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Tej
 Tej
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15/06/2021 7:22 am  

I’ll be installing the frets shortly but am interested in peoples’ experiences here. Now there seem a number of different approaches with some techniques focussed on making life easy if frets ever need removing. On one hand there’s the idea to file a small V into the slot, the idea being that if the fret is ever removed it brings less fret board with it. But then I’m told to hammer the fret in at the ends first then the centre which will push the tangs first down and then towards the edge. Obviously doing this means that the fret is more likely to chip on the way out so seems to defy the point in trying to limit this with the groove. My inclination at the moment is to file a V to take the edge off, hammer the frets in straight and then as per Mark’s video drip superglue in the ends to fill any gaps (can’t say I’m looking forward to that last bit but don’t know of any other thin glue that would be drawn in with a capillary action) I know when I asked about use of superflue previously someone had said to use wood glue but I just can’t see how this would work for frets without meaning a lot of clean up.

What’s worked best for your builds?

…on an elaborate journey to turn trees into music.


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Koendb
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15/06/2021 8:42 am  

Wood glue with a syringe would be no more messy then superglue I think?
I only have built 2 necks myself so far, so my experience is pretty limited.

In both builds, I also filed in a slight V shape in the top of the fretslot.
I did not use any glue to fill in the cavities on my second neck, just because I want to see what difference it makes.


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Tej
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15/06/2021 9:15 am  

@koendb, so key question from your second build, what was the difference?

…on an elaborate journey to turn trees into music.


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Koendb
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15/06/2021 9:53 am  

so key question from your second build, what was the difference?

Good question 🙂
I did pay a lot more attention to details and used a slot depth gauge to make sure all the frets where slotted at the same depth ( I think I used the depth gauge more then the fretslot saw ), I also did not wack the frets in, but tapped them in with just enough power to drive the frets in , where, on the first build,  I was just whacking in them frets.
The final result was a lot more consistent, less fret levelling required.
Adding glue in the fretslots is supposed to make sure that there is a maximum of contact between the fret and wood for tone quality. It is hard to judge if my guitar would have sounded better with that glue underneath the frets to be honest. I doubt it makes a huge difference, since I really paid attention to the details during and after fretslotting. There is no or hardly any gap visible.

I suppose it also prevents gunk and dirt to get in the voids underneath the frets. Only time will tell if that has a negative impact on a longer term. The fret job( leveling, crowning and polishing) on this is also the best one I ever done, since I took more time (patience!) and used better tools. For example, I  bought a couple of fret crowning files to see which one I liked the best . It s something I can recommend strongly, After a first build try to buy a couple of different variations on the same tool to see what works best for you.

In short: In my case I doubt if there is a audible difference.


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Tej
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15/06/2021 10:01 am  

@koendb thanks for the rundown, I’d agree that claims of tonal improvement from filling the gaps are significant on an electric guitar are unlikely. I’m yet to see or indeed hear any proof of anything like that from wood choice to construction techniques etc that make a human detectable difference to the amplified sound from the pickups.

In terms of whether to glue or not as you mentioned you do limit where gunk could collect, certainly at the fret ends. I think this is one where I just have to try it without and get a feel for how good of a fit the frets are before judging whether glue is to be needed.

…on an elaborate journey to turn trees into music.


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Koendb
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15/06/2021 10:11 am  

I’m yet to see or indeed hear any proof of anything like that from wood choice to construction techniques etc that make a human detectable difference to the amplified sound from the pickups.

On the other hand, professionals with a lot more experience add glue and I am just a beginner so what do I know?
Perhaps someone else wants to shime in and correct us newbies 😀


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Bpower
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15/06/2021 11:45 am  

In my experience with woodworking, the "v" that you file in the fret slot is there to make it so there are no "unsupported" grain if you need to remove the fret. The fact that the fret ends are pushed under the wood to help keep them in does not affect the strength this would give to the edge. I use this technique when I want to hand plane end grain (if I don't want to plane from both directions). I will remove the corner on the exiting side so I can plane all the way through. If I don't then when the blade gets to the other side it will break out a large chip.  


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Jonathan Hodgson
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18/06/2021 1:48 pm  

Wood glue is much easier to cleanup than superglue, so long as you do it as you're going along, a damp rag will do it.

