Fret Leveling 2017-07-23T09:40:11+00:00

Please do not waste your money on a setup if your frets are not level. Have them checked first when you take your guitar in. Over time the fret board expands and contracts. Because of this and tension in the metal, frets rise ever so slightly out of their slots and as far as the strings are concerned it’s a roller coaster. So you might press a string and two frets in front of it, that fret is high and it will buzz. This will occur up and down the fingerboard at different locations on different strings. It will happen to all guitars. It does not occur as severely on maple fingerboards with heavy gloss poly as compared to rosewood or ebony because the thick poly tends to hold the frets in, but it still occurs to a lesser degree. Once the poly has aged enough, though, it makes no difference because it lets go of the fret. A lot of people will live with it for a while, especially electric players because of the distortion they use. But those that do are missing out on a well playing guitar as well as loss of tone and sustain. Acoustic players hear it in every note and can’t tolerate it.

If you bring your guitar to me I will check it before setup and tell you whether you need a full fret level or if it is just one or two frets that need work. If you want low action, and most people do, this is the first step and without it you are throwing money out the window. If you play slide and have high action you can get away without it, obviously, as you are not doing any fretting.

Take a close look at your guitar. Turn it down and play cleanly up and down the neck. If you hear buzzing or loss of sustain, you could very well use a leveling and a setup. If you gig a lot going from place to place, the temperature and humidity variations speed up the process and you might need it. Good tone is basic to a good performance. A setup without level frets is like new tires without balancing. You’ll be back in the shop in a week complaining about what should have been done to start with, so don’t try to live without it.

For pricing see rates and services.