View Full Version : Fret problems?

Skip Kelley
Feb-03-2004, 10:09pm
I just dressed the frets on my mandolin and now some of the notes don't ring out as clean as others. The open notes are fine so I don't think it can be the nut. They seem almost muffled or dead. I recrowned the frets. Does anyone have any idea's why this is happening.

Chris Baird
Feb-03-2004, 11:32pm
Make sure the fret itself is seated very well. Sometimes I've found that if the fret isn't solidly seated it acts like a dampener. A little CA and a good hammering has fixed my problems.

Feb-04-2004, 9:37am
if you just recrowned the frets with out dressing the frets along the length of the fret board first you may have high frets , that would dampen the notes of lower frets right before the high ones , you would need to use some flat block and sand the frets untill you touch all the frets (parralell with the neck) then recrown. in some cases if the frets are worn badly or the fretboard is worn badly, you will find that (with a high bridge action) your string may not contact a fret well , (if you have to push really hard to make a clear sound or you find you have to move your fingers right behind the fret to get a clear note). you will need to refret the instrumet. this could be a combination problem if you have divits worn in the fret board and low frets also. A tell tale sign would be intonation problems with in the chords , with strings tuned perfectly in open tuning. One of the most likely possibilities is that you have dressed the frets too flat. holding the G string down at the first an the tenth fret you should see some air around the fifth fret. this is called neck relief. the best way I have found to get neck relief is to add tension with the truss , (not too much) just about .005 to .010 , dress the frets flat, recrown and relieve the tension some and readjust during setup, I find that .005 to .010 neck relief in a finished setup is about right. Good luck

Feb-04-2004, 10:21am
Has anyone noticed that the dry interior, winter weather will make some frets seem to "move" around? This has happened to two instruments in the past few weeks - (even with multiple humidifiers - 25% humidity is the best I can do in the house) my debate - do I just leave these alone and wait for spring. Or do I touch up a few frets and hope for the best ...

(I keep all my instruments in hardshell cases with individual humidifier's of one form or another. The cases keep the humidity at just over 40% - but I still have this problem on two of my regular players.)

If anyone has any suggestions or observations, I'd really appreciate it.

Chris Baird
Feb-04-2004, 11:10am
The humidity can cause the neck to "move" around and the soundboard to sink. This is when its nice to have an adjustable truss rod and bridge. Most likely your relief needs to be adjusted slightly for winter humidity.

Skip Kelley
Feb-04-2004, 4:09pm
Thanks to all for your help!!
I knew I could get help from you guys!!

Feb-04-2004, 4:35pm
I'm putting off fixing one right now. A mandolin I've had for over a year has a loose fret end. I assume it's from the low humidity and subsequent shrinkage of the fingerboard.

Skip Kelley
Feb-07-2004, 6:52pm
Thanks for your help guys!I had a loose fret and some of the frets were not quite as level as I thought.

Luthier Vandross
Feb-10-2004, 11:24pm
Always, before you level the frets, get the neck flat. Should there not be enough action to 'let out' of the truss rod, it needs to be weighted, or placed on a jig.

Just a point!