That's why Ben Crowe has abandoned the superglue approach, I've seen him do both the medium viscocity suoperglue in the slot then hammer in the fret, and the hammer in the fret then wick in super-thin superglue from the end approaches (I think he preferred the first but the second was quicker for his timed builds), but now he's using wood glue because cleaning up the superglue could be a real pain.


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Tej
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18/06/2021 2:11 pm  

@jonhodgson that makes sense, where I didn’t screw it up the superglue has worked perfectly and I would tempted to go the same route again but I seing whips to be more precise than how I did it. I watched a video of Ben doing this with wood glue too and it was a very messy process, can’t see how you’d not just end up with a lot of glue residue in the grain. 

…on an elaborate journey to turn trees into music.


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Jonathan Hodgson
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18/06/2021 2:34 pm  

@tej

I suspect it's a combination of
1) fretboards are usually a tight grained wood

2) He wipes it off straight away

Obviously try it for yourself on a piece of scrap first if you can, but I don't think that Ben is the type the send a guitar to a customer with glue spots on the fretboard, Nebula 2 is a commission job that someone is probably paying a lot of money for.


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Bpower
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18/06/2021 2:44 pm  

I think either way would be fine. The wood glue does clean up easily and you still need to do the job of cleaning/scraping the fret board before it is all done anyway so I dont think glue residue would be there. I personally did just as was done on the course with the superglue on the ends after the bits were cut off to seal in the ends. After the file and clean up they looked perfect. Couldn't be happier. I intend to do the exact same way on my next build. 


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Bill Flude
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27/06/2021 9:24 pm  

Superglue works - you do need to apply it in 3 or 4 passes on end side then when dry do the other - too much at a time and it will run down the fretboard and then it takes more effort to clean up.

How often have people replaced frets in new builds - as long as they don’t get really damaged they should stand a few re-levels?

 

Measure once........
Measure again.........
Sod it - make tea!


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Tej
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27/06/2021 10:16 pm  

@frocesterbill Thanks, indeed where it worked it looks fantastic it’s just the few where too much glue came out. 
i did some experiments after screwing some of this up too and turns out what’s happening is the glue seems to start drying up so to get any out I was having to squeeze harder which on a few occasions the block started to clear meaning more came out. Maybe I’m just using “bad” glue or I just need to make a bigger hole in the nozzle so it doesn’t start to clog, either way glad I at least understand how I went wrong now!

 Fair point too about needing to replace frets, it’s taken me about 20 years to get a guitar too needing frets replaced. Now just need to pick up the courage to do it 🙂 If this build goes well and I have a nice instrument at least it means I take the job on with no time pressure 🙂

…on an elaborate journey to turn trees into music.


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Bill Flude
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27/06/2021 10:25 pm  

@Tej I use thin superglue and only add small drops - the drops vanish down the slot, usually by the time you get to the end of the fretboard you can go back to the start…..

Measure once........
Measure again.........
Sod it - make tea!


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Tej
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27/06/2021 10:28 pm  

@frocesterbill ok so this is something I’ve clearly missed, had no idea that you could get different viscosity super glue. I’ll know for next time!

…on an elaborate journey to turn trees into music.


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Bill Flude
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28/06/2021 6:33 am  

I have thick, medium, thin and very thin superglue……

For fret filling I use the thin - the thinner it is the easier it ‘wicks’ - that also means that it can go everywhere…….

Measure once........
Measure again.........
Sod it - make tea!


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Tej
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28/06/2021 8:43 am  

I have some old frets off a knackered guitar so I’ll experiment with different glue like I should have done before doing it on my actual build 😬

…on an elaborate journey to turn trees into music.


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Bill Flude
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28/06/2021 12:52 pm  

I sold 😥 my Mexican Strat - I got it very cheaply on eBay - lots of fret wear on frets 1 to 6 on the top three strings - one piece maple neck with varnish on fretboard - I thought that I might need to re-fret -  I levelled them and re-crowned the frets and all was fine - played really well - sold because it had sat in a case for a year after I built my second guitar up at Baileys......

Measure once........
Measure again.........
Sod it - make tea!


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Jonathan Hodgson
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12/07/2021 1:48 pm  

@tej The labelling isn't 100% consistent between manufacturers, but superglue goes from a thick gel like consistency down to the super-thin which is like water in a hurry (it will wick into tiny gaps through capillary action, which is great for some jobs, but it's hard to control).

It also comes in multiple colours, (an infinite number if you use Gluboost's Mix and Match tints.)

 


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