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SoundGround >> Any interest in watching me work?


7/10/11 12:37 AM
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Racer X
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Too Rude - very cool progress so far. Couple more questions, this time relevent lol. When you tied the fretboard down, wouldnt some of the glue gotten into the truss rod/truss rod cavity? Ive always been under the impression that you want the truss rod unglued in the channel. And also, are you doing any inlays for this?

 If you saw the pic with the trewax, that was all the truss rod isolation required.

The neck is SO stiff with 34 frets in it that the truss rod is dang near superfluous!

I will post the rest of the job early next week. It's all done, in the player's hands, and apparently a success!

Watching him check the accuracy of the intonation was like watching a pilot test a new aircraft. 

More to come....


7/12/11 9:28 PM
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Rawbass
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MOAR!!!
7/18/11 2:57 PM
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Too Rude
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well?
7/18/11 4:07 PM
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goodandevil
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Yes, moar pics!
7/19/11 2:16 PM
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Georbraham Linkington
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Racer X - 
Too Rude - very cool progress so far. Couple more questions, this time relevent lol. When you tied the fretboard down, wouldnt some of the glue gotten into the truss rod/truss rod cavity? Ive always been under the impression that you want the truss rod unglued in the channel. And also, are you doing any inlays for this?

 If you saw the pic with the trewax, that was all the truss rod isolation required.

The neck is SO stiff with 34 frets in it that the truss rod is dang near superfluous!

I will post the rest of the job early next week. It's all done, in the player's hands, and apparently a success!

Watching him check the accuracy of the intonation was like watching a pilot test a new aircraft. 

More to come....


Is it a concern that with all those frets it could develop a nasty back bow problem? Or is that a dual acting truss rod? Or do you think with seven strings of pressure that should never bea problem


7/19/11 2:17 PM
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Georbraham Linkington
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Tho quote function messed up, there's a question in there !
7/19/11 10:15 PM
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Too Rude
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Thats a dual action truss rod, i think most Ibanezs use these kinds
7/19/11 10:19 PM
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Demitrius Barbito
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 Good stuff...
7/19/11 10:40 PM
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Demitrius Barbito
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 My Bigsby B5 just fell apart while I was starting to film my new shred/cinema clip and "I flipped (ask my wife)" Curse words deluxe came flying out of my mouth. I was able to fix it in about 20 mins BUT it killed the mood...

All things considered I got back on track soon enough... Unlike my friend Racer X "I hate working on guitar shit" BUT I appreciate others who do (thank goodness for'em).

I'm almost done with the next clip and I am waiting to see more Racer X pics!

Demi (I wish I didn't shred as well as I did and maybe I could have made some money over the years...) Barbito
7/20/11 3:56 AM
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Racer X
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" Is it a concern that with all those frets it could develop a nasty back bow problem? Or is that a dual acting truss rod? Or do you think with seven strings of pressure that should never bea problem"

As you'll see in upcoming pics, there are four strings under VERY light tension.

No dual action rod,Too Rude.This one only pulls against string tension. It would be nice, but I don't expect any problem. We will likely be scalloping the fingerboard Which may give me a bit more relief in the neck.


7/20/11 5:41 PM
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Racer X
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Edited: 07/20/11 5:44 PM
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 Whew! Sorry about the big break, life gets complicated sometimes, and for me online life is the first thing to go.

Anyway...

When last we saw it, the neck was clamped and epoxy curing. now lets see what we have:

After unwrapping, I warm the pins a bit,

Then slide them out with the fret puller.

Fretboard and neck are one!


What little glue residue was easily removed with a smooth file followed by ultra light sanding(MicroMesh 2400 and 3600 grit)

Tell me he's not going to trim the fingerboard flush with the belt sander!

GHAAAAAH! HE'S DOING IT!  WHO'S TAKING THE FREAKIN' PICTURE?

Final edge match up done with 150-320 grit paper on small acrylic block. 



Measuring relief and flatness post glue up.

Cleaning up glue squeeze out around the nut. Use a REALLY sharp chisel and this is a breeze.
 
7/20/11 6:09 PM
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Racer X
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Nice!

