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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:23 pm 
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Here's my shot at doing Semi-Hemispherical fret ends. Never done it before but I didn't think it would be to difficult.

So, this is the first time I tried semi-hemisperical fret ends. Never seen a tutorial on this and wasn’t going to pay $25 to Sylvan Wells to see his method, so I came up with my own way. Actually, I’ve had this idea in my head for a couple years now, just never tried it.

I ensure that the fretboard is level before fretting (one reason for waiting till it’s attached to the body) and in this case, I had no sanding to do, sweet!

Ok, so I protect the upper bout area of the guitar and rest the neck on a bag of sand I have.

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I then radius my fretwire, homemade radius thing too (of course)

Image

I then pre-cut my fretwire for each fret and put it in a holder (no picture sorry).
I started at the soundhole end of the fretboard incase I cut one of the frets to short, I can use it on the next one up ;)
First thing I do is undercut the fretwire for the binding. I have the Stew Mack fret tang nipper and It works perfect for me.

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I then held the fret in the slot and marked the edge of the fretboard on the fret with a sharpie I chiseled to a fine point (I need one of those fine point sharpies in the shop).

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Then I take it to the jig I made ;)
It’s a block of hardwood, with a grove cut for the fret tang and a channel for a fret file. The holding face is also radiused to about 10" so the fretwire doesn't bend back straight/flat. Here’s a bunch of pictures.

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The thin board along the front is shimmed 0.020” (veneer) on the end held in the vise. This allows the fret to slide up into the groove and then holds the fret tight with the screw on the left.

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I’ve made a pencil mark where the fret needs to be ground round (this was done by trial and error to get the location right), so I align the sharpie mark to the pencil mark.
I then run the fret file over the fret to round it, also tilting the fret file down to get a curve to the top of the fret end.

Image

Image

I then pull the fret out and do a quick little touch up with the file free hand to make it look round and even.

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Then I check it on the fretboard to make sure the other end is marked right, then I repeat for the other end. I’ll sneak up on it, checking it on the fretboard to make sure it looks right. I only want a couple 0.001” offset from the edge of the fretboard. If it looks like it’s offset too much, I’ll save it for the next slot. Then I hammer them in and move on to the next one.

Image

Once they are all done, I check the board for level and as has been the case in many of my last boards, there is a slight back bow from fretting (about 1/64”). I don’t mind this as I know the neck will pull forward with the strings so I don’t need to level the frets.

That's it. Give it a shot, you'll love the results.

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These users thanked the author Rod True for the post (total 2): pdolan (Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:26 pm) • Durero (Sat Oct 04, 2014 2:10 pm)
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:17 pm 
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Nice toot, Rod. Thanks!

Pat

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:53 pm 
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Very timely post as I had planned to do this soon on my bubinga build.

Thanks!!!!

Rob


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:14 pm 
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Very nice Rod! I'll have to remember this trick when I try a bound fretboard.

On this topic, I just read in Somogyi's book that he thinks the frets even on an unbound fretboard should have the semi-hemispherical treatment instead of filed at a 30 deg angle to help keep the outside strings from slipping off the fretboard when fretted. Seems this would be a function of how close the outside strings are to the edge of the fretboard and the taper used. Any thoughts on this? I've never noticed a problem with this except on my electric, USA made Hammer Gold top.........the high E easily slides off the fretboard if you have just a bit of downward pressure and it's annoying.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:40 pm 
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I too have Ervin's books and read that. I am finding that Ervin is very opinionated about what a proper guitar should look like and he's more than entitled to it, but it is only one man's opinion. Me, I say make em how you like em.

There are millions of guitars out there that have beveled fret ends and most of them play just fine for the average player.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:41 am 
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Hi Rod
I had just been ogling this guitar over on the anzlf, and noted the fret dressing (among other attributes of this fine instrument). Thanks for the tutorial on the method. I will definitely be giving it a try on my next build.
Best wishes
Mark McLean


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:19 pm 
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Rod,

thanks for the toot. I was looking through some older guild books for this info just the other evening. What I found was much the same method. However, before tapping them in, he buffed the ends on a wheel with compound. I'm going to try it on this build, too.

