Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Extra Guitar Tuner Holes Finished; Fret Work Beginning

When we last saw our patient, there were still some uneven spots around the filled holes.

I wasn't happy with the way they looked, so I put a couple coats of clear gloss lacquer on them to fill them level.

Then I sanded them down, going from 320 to 12000 grit.  I know, 12000, crazy, right?

There was a scratch near the D string tuner - probably from installing them, since that's where the broken screw was.  There were also a couple of random scratches from levelling the fills.  I was determined to get them out.  And I did.  The picture above was taken after the sanding and polishing.  I used my orbital polisher and medium, fine and swirl remover grades of Stew-Mac polish.  It looks pretty good.

These kinds of fills are hard because you'll never get a perfect finish match, and in this case, there was also the areas that had been flattened by the 'tab' on the Carvin tuners.  But from a couple feet away, the repair is not visible.

Now I put the original tuners back on.

Another Gibson-esque touch:  the knobs are pearl-like.

From the back.  The tuners cover up part of the holes.  The fills are totally level with the rest of the headstock, and since I sanded the whole thing, the gloss matches perfectly.

I didn't track the number of hours I spent on this, but it took a few weeks because I had to let the stain and lacquer dry.  

Now the easier parts.

I'm going to level and crown the frets and set it up.

First we mark the tops of the frets.

Then level them with the granite leveller.

Not much wear at all, so I don't have to take much material off.

Then crown (or re-crown, technically) the frets.

Another Gibson nod - these are fairly wide (aka jumbo) frets.  Good thing I have a wide fret crowning file.  I use my narrow file on most of my own stuff - only my bass has wide frets.

I keep writing "crown" and it may not be clear what that is.

The top of a fret should be rounded - it should have a 'crown' shape to it.

Here are two frets as an example.  The one on the left is freshly crowned.  The one on the right has been levelled but not yet filed.  See how the one on the left has a dome, rounded, shape while the one on the right is flat on the top.  (It may be easier to see the larger version - click on it).

Ideally, the string should only contact the fret at one point when it's fretted.  If the fret top is flat, there will be buzzes and the intonation will be adversely affected.

The late luthier Phil Petillo developed a triangular fret top as a way to improve intonation.

I'm about halfway done the fret work, but I first need to stop and cook some steaks!  (These are NY Strips if you're wondering). 

 
 
 
 

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