Category Archives: Fretting

Side Position Dots

After doing the frets I realized I did them in haste as I forgot to do some intended inlay on the fret board. So I had to decide to pull the frets and start over or go with no dots on the fret board. In the end I decided against pulling the frets as I would risk messing up a clean job. As well I justified this decision by telling myself the uninterrupted grain running from the head stock to the end of the neck was beauty enough for me. Am I a woodaholic or what?

So I did put some dots on the side of the neck. These dots are 3mm Mexican mother of pearl. I used a 3mm brad point bit to drill the holes.

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3mm finger placement dots at the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 12th fret.

A close up. They are sized a perfect 3mm.

On one of the holes I drilled a little too deep. The fix however was easy: Fill the hole with ebony sanding dust, tamp down to desired depth and put in a drop of CA.

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This job was actually done a while back – before I did the bridge. But It was incomplete so I didn’t post it. Now that I am coming back to it I see my pictures are not compete. So bear with me on this.

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Here I have pictured a fret bending jig. It was pretty simple to make. The hardware comprises of three 8mm nuts, bolts and washers, and four bearings attached to a piece of plywood on a 16″ radius with the two outer bearings equidistant from the center.

A close up of the jig. The tange of the wire rides in between two bearings in the center.

With the fret wire bent to the desired radius I cut it to length and hammer it into the cut slot.

Make sure your slots are deep enough. Sometimes the slot has to be cut a little deeper.

There were a couple where the ends of the fret wire didn’t hold down on the ends. The fix is some CA glue in the trouble area.

After the frets are in you have to file the ends at a 45 degree angle because they are sharp.

Then you have to level the frets (not pictured), and then crown them with a crowning file. You can see in the picture I have a fret rocker, which checks for high frets using three points when laid on the frets. Also not pictured is the polishing you have to do after the frets have been crowned. For that I used my Dremel tool with a polishing stone.

I found fretting the fretboard to be a little more difficult than anticipated. Not that it is a hard task but you have to develop a feel for it and that is something that comes after practice.

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