Sharp fret ends

Discussion groups for those of you with an interest in the construction and repair of the mandolin family instruments.

Moderator: Dave Hanson

Sharp fret ends

Postby PCT57 » Thu Dec 27, 2007 9:48 am

I have an Eastman 615 which I bought new in July. I am really pleased with it and the tone has opened up nicely in the last month or two.

The problem is the ends of the frets are rather sharp and sometimes I actually catch the 'sag' of my finger tips on them.

I could put up with it but I have recently thought about doing something about it. I could try taking it back to the shop (Forsythe's in Manchester) or I could have a go myself.

Any views? Is it easy enough to do? Any instructions/tips/advice etc would be much appreciated.
Regards

Phil
PCT57
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 6:17 pm
Location: North West UK

Postby Dave Hanson » Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:21 am

A good quality whetstone, or a very fine file should smooth them enough, or ask Rob-C, he builds mandolins.

Dave H
Dave Hanson
 
Posts: 521
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 3:01 pm
Location: Halifax, UK

Postby Ray(T) » Thu Dec 27, 2007 4:37 pm

Forsythe's have an in-house repair person - although I'm told he specialises in violins. I'd be inclined to take it back to them if you can manage without it for however long it takes them to do the job.
Ray
User avatar
Ray(T)
 
Posts: 464
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:34 pm
Location: High Peak - UK

Postby trevor » Fri Dec 28, 2007 9:17 am

I wouln't advise doing it yourself, they should be able to do it while you wait (if you arrange it in advance).
Trevor
The Acoustic Music Co (TAMCO) 01273 671841
www.theacousticmusicco.co.uk
Over 100 mandolins in stock.
User avatar
trevor
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 6:01 pm
Location: brighton

Postby bluemando » Sat Dec 29, 2007 4:09 pm

I used the wife's manicure set to smooth off the ends of the frets on one of my old mandos. I took the strings off and put masking tape between the frets to protect the neck and that worked ok.
I don't know why manufacturers miss this issue when they do quality control checks. I was in a guitar shop recently and picked up a Taylor accoustic which was priced at around £700 and that had sharp fret ends as well.
There's no excuse really. Well you pays your money.... :?
bluemando
bluemando
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 11:59 am
Location: Luton

Postby tom » Sun Dec 30, 2007 11:34 am

Dense timbers like ebony loose moisture very slowly and as fingerboards have an oil finish rather than sealed with lacquer they will continue to move after an instrument has been built. The frets being metal will stay the same length as the fingerboard moves and this is what gives you the sharp ends. An instrument which may leave the workshop perfect, would develop this problem over time if kept in a dry space.
tom
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 11:36 am
Location: west yorkshire

Postby Dave Hanson » Mon Dec 31, 2007 7:08 am

I've owned and played a couple of dozen mandolins over the years including a 90 year old Gibson and a nearly new Eastman and I've never had this problem or indeed any fretboard shrinkage on any of them, in fact I've never come accross it at all, I've got a 94 year old banjo which is all original, lots of fretboard wear but no shrinkage. I play with lots of guitarists and they seem never to have come accross it either, sharp fret ends on a new mandolin means a bad fret job nothing else, take it back.

Dave H
Dave Hanson
 
Posts: 521
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 3:01 pm
Location: Halifax, UK

Postby tom » Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:37 am

Hi Dave

Well dont just take my word for it then.


http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Musicia ... heat2.html
tom
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 11:36 am
Location: west yorkshire

Postby Dave Hanson » Mon Dec 31, 2007 1:45 pm

Hi Tom, FRETS.COM is a great site and Frank Ford is the man, what he appears to be talking about is shrinkage due to frequent accidental overheating, and I fully agree.

Sharp fret ends on a new Eastman is just plain poor workmanship.

Dave H
Dave Hanson
 
Posts: 521
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 3:01 pm
Location: Halifax, UK

Postby tom » Mon Dec 31, 2007 6:54 pm

I still have a problem with your poor workmanship theory and here is why.