Want to test your patience and concentration? Sand a rosewood fingerboard down to but not through the finish where they meet.

The fingerboard is covered in green pencil marks (because it shows well) to tell me where the sanding bar (in the background, right behind the neck) is hitting it first. I may adjust the neck after starting to either get it more in contact or to place relief in a certain place to optimize adjustability. Honestly, I wish I'd tightened the rod to sand a bit of relief into this very flat neck. The upside is that the neck is beautifully rigid with very little t-rod tension. There is a school of thought that says that a neck that depends little on reinforcement will resonate more freely. I'll go with that. ;)

Happily, it didn't take but a few passes of the bar to lose most of the green. Made me feel like I got the board glued down nice and flat.

In the photo above you can see that the fingerboard flares slightly wider than the rest of the neck. This was my attempt to fulfill a request for the widest possible playing surface on the neck. The fret ends,as you'll see later, are also dressed for maximum top surface
7/21/11 1:15 PM
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Georbraham Linkington
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Will you be showing your fret leveling process, and secrets for wicket low action? :)
7/21/11 1:56 PM
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Racer X
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Georbraham Linkington - Will you be showing your fret leveling process, and secrets for wicket low action? :)

 Yes, and not really on this set.
There will be some info on fretting that will work with another set about a Fender team built Custom Shop Strat that I'm refretting. That one will probably be next on this thread and will have some more info on getting better action from any guitar.
7/21/11 2:05 PM
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Racer X
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 Georbraham Linkington(one of the best UG names EVAH!), I just dug up a thead titlked "Setting up your guitar" that you might check out. You can add questions there and I'll respond.

I may add a picture essay of a set up there.
7/22/11 11:42 AM
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whaledog
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 Very interesting.
7/22/11 2:25 PM
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Racer X
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 OK, so now that the fretboard has been leveled and shaped, I come back to the slots with my Blitz saw(a small backsaw with blades graduated in .5,.6,.7mm) to make sure they are the correct depth and width.
Fret slot width can be a helpful adjustment on a refret, by the way. I can add rigidity with a tight fit and relief with a looser fit depending on the need. Some refrets want both, say a tight fit around the ovtave and a looser fit from there to the nut to allow relief in the correct spot.


Prior to fretting, I like to polish the fretboard to it's final surface. It helps with clean up later, even if it makes for a bit of extra work.


The customer wanted BIG frets for this, and we will be scalloping it this week as well!
He originally wanted to use stainless steel, which is gaining popularity. I really didn't want to do that, because with 34 frets it would be a LOT more work as well as wear and tear on my tools. We settled on a wire that he introduced me to, and will become a staple in my shop, the EVO fretwire by Jescarjescar.com/index.html. This stuff is awesome. Harder than 18%nickle silver, but gentler to my tools than stainless. It also polishes to a beautiful gold sheen as you can see below:

You can also see that the two frets from Jescar are BIG. As a reference, the two frets on the left of picture are Dunlop 6100(think Ibanez jumbo) and 6105(stock on SRV Strats) which are two of the tallest I've used to date, both .050" tall. The EVO frets are .057". That .007 is a difference you can feel.

Before fretting, it's critical to know the radius of the fretboard. I use a varity of tools for this, pictured below:

Using the larger gauge, I confirm the 14" radius of the board all up and down the neck.

The green pencil you see in the slots are my indicators of which frets go where. I am using both widths of EVO frets because of the close proximity of some of the pairs and at the top of the scale. They are the same height, so it works fine to combine them.

Individual frets are precut to hang just over the edge of the fretboard. I then place them in a block with numbered holes(not pictured) for easy access.



I use a mix of methods to fret a neck. The job dictates the method, often in the interest of vintage authenticity. In this case, I will use a mix of glueing,tapping, and pressing. My fret pressing tools come from Stewart MacDonaldwww.stewmac.com/ , the coolest guitar tool place on earth.

I won't be using the "JAWS" Vise-Grip unit on this job, but it's handy as hell for some work. I'll be using the drill press unit.

