Fret leveling

Depending on how often the guitar is played, the first signs of fret wear tend to appear after a couple years of use. Leveling the frets is the solution to this problem. Call on our expert services to carry out this operation that is more delicate than what meets the eye.

Why level a guitar's frets?

Frets refer to the small metal bars inserted along the fretboard of your guitar. Their role is to define the note to be played even without great precision (unlike the violin). A poorly adjusted fret leads to notes sounding off. In addition, guitars of lesser quality and children’s guitars often reveal defects on the frets.

The frets are made of different types of alloys: nickel, zinc, silver or copper. Although resistant, these materials wear out over time and use, modifying the structure of the frets. This is where fret leveling comes in.

This technique consists in a series of procedures intended to homogenize fret height. This ensures better playing comfort and prevents fret buzz from occurring. Having several years of experience under our belt, we master the ins and outs of this delicate work.

What are the steps in guitar fret leveling?

The principle of fret leveling comes down to adjusting the frets one by one. In detail, the technique involves the re-rounding and re-polishing of small bars.

The method includes two steps: masking and marking, as well as shaping and polishing. The fretboard and neck are covered before marking. If possible and necessary, we may even remove the neck (on bolt-on neck instruments). The tops of the frets are marked and filed down using a special file. This step requires dexterity and attention to detail. In total, 4 to 5 passes of the file are necessary order to obtain uniform frets.

Now comes the shaping stage. The top of fret are rounded off using another file, so as to leave a minute contact point between the fret top and the string when it is pressed down. The fret edges are also softened to prevent snagging and reduce friction when in contact with the hand.

Polishing removes file marks. We favor the “mirror polish” technique, a technical process that gives the frets a shiny aspect. Cleaning and oiling the fingerboard completes the job..

To give your guitar a second (or third) youth, do not hesitate to contact us.

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