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Old 06-26-2016, 08:17 AM
printer2 printer2 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 3,749

My first guitar neck was compression fretted. Darn frets were hard to put in, had to really bear down to get them in. Afterwards I found out frets came in different tang widths and my slots were too narrow. The wonders of learning by doing on your own. Need to go back and pull the frets and redo them, otherwise it was a nice neck. But I have no time for electrics right now, maybe that Tele I want to do though.

A little late to the party, missed a lot of the fun. Had John give me a grammar lesson, did not take it badly, he doesn't do it maliciously but helpfully. The old grey matter is kind of deteriorating (heck add body to that) and sometimes I miss things. Generally I Google a lot. Not a lot of reason someone can not get the spelling right with the tools available. Mind you posting on a phone sucks and I do make alowences for that.

Steve, I first noticed him due to some abrasive comments, 'my way is right and anyone doing it differently is wrong'. Would barely raise a hair on the back of a neck on the forum I helped mod a life ago. Where politics and other sensitive topics are not allowed here that forum was titled America, Religion, Politics, was like herding a flock of wild cats. You guys are pussycats, in a good way. Can't see anyone being banned anytime soon.

Mind you we do have pretty safe topics being that they are all guitar related. And while there might be differences of opinion on how to do something nobody knows it all and occasionally they learn something new from the other posters. A lot of helping and sharing of information goes on here. It goes to show the the quality of people on here (or the mods are doing a real good job). Makes it a pleasure to read what others are doing. And pictures are a bonus.
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Old 07-02-2016, 10:59 AM
Slight Return Slight Return is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 104

I've never compression fretted a neck.

Multiple times, however, I have clamped severely bowed necks. I completely loosen the truss rod adjuster (or preferably take it out, completely clean and lubricate it)...

...then put the neck into a significant clamp, e.g., if the neck is bowed extremely forward, I will clamp the neck into an extreme backbow.

Sometimes I've had to leave necks for 5-6 days. And I don't just get the neck level -- the idea is to get it into an extreme backbow and leave it there.

While it's still under clamping tension, I'll put the adjuster back in and tighten it as much as it will safely go. A lot of times I've been surprised at how well this works,

I'll usually fit a washer into the truss rod adjuster channel too, before putting the adjuster back in. Sometimes a couple of them, to give the truss rod the best chance it has.

I've gotten very good results with this, and have been surprised many times to see horrendously forward bowed necks have a perfect amount of relief once the strings are back on and tuned up to pitch.

It isn't a 100% guarantee, but I generally always do this whenever I think it has a chance of remedying the problem. If it doesn't work, there's nothing lost and then you can move on to something else, although I do find that this method almost always helps at least a little bit, if not solving the problem completely.

Multiple times I've also pulled frets, planed the board and re-fretted with very good results.

My preference is to level the board *and* level the frets under string tension, using understring levelers that I've made myself, to make sure there are no surprises.

A lot of times the neck will do weird things under string tension that can't be simulated by tightening the truss rod without the neck attached. I'm skeptical even of string tension simulator jigs and feel like using actual string tension will give you the best picture because then you know exactly what you're working with. This method hasn't failed me a single time since I started using it.

All this being said, I'm not against the idea of compression fretting.

I just feel like, if clamping the neck and planing the board is a possibility, they're a better option since you can check your work as you go along.

But then there's always what the customer wants. If they don't want the fingerboard planed you're gonna have to find some workarounds.

It's good to have every tool at your disposal. I don't write any method off if it has practical application somewhere.

At the end of the day, it's a judgment call. And that's what most guitar work is. You have all these options at your disposal; the key is taking jobs on a case-by-case basis and evaluating what the right decision is for a particular guitar. There are no cookie-cutter solutions and just because something worked on one guitar doesn't mean it'll work on another. Adaptability is very important.
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Old 07-23-2016, 09:02 AM
pops pops is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: SW Wisconsin
Posts: 427

I agree with John about removing the board and re-gluing, I have done this many times over the years. I believe compression fretting goes back to when Martin was using bar frets. They came in different width's. I replaced the bar frets in my 1928 Martin with bar frets that were a few thousands thicker, the neck, which had too much relief, came out very nice and I did not have to do a neck reset. The action and relief problems were cured with compression fretting. A fret with a slightly larger tang can do wonders for an old guitar with a non adjustable neck without removing wood or taking off the fingerboard. Extreme cases require the board removal, but compression fretting is a valid and acceptable practice in my opinion and Martin used it in their early guitars with bar frets. Martin talked about compression fretting for those guitars as a way to control the neck relief and had bar frets in at least 5-6 different widths just for that purpose.
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