First, a line of medium viscosity cyanoacrylate(thick Crazy Glue) in the slot. This does two things: it allows the frets to "slip" into the slots with less tearing of wood, and it "locks" the fret in place after curing. Some say that the filling of the rest of the fret slot with glue adds contact/stability/sustain. It may, but it sure keeps 'em where ya put 'em.


I only tap the ends in to start good alignment

Then the fret is pressed into the slot. This is better than hammering flush in my experience as it doesn't distort the shape I have carefully rolled into the frets. I'll show that in another refret job.

repeat,repeat,repeat

this picture shows the closest paired frets. You can see why we used the narrower frets here,the wider ones next to them would be darn near touching!

Yikes! I've done as much work as a vintage refret and I'm halfway done!


I know,I know, the belt sander again. Don't cring, I use a belt sander the way an ice sculptor uses a chain saw, as a delicate instrument. :)


Getting the frets nearly flush this way is a great time saver, and is very gentle to the fret installation.

Next, this entire cadre of flattening tools will help me bring the frets smoothly flush with the edge of the board.

The glass bottomed plane at the lower part of the picture is a fine tool for this job. I use 3M Gold Fre-cut paper on it and the steel sanding bars. the others are file sections epoxied to grips.
7/22/11 2:28 PM
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Racer X
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 Gotta get back to work. More later today.
As requested earlier, I will get into a discussion on different truss rod types.
7/22/11 10:22 PM
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goodandevil
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Holy crap, that is cool. Thanks.
7/23/11 4:17 PM
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Georbraham Linkington
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How many times do you cut yourself during a normal refrett?
7/23/11 4:22 PM
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Racer X
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Georbraham Linkington - How many times do you cut yourself during a normal refrett?

 I don't anymore, I know what to watch out for. :)

It's easy to get little paper cut type scratches from the fret ends early on.
7/23/11 5:39 PM
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Demitrius Barbito
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 I'm a tard BUT why are there some double frets???
7/24/11 11:30 AM
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Rawbass
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I was wondering about the double frets as well.
7/24/11 12:37 PM
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Racer X
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 The double frets are an experiment on his part that I can't accurately explain other than it's like a preset interval that allows acertain inflection to be put on notes. A semi-tone gliss?

I'm sure all of you that play have ghosted a note on one fret and slid into the next up or down as an expressive tool. this is like that on a very subtle but repeatable level as I see it.

I'll see if I can reprint some stuff he has sent me that may better explain.
7/25/11 12:02 PM
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Racer X
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 OK, so now we have the frets nearly flush(as close as is safe with the belt sander anyway).


Time to file flush with the file plane.


After filing, the edge and fret ends are sanded smooth. These frets have a very slight bevel to the ends in the pursuit of widest playing surface.


Prior to leveling, I mark the frets with blue Sharpie marker.


Supporting both ends of the neck I make a light pass with the sanding bar. At this time minor adjustments are made to begin the leveling as flat as possible.


After leveling, the frets are left with flat tops that must be reshaped.


I use a few different recrowning files. They are all diamond grit type, which I found years ago to be far superior to toothed files. They powder the frets rather that scraping away and dragging filings across the fret gouging the surface.


This file fit the shape I wanted for the peak of these frets. After remarking with the Sharpie(which shows every file stroke) I return the frets to their round topped glory.


Leaving just a hint of the blue assures me of a constant level from end to end.



I then follow up with a much finer file to finish the shape and smooth for polishing.




Next, I clean up any little bits of glue residue from next to the frets, tedious as hell, but it must be done. The mini chisel is great for this. Careful!


Followed by 0000 steel wool to polish up the fingerboard.


I order to keep fret dust, sanding scratches and buffing compound out of the rosewood I mask first the edge:

and then the surface of the board.


for finishing the fret ends I use a combination of the crowning file and this square jeweler's file. It has one side polished smooth that can contact the figerboard without cutting.




After all the shaping is done I remove surface scratches with fine MicroMesh on a soft pad. No reshaping going on here, just prep for polishing.


A bit of compound on the wheel


Then buff to high polish. I cannot emphasize enough that this part is VERY delicate. A slight misjudgement and this 1/3 HP motor will slap that neck from my hands or overheat a fret and compromise it's level and seating. Slow and cautious here, don't get 'em too hot!


All shiny!



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