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how should I "buff out" these rough frets?

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the frets on my guitar are quite rough, they have these grooves. I'm not sure how the grooves got there.


I've used 0000 steel wool, and they are as shiny as they are going to get, which is fairly shiny. But the grooves remain.


What do you think? How can I get rid of these grooves?


thanks much for your thoughts -







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Looks like someone took a coarse file to them probably to smooth out the wear grooves that were in them.

They're pretty flattened out.

They look a little low and you may need a fret job.

If you just want to smooth them out I would take it to a luthier, shouldn't cost much.

If you want to do it yourself, find out the radius of the fretboard and order a sanding block from StewMac.

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Is this the same guitar with the back cracks? Now you have more work to do. To get the slight crown you need is not easy with the garage toolbox, but when my son bought an inexpensive Takamine with the same problem, I took it to the workbench anyway, just to see if I could reduce the roughness. I used a piece of aluminum flashing from a roofing job to protect the fretboard and bought a package of emory board nail files, moving the flashing fret by fret, side by side, filing parallel to the frets while attempting to avoid flattening them out completely. It's difficult to get that slight roll over the top to produce a crown as the files are flat. Luthier's fret files are shaped to get the correct arch. Finally, I used 600 grit sandpaper to finish sanding in the same direction the butcher who got hold of yours did, longways up the fretboard. His Tak had more meat to work with and it worked out well. I think, however, you need the package deal on the cracks AND frets at the pro shop.

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Yea, I would say someone who didn't know what they were doing got into that one.


Normally when doing a fret crowing you use a flat file and remove just enough material to get rid of the string grooves and then use a fret crowing tool to put the round back on the frets. Then start polishing them. It appears that someone flattened out these frets to the point they can not be crowned. Looks like a fret job to me.


I am guessing it doesn't actually play in tune anymore with those frets.


Hows the bridge and saddle? I have see this kind of thing done when the saddle (and bridge sometimes) have been shaved to try to disguise a guitar needing a neck reset.


I would take it in to a guitar shop.

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  • 4 weeks later...



Update: I took the guitar to a guitar tech, and what he said was that somebody did this in anticipation of a fret level / crown, but got carried away. Basically the same thing that you guys said.


He was able to partially restore the frets, as in some of the frets had enough steel left to do a level / crown, but other frets did not. Those that did not, he got rid of the grooves, and did a "faint" crown, as in just a little. I must say, it plays quite nicely now, I can bend notes without encountering those grooves. But of course, once it gets played for a number of years, and the frets start to wear down, well, that's it, time for a re-fret. There is just no metal left to do any more work. But for now, it is very playable, and sounds quite rich.


thanks a lot, everyone, for your comments......


cheers - Richard

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