheet. You can also buy sandpaper in 1" wide rolls, but it's expensive.

Apply a strip of 1" blue painter's tape to one of the flanges on the level. Make up a strip of sandpaper the same length as the level by sticking a length of the tape to the backs of two sections of strip.

With the sandpaper strip face down and the taped back face up on a flat surface, apply a thin stripe of CA down the center of the tape. Immediately press the taped flange of the level onto the sandpaper strip.

What you end up with is two strips of tape glued back to back, with one strip temporarily stuck to the level. You can peel this off and re-use it if you keep the sticky side clean. This is cheaper than buying adhesive-backed sandpaper, but that is also an option.

Use the truss rod to get the neck as straight as possible, and use the sanding beam gently. Don't press down; allow the weight of the beam to do the work as you move it lengthwise up and down the neck. Having the nut out of the neck makes this process a whole lot easier.

Even a cheepo level is perfect for this stuff.

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 11:16 AM, Aug 29th, 2019)

littleuch
Contributing Member
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********

Florida

Itchy finger on the outrage trigger
Aug 30th, 2019 08:54 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks Peegoo, yeah I do have a couple of different sanding beams; a Great Planes 11" sanding bar and also a Stew Mac 9.5" radius block. Yesterday I tried the latter. I taped up my maple fretboard from the 12th fret up, taped *over* the 13th fret thereby creating (in theory) a ramp toward the heal while sanding. My observation of the fretwork pre-refret was that the upper frets were radiused at least to 9.5". I used a purple sharpie and light touch, verifying that my sanding was becoming flatter toward the heel. I then recrowned, dressed up and polished with an assortment of SM fret erasers then compound.

The results were marginally better but not on par with whatever voodoo my Detroit guy did previously. I'm inclined to stop (for now) as it plays as well as most other 7.25 radius necks I've had before. I'm guessing that if I were to manage equaling the quality fretwork of a guy with decades worth of experience and precision jigs and such, it'd be purely accidental...or a musical miracle, lol.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Aug 30th, 2019 12:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

Experience does count.

Even techs that regularly do fretwork improve with time: every time they do a fret job, they discover some new quirk or tweak that makes the next one even better.

That's been my experience, at least.

Leftee
Contributing Member
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VA

Aug 30th, 2019 12:58 PM   Edit   Profile  

Slightly off topic but worth mentioning. Amplified Parts sells a sanding beam for a lot less than Stewy. It’s work a look, on their site, when shopping tools.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Aug 30th, 2019 01:41 PM   Edit   Profile  

LMI also is cheaper that Stooge Mac on a lot of tools and supplies.

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Can we talk 7.25" radius/string bend chokes again?




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