Both Eastman and Taylor have very good quality control and I think it unlikely that something as obvious as sharp frets would go unoticed before it leaves the workshop. Also fingerboard shrinkage, which is due to exposure to low relative humidity, is more common in new instruments. Older instruments like your 90 yr old will have long since settled and will be sealed with muck and grease from continuous playing. A new instrument may have a fingerboard which may not have cured fully or the oil finish has not penetrated well enough. It may have been cut from a larger piece and still holds a little more moisture than it should. This I know from experience. I have in the past cut ebony from large pieces and have left them to further airdry at 2mm above finished size for over 6 months in the airing cuboard but still they can move just a few months after the finished build. I would imagine that an instrument shipped half way around the world from a country with a totaly different climate would have to be built from very stable materials and be extreemely well sealed to avoid movement in the short term. I would think that with a very large output and world wide distribution total stability would be practicaly impossible to guarantee on every instrument.

Relatave humidity is about how much moisture the air will hold relatave to the temperature. Warm air will hold more moisture than cold air. A music shop in the winter maybe warm inside but the air outside will be cold and dry. As it enters the shop and warms up it will draw moisture from anything inside. Rows of instruments hung up on hangers with the air flowing all around them. Need I say more.

To conclude. Unless I could see that an instrument has obvious nasty file marks or popping up fret ends, I would not put sharp ends down to poor workmanship but simply the movement of the fingerboard as only a small amount of movement will expose sharpness to the touch.


So the top question is, was mr pct57 aware of sharp ends the day he left the shop in July or has the problem become worse in the subsiquent months? does he keep his instrument in a case or is it exposed to dry winter air in a very warm house? I would sugest to mr 57 that he should buy a cheap humidity meter and if he is below 40% in the room which he keeps this mando, he should sort it out or his soundboard could be next.
tom
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 11:36 am
Location: west yorkshire

Postby PCT57 » Wed Jan 02, 2008 11:01 pm

Thanks for the comments and advice. I have decided to take it back to the shop since it was like this when I bought it. Yes, I know what you are thinking but I did not seem to think it would be a problem at the time.

I have lived in my house since 1985 and had various acoustic guitars during that time without any apparent humidity problems.

I will let you know how I go on.
Regards

Phil
PCT57
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 6:17 pm
Location: North West UK

Postby Rob-C » Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:12 pm

Dave Hanson wrote:... or ask Rob-C, he builds mandolins.


I'm not really tooled up to take in repairs and if the instrument is still under warranty, it should really go back to the seller for repair, as the OP is going to do.

As for the protruding fret ends problem - I've only had it happen once on one of my instruments and it was caused by me cutting a fretboard blank from a piece of cherry that wasn't fully acclimatised before I started working with it.

It was an air-dried board that dried out some more and shrank slightly when It was moved into a centrally-heated house.

Lesson learned - I now store all my instrument woods in the house for several months before I use them.

I know that high-end instrument makers build in controlled-humidity conditions and issue all kinds of warnngs about not storing their instruments in low humidity etc. I take the view that I'm building everyday knockabout instruments that are likely to see a bit of use and abuse, so I try to build them to withstand that.
Rob-C
 

Postby tom » Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:31 pm

Hi Phil, yes it is best that you take your mando back to Forsyths, though it seems you are already aware of the humidity isue http://www.mandolincafe.net/cgi-bin/iko ... l=humidity

I'm sure that they will be happy to sort it out for you but if not or you run into a snag with it, I will be happy to sort this out for you, same day, free of charge, if you can make the 40 minute journey from Manchester to my workshop in Cleckheaton.

Best I can do for you.
tom
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 11:36 am
Location: west yorkshire

Sharp fret ends

Postby PCT57 » Sat Jan 05, 2008 9:38 pm

Thanks very much indeed Tom.

Your offer is very kind and one I will accept if I have problems.

I took the mandolin back to the shop yesterday morning and they said I could pick it up later in the afternoon. However I received a call later when he said it looks like the fret ends may not be seated properly hence the 'sharpness' and he wanted someone else to look at it today. Whilst I am new the mandolin I have had guitars for 35 years and the frets looked seated properly to me.

I hope to hear from them on monday and will post when I know something.

Once again thanks for your generous offer.
Regards

Phil
PCT57
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 6:17 pm
Location: North West UK

Postby Ray(T) » Sun Jan 06, 2008 4:14 pm

Tom,
I would dispute that Eastman has very good quality control.

Phil,
Have a look at the Eastman Mandola currently in Forsythes and confirm my feelings - the finish is terrible. To give Forsythes their due, they told me about the problems before I went in to see it and are prepared to let it go for a knock-down price.

Ray
User avatar
Ray(T)
 
Posts: 464
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:34 pm
Location: High Peak - UK

Next

Return to Builders / Repair

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest