FRETS.COM When Frets Go Wrong
Usually a good idea
© Frank Ford, 3/7/00; Photos by FF
You'd think that you'd want to curve a fret to the same radius as the fingerboard before installing it, so it would seat well:
You'd use a straight fret for a flat fingerboard, and curve each fret to match the radius of an arched fingerboard.
Too often, though the result would be this:
Here, the end has sprung right back up because the tapping action of installing the fret may have straightened it out a bit. Even if it had not sprung up immediately, it might do so later on.
To keep the ends down tight, most luthiers increase the arch of the fret, something like this:
Then, when it's in place, the spring action of the fret wire actually tends to hold the ends in place neatly. This is especially important for bound fingerboards where the ends of the frets overhang the binding.
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