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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chazmo View Post
    As time goes on you can add more tools. I did minimal fret work until recently when I saw this video about a tool that makes leveling, crowning, and polishing very easy. I decided to take a chance and buy it for about US$40-50. I was very pleasantly surprised to find it works just like the video and I have now done several guitars. Works great for minor setups.
    jobs.
    So ... In the comments on youtube for this, there's a reference to the Thomas Ginex fret leveling kit, which works on similar principles. I googled around for a while, went down a rabbit hole reading and watching videos about different techniques and tools for fret leveling (e.g., with our without string tension, different lengths and types of files, the traditional way vs this sort of quick and dirty kit, yada yada), and wound up ordering the Thomas Ginex "fret refinishing" and "fret polishing" kits from here. My thought process was that I thought it made more sense to do the leveling under string tension, and this was the simplest way to do it.

    The frets on my Godin Kingpin were in kind of rough shape, so I took a crack at it. It came out pretty well. Some of the lower frets were pitted, and I was nervous about taking it that far down, but I got rid of the pits, and there looks to be a reasonable amount of fret height left (hard to tell, since they're small frets to begin with). Anyway, the buzzes are gone, and over all it definitely feels easier to play. The fretboard extension on this guitar tends to move around quite a bit with weather and humidity changes, so time will tell whether this holds up, but if nothing else I learned that this is doable without destroying the guitar.

    John

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  3. #52

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    When you level the frets the fingerboard needs to be completely flat, or as flat as possible. Stew Mac and Dan have a whole gizmo set up that charge a fortune for to do fret dressing. I suspect it works and fine and nothing wrong with it however all the 2 great builders that taught me how to dress frets never had one and never used one. So I don't use this very expensive tool to get the neck straight and then dress the frets. The neck can be actually be set straight with 2 blocks and a clamp on the neck if need be. I never that had to resort to doing it but given some necks are do not have truss rods then I have it ready.

  4. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark View Post
    When you level the frets the fingerboard needs to be completely flat, or as flat as possible. Stew Mac and Dan have a whole gizmo set up that charge a fortune for to do fret dressing. I suspect it works and fine and nothing wrong with it however all the 2 great builders that taught me how to dress frets never had one and never used one. So I don't use this very expensive tool to get the neck straight and then dress the frets. The neck can be actually be set straight with 2 blocks and a clamp on the neck if need be. I never that had to resort to doing it but given some necks are do not have truss rods then I have it ready.
    I gather there are different schools of thought about this, and I don't doubt that you doing it the traditional way with the neck straight + your skills and your good tools would do a better job than I did with this cheap-o kit. But there are people who recommend leveling with string tension and there are tools oriented toward this (including some nicer looking ones from Stew-Mac), It makes a certain amount of sense to me, so I figured I'd try it. The worst that would happen is I'd have to bring the guitar to a pro who would re-do it if I messed things up . I was very careful not to take a lot of material off the frets and the results were satisfactory. I managed to clean up buzzes and not destroy my guitar for much less than the cost of a pro fret leveling job, so I'll call it a win. Not sure I'll do it again, but it was worth the experience, and not a bad way to spend the afternoon.

    John