Danny R. Little


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:36 am 
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That's way slicker than what I was planning. Thanks for sharing.

Mike

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:23 pm 
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Thanks Rod. This is way easier than how I did mine. I'll have to make one of these handy dandy time saving jigs.

MikeH

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:32 am 
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Rod,

The one question I have always had with semi-hemi frets is how do they look when sighting down the FB? With your first guitar, were you able to hold to a line well enough that it is not glaring when you look at it?

I have always wanted to try this, and this mehtod looks great....THANKS!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:31 pm 
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Ziegenfuss wrote:
Rod,

The one question I have always had with semi-hemi frets is how do they look when sighting down the FB? With your first guitar, were you able to hold to a line well enough that it is not glaring when you look at it?

I have always wanted to try this, and this mehtod looks great....THANKS!


I have one fret that is about 0.010"-0.015" shorter (off the fretboard edge) than all the others and it's the third last fret. It's noticable when sighting down the fretboard on the bass side. The treble side is even all the way along as this was the reference side. I should have pulled that one fret and made a new one and I think I'll do that when I get the guitar back for it's 3 month check up (just like new borns get their 3 month look over by the Dr. right ;) ).

It takes time that's for sure, but I think the look and feel is well worth it. I really liked it anyway.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:55 pm 
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Ziegenfuss wrote:
The one question I have always had with semi-hemi frets is how do they look when sighting down the FB? With your first guitar, were you able to hold to a line well enough that it is not glaring when you look at it?

That, unquestionably, is the one thing that sound engineers and audiences are going to seize on.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:53 pm 
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Dang! That looks slick.
I'll have to try it next time I refret something.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:30 am 
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Two great ideas in one post by Rod True:
Quote:
I started at the soundhole end of the fretboard incase I cut one of the frets to short, I can use it on the next one up


And the beanbag neck support made out of an old pant leg is brilliant. You even left handles on each end! I was planning to improve the neck support I've been using by building a padded mortise and tenon contraption out of 8/4 maple, but the bean bag is much soooo much better.

Thanks Rod. bliss


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:14 pm 
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This is the most ingenious way I have seen to do this. Amazing. So simple and so effective.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:21 pm 
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...i wouldn't necessarily call it "so simple", but i can't think of another way. but, for sizing purposes, how about:
a scale diagram of the neck (top view) profile, on paper, and also corresponding fret slots. i'd think you should be able to get each fret awfully close that way, and you could even "compensate" the drawing an mm or two wider to account for radius....


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:29 pm 
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Don't kill my buzz nyazzip!

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These users thanked the author Tony_in_NYC for the post: nyazzip (Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:59 pm)
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:01 pm 
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I hate to be a wet blanket, but I've played some guitars with these fret ends and they really feel weird and uncomfortable to me. They look nice and no doubt showcase some great craftsmanship, but IMO in the end they seem a solution in search of a problem.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:07 am 
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James Ringelspaugh wrote:
I hate to be a wet blanket, but I've played some guitars with these fret ends and they really feel weird and uncomfortable to me. They look nice and no doubt showcase some great craftsmanship, but IMO in the end they seem a solution in search of a problem.


That's ok, not everyone likes black cars, or florentine cutaways, or EVO gold fretwire, or Aunt Jemima pancakes (ok, maybe everyone does like Aunt Jemima pancakes....)

I like the semi-hemi fret ends and that's what matters to me :)

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:28 am 
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I like em too and have been doing them after installation. This system looks good. How about a knife cut at the proper length instead of a marker - no matter how sharp it still isn't an accurate line (and they don't stay sharp for long).

Good jig

Ed



These users thanked the author Ruby50 for the post: Rod True (Sat Mar 29, 2014 7:26 pm)
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 7:27 pm 
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Great idea Ed!!

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