sharp fret crowns shaving my fingertips

Fendrix

Strat-Talker
Jul 19, 2017
461
Manchester
Hi All,

After several months of playing the he hell out of this guitar, my frets developed very sharp edges on top and the guitar became a real pain to play.

If I could afford it, I would get the frets recrowned but I was wondering if maybe there is any temporary solution to smooth those sharp edges that does not remove material from the top, such as rolling a very fine grit sand paper like 2500, around the finger and sliding up and down the neck?


Thanks in advance
 

lbpesq

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 15, 2014
1,066
California
I'm not sure from your post exactly where the frets are sharp. It seems to describe them as being pointy on top of the frets, as if you have knife blades under the strings, instead of the fret tops being rounded, yet you say you don't want to remove any material??? Do you mean to say that the side of the frets are sticking out of the side of the fretboard?

Bill, tgo
 

Fendrix

Strat-Talker
Jul 19, 2017
461
Manchester
I'm not sure from your post exactly where the frets are sharp. It seems to describe them as being pointy on top of the frets, as if you have knife blades under the strings, instead of the fret tops being rounded, yet you say you don't want to remove any material??? Do you mean to say that the side of the frets are sticking out of the side of the fretboard?

Bill, tgo
Thanks I mean that the top of the frets are now flat instead of rounded, and even though the flat part is still thin, the edges are super sharp and cut my fingers when I slide.
 

lbpesq

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 15, 2014
1,066
California
Wow! You must have sandpaper fingertips or diamond coated strings! Seriously, I've never encountered the problem you describe. Usually frets wear by developing little valleys where the strings hit them. What kind of guitar is this?

As for what to do about it, get some frog tape or painters tape. Remove the strings and cover the fret-board with tape in between each fret so that only the frets are showing. If you don't have a crowning file, you an use a triangle fie and carefully lightly file the edge on each side of the fret while staying away from the top. You can use a sharpie to draw on top of each fret. Then, when you file, you can keep an eye on how you are progressing by watching the sharpie stripe on top of the fret get narrower and narrower as you file. You want to leave a thin stipe of sharpie running along the top of each fret.

Then sand each fret starting with 400 grit and light pressure. Do it again with progressively finer sandpaper 800>1000>1200>1600>2000 or similar until they are smooth and shiny. Just the price of sandpaper and tape, a little elbow grease, and a bit more patience should do it. There are lots of videos on youtube that show this process

Bill, tgo
 
Last edited:

Fendrix

Strat-Talker
Jul 19, 2017
461
Manchester
Wow! You must have sandpaper fingertips or diamond coated strings! Seriously, I've never encountered the problem you describe. Usually frets wear by developing little valleys where the strings hit them. What kind of guitar is this?

As for what to do about it, get some frog tape or painters tape. Remove the strings and cover the fret-board with tape in between each fret so that only the frets are showing. Then sand each fret starting with 400 grit and light pressure until the sharp edges are dulled a little. Then do it again with progressively finer sandpaper 800>1000>1200>1600>2000 or similar until they are smooth and shiny. Just the price of sandpaper and tape, a little elbow grease, and a bit more patience should do it. There are lots of videos on youtube that show this process

Bill, tgo

I bend like crazy man! I need to reconsider SS frets in the future.

Many thanks for the tips, so 400 grit should not make the frets uneven ?
 

Fendrix

Strat-Talker
Jul 19, 2017
461
Manchester
Wow! You must have sandpaper fingertips or diamond coated strings! Seriously, I've never encountered the problem you describe. Usually frets wear by developing little valleys where the strings hit them. What kind of guitar is this?

As for what to do about it, get some frog tape or painters tape. Remove the strings and cover the fret-board with tape in between each fret so that only the frets are showing. If you don't have a crowning file, you an use a triangle fie and carefully lightly file the edge on each side of the fret while staying away from the top. You can use a sharpie to draw on top of each fret. Then, when you file, you can keep an eye on how you are progressing by watching the sharpie stripe on top of the fret get narrower and narrower as you file. You want to leave a thin stipe of sharpie running along the top of each fret.

Then sand each fret starting with 400 grit and light pressure. Do it again with progressively finer sandpaper 800>1000>1200>1600>2000 or similar until they are smooth and shiny. Just the price of sandpaper and tape, a little elbow grease, and a bit more patience should do it. There are lots of videos on youtube that show this process

Bill, tgo
Its a Squier Classic Vibe but every guitar I've had ends up like this, its just a matter of 2- 3 months
 

lbpesq

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 15, 2014
1,066
California
You can start with finer grit, too. Starting with 400, I would try and address the sides of the fret and stay away from the top. It should only take a few strokes. Use light pressure and stop and check often. Of course, this is a quickie way to do it and assumes your frets are basically level already. But given how you play, you will find yourself right back in this situation in a few months. SS frets may be the way to go.

