1. #1

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    Anyone here have or use this very expensive tool from Stew-Mac? I have never and I do look at it once in a while but wonder if anyone uses one here and if there are other alternatives to achieving the same thing. I do myself but just wonder what others might do. It does look like it could be precise.
    Erlewine Neck Jig - StewMac

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  3. #2

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    Deacon,

    I've considered these also, although I can't justify buying one, and consult with a qualified luthier in matters for which one might be necessary. That's my alternative, finding a good luthier. I'm the type however, that always loves good tools, and this one is very appealing. I've found that for Adjusting truss rod tension, or filing an occasional fret or two, I've learned how to do that without something as precise, and am within my own 'tolerance' so to speak. I'm surprised that you haven't gotten more responses to your question however.

    Peace!

  4. #3

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    To most, I suspect it's kind of like buying an air compressor and nail gun to hang a bird house. You've already got a hammer, and that'll get the job done with a little more effort.

  5. #4
    I have done research on this in the past and no one I know uses one. It sounds good but really seems overkill for the money. Having done hundreds of fret dressing and refretted many guitars my goal is to have the neck as straight as possible to start the leveling. This happens usually with a small tweak of the truss rod with strings off after I determine the relief already in the neck. I like a little relief normally but not much at all. Then I simply dress the frets. To me this gets everything in a level plain and then when tension is put on the guitar with strings it all involves finding the relief again as you need. This should allow the best fret dressing.

    That said there are guitar and bass necks that are problems. Sometimes they flex and move a lot I find this with cheap made basses especially. Then of course there is the issue of guitars that have no truss rod. For these and I do a fair number of them it really involves putting some tension on the neck with a band I use. That a got me through although I can still do the refret or dress without the band. In fact in some guitars there is a slight fall off of the frets in the fingerboard extension. Not much and done with experience over the years. Some guitars need this a bit and others do not.

    I just ask here as might get a different perspective. I have not had complaints about my fret work so nothing I need to do. One of my issue with the neck jig is that it does take time to set up and I just have not seen the trade off. I respect Dan Erlewine but Bill Hollenbeck and Barker never used one and they got great fret work and necks. I am pretty sure most builders don't either but I don't know. Most are put off by price and I agree but????

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark
    I have done research on this in the past and no one I know uses one. It sounds good but really seems overkill for the money. Having done hundreds of fret dressing and refretted many guitars my goal is to have the neck as straight as possible to start the leveling. This happens usually with a small tweak of the truss rod with strings off after I determine the relief already in the neck. I like a little relief normally but not much at all. Then I simply dress the frets. To me this gets everything in a level plain and then when tension is put on the guitar with strings it all involves finding the relief again as you need. This should allow the best fret dressing.

    That said there are guitar and bass necks that are problems. Sometimes they flex and move a lot I find this with cheap made basses especially. Then of course there is the issue of guitars that have no truss rod. For these and I do a fair number of them it really involves putting some tension on the neck with a band I use. That a got me through although I can still do the refret or dress without the band. In fact in some guitars there is a slight fall off of the frets in the fingerboard extension. Not much and done with experience over the years. Some guitars need this a bit and others do not.

    I just ask here as might get a different perspective. I have not had complaints about my fret work so nothing I need to do. One of my issue with the neck jig is that it does take time to set up and I just have not seen the trade off. I respect Dan Erlewine but Bill Hollenbeck and Barker never used one and they got great fret work and necks. I am pretty sure most builders don't either but I don't know. Most are put off by price and I agree but????
    With the huge caveat that I've only done a couple of fret levelings and am a complete newbie/amateur/hack diy'er, not a luthier ... the logic behind doing the fret leveling with string tension on makes a certain amount of sense to me. If one accepts that premise, it becomes a matter of how to do it. The neck jig seems like overkill compared to tools that lift the strings up and allow you to level the frets with the strings on, but I guess it does allow for finer control of the tension, and it gets the strings completely out of the way. I know of shops that use them, and if the volume of work is high enough it might pay for itself. Dome people make their own,


    Anyway, for my first attempts, I used one of these kits. It came out very well, so well that I decided that I want to do more fret leveling. But this kit's tools are kind of kludgy. A luthier I know uses this from stew mac, so I decided to get both the 18" on and the 4.5" tools + the Gurian fret crowning tool when they were on sale as a kit. This seems much more practical than a full-on jig for simulating tension.