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Fretjob With or Without Neck Jig

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Illustrious Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 8184
Topic starter  

Hey all!

This is my first post to this website. I would love to connect with enthusiasts of guitar maintenance and repair. Shout out from T. DOT (Toronto, ON, CA). I am a music major at a reputable university, teach music, and have most recently found a passion in woodworking.

So, what is up with this debate about whether or not one should use a neck jig when levelling frets? Apparently, the neck jig is more accurate because the neck is under string tension. But wouldn't that mean that frets on either end of the neck end up shorter than the middle during the initial level?
What if, say, you go from 9's to 10's, changing the set-up. Wouldn't that throw off the work done initially on the jig?

To me, it makes more sense to start with a completely flat board, and if it isn't flat (either from humps or rising tongues) it should be made flat/level through re-radiusing.

Also, is it normal for fret tangs to look crooked after hammering them into the fretboard, instead of straight like a T?

SO what are all your thoughts on this?


Eminent Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 45

Hi Julian,
The debate is this... when a guitar neck is under string tension, it sits differently to when it has no tension..even with the truss rod adjusted. Therefor, doing a fret job "under string tension" would be the optimal way to get things right.

I have used a jig, and I can tell you that a job that normally takes me around One and a half hours, took me about 3 hours. I found it an absolute pain in the backside and when fiished, I was not at all convinced that it did a better job than when I do my normal fret dress.

The only time I now File "under tension" is if the neck has a twist in it. (and yes, the better way to deal with this would be to remove the frets, plane the board and refret, but that is more often than not, cost prohibitive.

In regards to your second question, they SHOULD look like a T after refretting... I dont allow mine to go out any other way.