Why have I never polished my frets before?

Baba

Shredder
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1,197
On my non-SS fret guitars, when they need it, I take them to a tech to get the frets leveled/crowned/polished. That’s pretty much all the maintenance those guitars need, save for a slight neck tweak, seasonally, done by me.

So, there are times, like now, when a couple of them don’t feel as slick as they did a few months back.

I bought a set of string spreaders and fingerboard guards, and some 3M polishing sheets, and voila!

Guitars play like butter again.

They will need leveling again soon, but for the in-between times, this is a quick fix to have them feeling like butter.
 
Yep, it makes a nice difference! I try to give my frets a light surface polish every time I change strings, but sometimes I'm too lazy to do it. I just buff them enough to get rid of surface oxidation and micro-scratches. Don't want to go too crazy with it or you're taking away precious fret material :)
 
I took down a high spot on a fret on my son's guitar and polished the frets. First time ever doing any kind of fretwork and I was so proud of myself because I didn't screw it up and it actually came out good! :rofl
 
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I got something like these and hit up the frets on guitars I play the most every 6 months or so. You really notice the build-up on SS frets if they’ve been polished properly from the start. I was reading someone on the other forum yesterday saying that they had to adjust their technique a bit when they switched to SS because bending got so smooth they were over-bending. I can definitely see that; even if nickel frets aren’t don’t feel gritty, there’s still a different feel to the way the string moves across the fret between nickel and SS. I really love SS and won’t put anything else on a neck again.
 
Wet sandpaper. Start with grit 1000 (lower if they're really bad), then 1500, continue up as far as you like. I don't go higher than 2000.
After that stainless steel polishing paste.
You'll have the smoothest frets ever.
Most of mine aren’t that aged…just need a little spit shine! 😉
 
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I got something like these and hit up the frets on guitars I play the most every 6 months or so. You really notice the build-up on SS frets if they’ve been polished properly from the start. I was reading someone on the other forum yesterday saying that they had to adjust their technique a bit when they switched to SS because bending got so smooth they were over-bending. I can definitely see that; even if nickel frets aren’t don’t feel gritty, there’s still a different feel to the way the string moves across the fret between nickel and SS. I really love SS and won’t put anything else on a neck again.

I would not recommend anything nearly that coarse. When I level frets I don’t even go as low as 180 (would have to check but I think it’s 320). 1000 grit is the lowest I would ever go for polishing, and ideally I’d start higher than that.

D
 
I would not recommend anything nearly that coarse. When I level frets I don’t even go as low as 180 (would have to check but I think it’s 320). 1000 grit is the lowest I would ever go for polishing, and ideally I’d start higher than that.

D

Eh, maybe I pay close attention, but I’ve done it to pretty much all my guitars for the last 4 years and haven’t run into any issues yet. I just watch what I’m actually doing to the frets and I let the eraser do the work if I’m just polishing, no need to press into them with a ton of force.
 
I like 3M trizact pads. Very common in automotive paint. Like a thin foam.

Get them in any grit. I have a few in 2000 and 5000 that are for really bringing things to a very high luster.

(I have touched 20,000 and 30,000 at my uncles place.)

Progressive grits are just that. Everybody has to judge for themselves the pressure, duration and mesh/grit.
 
Eh, maybe I pay close attention, but I’ve done it to pretty much all my guitars for the last 4 years and haven’t run into any issues yet. I just watch what I’m actually doing to the frets and I let the eraser do the work if I’m just polishing, no need to press into them with a ton of force.

Have you measured them to see how much material you removed each time? If not, you are just hoping that you didn’t do too much damage you don’t actually know.

Pressing on it or not, that is far too aggressive for polishing frets. Like I said, many fret levelers won’t even use something that aggressive when they’re trying to remove a bunch of material to get rid of flats or divots.

Do whatever you want, it’s your guitars, but be warned that it’s a really bad idea.

D
 
Have you measured them to see how much material you removed each time? If not, you are just hoping that you didn’t do too much damage you don’t actually know.

Pressing on it or not, that is far too aggressive for polishing frets. Like I said, many fret levelers won’t even use something that aggressive when they’re trying to remove a bunch of material to get rid of flats or divots.

Do whatever you want, it’s your guitars, but be warned that it’s a really bad idea.

D

I don’t even measure my action. :rofl When I set up a new guitar I just straighten the neck, drop the action as low as it’ll go and give the truss rod a 1/4 turn to put some relief in the neck and I’m done. Occasionally I might futz about with the saddles, usually the E and B strings to make sure I can get enough of my finger under them.

But the action on my guitars is so low that if I were wearing enough of the fret away to be a concern, I would have noticed buzzing or fretting out somewhere along the way by now. I mean it’s LOW on some guitars.
 
I don’t even measure my action. :rofl When I set up a new guitar I just straighten the neck, drop the action as low as it’ll go and give the truss rod a 1/4 turn to put some relief in the neck and I’m done. Occasionally I might futz about with the saddles, usually the E and B strings to make sure I can get enough of my finger under them.

But the action on my guitars is so low that if I were wearing enough of the fret away to be a concern, I would have noticed buzzing or fretting out somewhere along the way by now. I mean it’s LOW on some guitars.

Someone like you should never get near a guitar with sandpaper in their hands at all, ever lol:rofl



D
 
Someone like you should never get near a guitar with sandpaper in their hands at all, ever lol:rofl



D

Guitars LOVE me when I have sandpaper! I’ve freed 5-6 of them from the bondage of multiple layers of sealer, paint and clear coat!

You should see the burn marks on my Jackson from the belt sander. I’d dig it out but it has bad juju and it needs to stay locked away for a while.
 
I’ve never polished or dressed the frets on my 2016 Charvel. I’ve played the shit out of it and the frets don’t wear and stay shiny. Heck, I rarely change strings and I’d have to guess this is only the 6-7 set of strings since new. I know the frets aren’t stainless steel. For comparison my 2019 Charvel frets have hear and divots from play.

YT killed the video quality, but I wanted to show proof.
 
I'm considering picking up some supplies to do fret leveling, crowning, and polishing. I've got a couple guitars that could really use it, and spending about $150 on tools to be able to do many guitars may be a good investment.
 
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