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Old 02-12-2010, 08:36 PM
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Bong Twang Ping Bong Twang Ping is offline
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Default Minimum fret height for levelling?

Can anyone tell me the minimum height of the existing frets to make a level and re-crown viable? My 1992 Ibanez Artist electric needs some levelling and crowning but the frets are very wide [compared with my Taylors and Stratocaster) at 2.6mm/0.10". The most worn frets have about 0.9mm/0.035" of height left, should this be sufficient for levelling? The neck is in good shape and straightens nicely using the truss rod under string tension.

Thanks!
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Old 02-13-2010, 12:37 AM
Sordid Tales Sordid Tales is offline
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Originally Posted by Bong Twang Ping View Post
Can anyone tell me the minimum height of the existing frets to make a level and re-crown viable? My 1992 Ibanez Artist electric needs some levelling and crowning but the frets are very wide [compared with my Taylors and Stratocaster) at 2.6mm/0.10". The most worn frets have about 0.9mm/0.035" of height left, should this be sufficient for levelling? The neck is in good shape and straightens nicely using the truss rod under string tension.

Thanks!
It depends on how deep your worn divots are. Some folks can play on frets that are .025 high. Personally, I can't. You might want to consider a partial refret, or full refret. Talk to a qualified tech or luthier in your area and get his advice.

If a full refret is in order, congrats. Now you get to choose the fret size you like the most. Play a bunch of guitars, and take action, neck profile, and tone out of the equation. Just play the fret profile, and choose what you like the most.

Another reason that such a low profile can be problematic, is that is pretty difficult to get a proper crown on a fret so low. You can get close with a three corner file, or by rounding the tops with sandpaper being held with fingers, but it won't be a perfect crown. Which isn't such a bad thing, some folks (myself included) like the "school bus top" fret crown, as opposed to a semi-cylindrical shape.
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Old 02-13-2010, 04:32 AM
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Bong Twang Ping Bong Twang Ping is offline
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Originally Posted by Sordid Tales View Post
It depends on how deep your worn divots are. Some folks can play on frets that are .025 high. Personally, I can't. You might want to consider a partial refret, or full refret. Talk to a qualified tech or luthier in your area and get his advice.

If a full refret is in order, congrats. Now you get to choose the fret size you like the most. Play a bunch of guitars, and take action, neck profile, and tone out of the equation. Just play the fret profile, and choose what you like the most.

Another reason that such a low profile can be problematic, is that is pretty difficult to get a proper crown on a fret so low. You can get close with a three corner file, or by rounding the tops with sandpaper being held with fingers, but it won't be a perfect crown. Which isn't such a bad thing, some folks (myself included) like the "school bus top" fret crown, as opposed to a semi-cylindrical shape.
Thanks for the input ST,

Unfortunately there are no techs or luthiers in my area, but I'm up for doing the job myself. I have Dan Erlewines Fret Basics DVD, and I'm a jeweller/tool maker by trade. I think I'll eventually do a full refret with stainless wire, but I'd like to have a go at levelling and crowning as a precursor to that. I love the feel of the neck and frets as they are, but there are a few areas that see more action than others. Hopefully, after levelling they won't be below .030".

Bong.
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