My first fret level

grumphh_the_banned_one

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So i got a '90 Ibz s540 which had been not only well played - but also ever so slightly abused.
Of course there were the standard divots in the frets, which i usually ignore (even though i shouldn't). Normally i wouldn't do anything about it...

But... this one had a notch in the 15th fret as well, a narrow notch which snagged the e and b strings when bending, which pretty much made the guitar not playable to me... And No, i did not give the guitar an extended runthrough when i bought it, so that is what can happen when you are in a hurry to get the loot home...

So since this rendered the guitar more or less useless to me i had to do something.
Either find someone who would fix it for me at considerable cost (Denmark is exceedingly expensive), or go the DIY route.

I decided on the latter.:Ohno:

I found this video, and decided to trust the guys claim that leveling was easy...

So i bought a bunch of sheets of sandpaper (120, 400, 1200), steel wool, a file (which i didn't use after all) - and some masking tape and some double sided sticky tape.

I had a piece of wood (yes, checked it against a straightedge) which i glued the sandpaper to with the double sided tape (see pic below) as a file&leveling tool
and as a notched straightedge i used a plastic sheet (some takeaway menu i believe ;) ).

After that is was just following procedure, i.e.
0. diassemble guitar
1. getting the neck straight
2. taping off the frets
3. checking for straightness again (!)
4. putting permanent marker on the frets
5. leveling (first 120 then 400) with my home made tool
6. putting new marker on the frets
7. lightly crowning the frets (with the 400 side of the tool)
8. fingersanding* the frets after crowning (with 400) and smoothing edges
9. same with 1200
10. polishing with steel wool
11. removing the masking tape


Only one thing - the masking tape blue (supposedly low tack) did leave the fretboard dry looking so i had to apply a few drops of mineral oil to get it back to its nice look. Otherwise the procedure was a success imo - especially since this was my first ever try - divots are almost gone (i didn't want to remove to much of the frets) and no snagging at the 15th anymore. Yay :h5:

All in all it took me something like 3-4 hours, and wasn't to hard and didn't need specialised tools, so essentially, the video guy was right. :yesway:

So here are the "before" and "after" images.


* "Fingersanding" = rolling some sandpaper around your index and use that as a sanding block...

IMG_20210925_220550 (2).jpg
IMG_20210926_113511 (2).jpg


And here is the 400 side of the tool - looks ugly, but it is straight and worked fine :)
IMG_20210926_144941 (2).jpg
 
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truckermde

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You can get inexpensive sanding blocks which are radiused to match your fretboard, FWIW.

Looks good! Way to go, just doing it yourself. :thumb:

:cheers2:
 

Skit

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Good job, that looks great.
 

grumphh_the_banned_one

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You can get inexpensive sanding blocks which are radiused to match your fretboard, FWIW.

Looks good! Way to go, just doing it yourself. :thumb:

:cheers2:
Thx, and yeah, i was a bit nervous about the radius, but with the fairly slim leveler it worked itself out nicely.

It was just that the video made it look so easy, and well, it is.
If i can do it (no tool experience) anyone with a bit of patience can - which is why i posted here.
To encourage others :)

And now that i have the stuff i will have to do a few more of my guitars, just because :cool2:
Good job, that looks great.
Thx, it certainly isn't perfect (that will take far more practice), but it is a fair bit better than those 30 year old frets were, so definitely a worthwhile thing to do if you (like me) are into budget used beater guitars...
 

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