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View Full Version : Fret ends lifted off bound fretboard on uke body



SpaasStrummer
05-25-2017, 01:51 PM
My most recent acquisition has the frets lifted slightly off the bound area of the fretboard for all the frets on the bass side on the body of the uke (14-20) and (16-20) on the treble side. Edges feel sharp where separation between the base of the fret and fretboard has occurred. Any suggestions on the best remedy?

sequoia
05-25-2017, 05:58 PM
I love bound fretboards even though they are a lot of work. However the biggest drawback is the symptom you describe. Because there is no tang underneath the frets where it overhangs the binding, they have nothing to grip and unless laid perfectly flat, there maybe a space. Plus as the fretboard gets dried out it can shrink and make the problem worse. The good news is that this is pretty easy to fix. I would send the uke back to the seller/maker and get then to get those fret ends to lay flat.

Michael Smith
05-26-2017, 07:21 AM
Most people look at a ukulele or other wooden instrument and see a solid unchanging piece of wood, nylon, metal. I suggest you look at your instrument differently and see it at least in part as a sponge. When it is kept in more arid conditions the wooden parts are going to shrink causing problems such as you are experiencing. When kept in more humid conditions it will expand just like a sponge. Either condition and the back and forth between will cause problems. The solution is to get a couple of the two way humidity packs made by Boveda and also sold by Planet Waves and keep them in you ukulele case. You want the 49% packets. Gets too arid they add humidity too humid they remove humidity. You need to have a hard case to be able to control the humidity inside. Gig bags won't do.

johnson430
05-26-2017, 09:46 AM
Like Michael said. This sounds like a humidity issue.

Do you own a humidity/temperature monitor?
I use one like this from Amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/AcuRite-00613-Indoor-Humidity-Monitor/dp/B0013BKDO8/ref=pd_sim_201_6?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B0013BKDO8&pd_rd_r=SQVD4M8HW6V5HJ6DH3TW&pd_rd_w=4rXt4&pd_rd_wg=tihNm&psc=1&refRID=SQVD4M8HW6V5HJ6DH3TW

40-49% is optimal. Less than 40 is too low and more than 49 is too high.
In the room where I store my instruments, the humidity is 46% and the temp is 73.
You might be able to fix this with proper humidity.
Here is a video (under 4 minutes). about over and under humidification from my favorite maker, Breedlove. This is about guitars but it is the same situation for ukes. FYI, he talks about frets, which is your issue, around the 1 minute mark:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VYAdpRUgRs

SpaasStrummer
05-26-2017, 12:30 PM
Thank you for the tips. Uke is about 2 years old and just arrived, about a week in transit with a least one flight (across the Atlantic) had two silica gel desiccant paks in the case, I will put an Oasis Ukulele humidifier in the sound hole for awhile and monitor the situation (I have cheap dial type humidity gage, most frequently reads around 60% - no instrument room).

johnson430
05-26-2017, 02:31 PM
Thank you for the tips. Uke is about 2 years old and just arrived, about a week in transit with a least one flight (across the Atlantic) had two silica gel desiccant paks in the case, I will put an Oasis Ukulele humidifier in the sound hole for awhile and monitor the situation (I have cheap dial type humidity gage, most frequently reads around 60% - no instrument room).

I would attempt to re-hydrate your fretboard too.
Something like this:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001F4X1WY/ref=olp_product_details?_encoding=UTF8&me=

Or my favorite:
https://www.amazon.com/Dr-Duck-2080-Wax-Cleaning/dp/B000EEL50Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1495841431&sr=1-1&keywords=dr.+ducks+ax+wax

FYI, it says wax but it contains no wax. That is just the name. A little goes a long way with Dr. Ducks.

BlackBearUkes
05-26-2017, 03:13 PM
I sincerely doubt any rehydration of the fret board is going to correct this problem. The frets are bent and are not seated. The frets need to be redone, the best way being to pull them and do them over. My guess is they were not put in properly in the first go around. You could try to glue the ends in with thin super glue, but you have to know what you are doing or you could make things worse. I have seen this problem many times.

sequoia
05-26-2017, 08:32 PM
I sincerely doubt any rehydration of the fret board is going to correct this problem. The frets are bent and are not seated. The frets need to be redone, the best way being to pull them and do them over. My guess is they were not put in properly in the first go around. You could try to glue the ends in with thin super glue, but you have to know what you are doing or you could make things worse. I have seen this problem many times.

We really have no pictures here of the problem or how bad it is (send pictures!), but I tend to agree with Duane; the frets were not properly seated in the beginning and the drying out with the silica packs (not a good idea!) just made the problem worse. Rehydration is not going to fix the problem if the fret ends were not properly seated. I do not glue my bound fret ends down because it is not needed if you do it right, but I think a clamp and glue job would fix the problem. Of course the problem shouldn't have occurred in the first place. I say send the uke back and let the guy who seated the frets do a clamp and glue.

Oh by the way, if you hit the fret ends with a hammer to try and seat them it doesn't work. See: Newton's Law number two: for each force applied their is an opposite and equal force. In other words, the more you hit the fret down the more it is going to come up. Been there. Done that. See: Futility.

SpaasStrummer
05-27-2017, 12:23 PM
The worst ones have a gap in excess of .010". AVI file shows slipping of 24lb paper (.0045") cleanly between the frets and fretboard, and can fit a doubled over piece of paper also. I will try to contact the luthier, but as it is two years old and I did not purchase from him do not consider it his obligation.
100559 link to files in cloud https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3FP-3ssoubjVHlTcFVtR3VxVW8

johnson430
05-27-2017, 05:09 PM
The worst ones have a gap in excess of .010". AVI file shows slipping of 24lb paper (.0045") cleanly between the frets and fretboard, and can fit a doubled over piece of paper also. I will try to contact the luthier, but as it is two years old and I did not purchase from him do not consider it his obligation.
100559 link to files in cloud https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3FP-3ssoubjVHlTcFVtR3VxVW8

I see now. That IS a build issue and not hydration. Thanks for the photo.