Another thing to consider is the type of strings you are using. I believe some strings are more abrasive than others, but I'm no string maven.

Bill, tgo
 

Fendrix

Strat-Talker
Jul 19, 2017
461
Manchester
You can start with finer grit, too. Starting with 400, I would try and address the sides of the fret and stay away from the top. It should only take a few strokes. Use light pressure and stop and check often. Of course, this is a quickie way to do it and assumes your frets are basically level already. But given how you play, you will find yourself right back in this situation in a few months. SS frets may be the way to go.

Another thing to consider is the type of strings you are using. I believe some strings are more abrasive than others, but I'm no string maven.

Bill, tgo
Great thanks man, I will give it a try in a minute!
 

rockon1

Senior Stratmaster
Oct 19, 2019
1,996
CT
You are not alone. I flatten frets like that from lots of bending repeatedly in certain areas of the board and a heavy hand -mostly around the 12-15th frets from playing in E a lot. It doesnt bother my work hardened mechanics hands as much as it bothers me feel-wise. Takes a lot longer than 2-3 months to happen since I tend to rotate guitars. I'll probably dress up these next string change.

kfgvzM7.jpg
 

Fendrix

Strat-Talker
Jul 19, 2017
461
Manchester
You are not alone. I flatten frets like that from lots of bending repeatedly in certain areas of the board and a heavy hand -mostly around the 12-15th frets from playing in E a lot. It doesnt bother my work hardened mechanics hands as much as it bothers me feel-wise. Takes a lot longer than 2-3 months to happen since I tend to rotate guitars. I'll probably dress up these next string change.

kfgvzM7.jpg


Lol that is exactly what I got and mostly around the same area but as I've been improving my playing in recent years I started to ruin other frets that were usually left pristine . I hate this s**t man, I always end up with a cheer grater in a matter of months...I just have one guitar now, so it gets a lot of playing, I need to save for a Z-FIle or something.

I once tried to roll sandpaper on the finger and do 3 passes up and down the neck and then polished with autosol. It worked like magic one time, next time I just ruined the intonation lol
 

CB91710

No GAS shortage here
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Feb 24, 2019
10,903
SoCal
Learn to do it yourself ;)

Seriously... Recrowning is not the process of lowering the frets. That's a fret leveling job.
If your frets are flattened, but still (relatively) level, then all you need is a recrown.
The purpose of the recrown is to take off the edges, which moves the string contact point closer to the center of the fret, which corrects intonation.

Sharpie is the typical indicator tool.
Color the frets, and run a leveling beam until you have a visible line of metal across every fret.
Color the frets, and crown them.
When properly crowned, you should have a very thin line of Sharpie left running right across the middle of every fret.

Then get out the fret eraser and polish them up, removing the Sharpie.

Buy a cheap $30 bolt-on neck on Amazon and practice on that.
 

telepraise

Strat-O-Master
Feb 20, 2019
735
Tampa Bay
CB's answer above is very complete. Your frets need a to be recrowned. There are files especially made just for this purpose. The blackening of the flats is your safety measure to make sure you don't lower any individual fret beyond the plane established in the leveling.

Re: rolling sandpaper around your fingers- yes this will break the corners on the flats. Some low budget techs actually use this method. 2500 grit paper won't touch them though. I'd start with 220 and work your way up through at least 800. You need to mask the fretboard between the frets first though.
 

Collin D Plonker

Strat-O-Master
Sep 18, 2020
624
Delaware
I never encountered that before, and I thought I had a heavy hand. Have you thought about adapting your style? I wager it would sound smoother if you developed a lighter touch.
 

BuffaloHound

Senior Stratmaster
Sep 25, 2018
1,250
S
Like others have said you need a fret crown. A crowning file can be cheap.
But depending on how bad the issue is, you could always make it better (not perfect, but better) by sanding the frets.
I’d do this by removing the strings and masking off the fretboard with painters tape. Then go to town with a green dish scrubby pad. It’s takes a while—and a couple pads—since you’re hardly removing material, although the perk of this is that it’s hard to remove too much material. I’d rather have a sore arm than tiny frets.
After that repeat the process with and extra fine steel wool (tape your pickups up first cause it makes a mess and those magnets will attract the metal mess).
Sand paper works too.
 


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