Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Gretsch Ukulele Fret Level and Crown

Ok, new frets in place, check.  Now I'm going to level and crown all of the frets.

First I mark the fret tops with a marker.

Then with my granite fret leveling sanding block, I go over the frets.  No pressure on the block - its weight does the job.  Just a back and forth and sort of circular motion does it.

The idea here is to sand until the marks on all the frets are gone - then they're all level.  Usually doesn't take long.

Then we crown them with a fret file.  This file is curved so that the frets will get a rounded "crown" shape on the tops.

Note the second fret with the arrow.  I didn't get all of the marker off, but I figured it might be ok.  These frets are small, and I was wary of taking off too much material.  Hold that thought.

After the crowning, we polish them with #0000 steel wool.

Now my latest Stew-Mac catalog lists these abrasive "erasers" in different grades for this job.  I had to try them, so they're on order.  There are a few nicks in these frets that I should be able to take out later with them.

Now I string it up and take it for a test drive.

Remember that second fret?  It's too low.  When I fret a note there on the A or E strings, the string actually frets on the third fret.  Since the second is too low, the string doesn't hit it.

I'll go back when I get the fret erasers and fix the problem.  Also, the action is actually a tad too low (!) and I have some buzzes.  I have a solution to fix that at the bridge.

Given all the work I put in with the reset, I'm not too surprised I have a couple of setup issues.  Could be a lot worse.


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