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theobromaholic
01-17-2010, 06:19 PM
Hi all

I recently purchased a uke online (MGM). It's a beautiful solid koa tenor. It came with crappy black strings (and a wound 3rd), which were exactly what I called them... crappy. I blamed the strings for not being able to slide on the frets. I recently replaced them with Worth Clears, and now it sings like a bird. However, as they are stretching out, I did notice that they look a bit scuffed where they meet the frets, and you may have guessed that as they stretch out and I retune, these scuffed areas start migrating out of the frets and they are more noticeable. Upon closer inspection of the frets, I noticed that they had a lot of groove marks... numerous and large enough for my naked eyes to see.

What are my options? I suppose I can smooth them out myself, but I'd rather not since I really have no experience with this sort of technique.

Or, I can also contact MGM, but I haven't really had enough contact with him for me to be comfortable calling/emailing him.

Or, I can call the uke manufacturer (KC Moore).

Thank you, and I will appreciate any comments and/or suggestions you may have.

Brad Bordessa
01-17-2010, 06:58 PM
My Worths did that a couple times too. I would play for a while and see if it gets better. Definitely don't try and file the frets yourself. The frets will wear marks on the strings - they always do. Whether it is enough to worry about is another thing. If the strings are fraying/breaking at the frets after a couple of months, then you might want to contact somebody.

DaveVisi
01-17-2010, 07:06 PM
Filing will only make things worse. If at all they need to be "polished." There are a lot of ways to accomplish this. Micromesh in ever increasing grits up into the thousands works well. Be sure to mask off the wood between frets before doing this. Stewart Mac has a slick little metal tool to mask off the fretboard. It's similar to the erasing shields you used to use in drafting class.

http://www.stewmac.com/catalog/images_1lg/3741_1lg.jpg

buddhuu
01-17-2010, 11:18 PM
Neat tool!

StewMac catalogue is hazardous. It always gives me serious tool acquisition syndrome! So many toys!

Dave, I'm probably asking to get my bottom kicked, but I always polished frets by masking off the fretboard and having it it with 0000 wool. That was the way I was taught, and I never questioned it... Would you say that method is safe?

This is a timely thread as my mandolin needs a bit of fret maintenance...

BTW, that Fender-style nut inset into the fretboard as shown in the pic has always baffled me. Seems an awkward way to do it...

theobromaholic
01-18-2010, 10:14 AM
My Worths did that a couple times too. I would play for a while and see if it gets better. Definitely don't try and file the frets yourself. The frets will wear marks on the strings - they always do. Whether it is enough to worry about is another thing. If the strings are fraying/breaking at the frets after a couple of months, then you might want to contact somebody.

I may just stick it out a bit longer, and see if I am able to tolerate it. Also, my addiction will not let me part with this uke for even a short amount of time, but I also don't want to let anything lapse if, for example, I am allowed to return it to MGM to have this problem fixed within a certain amount of time. Would you (or anyone else reading this) know if MGM has a 30-day policy for fixing these kinds of things?


Filing will only make things worse. If at all they need to be "polished." There are a lot of ways to accomplish this. Micromesh in ever increasing grits up into the thousands works well. Be sure to mask off the wood between frets before doing this. Stewart Mac has a slick little metal tool to mask off the fretboard. It's similar to the erasing shields you used to use in drafting class.

http://www.stewmac.com/catalog/images_1lg/3741_1lg.jpg

That is a cool tool! I figured there would be something like this available, but did not know how to look for it. I checked out their site, and they have a lot of fun little gadgets.

I'm tempted to at least try it out. I already have a Dremmel, so I guess I can try out the Fret Polishing Kit.
http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Fretting_supplies/Polishing_and_abrasives/Flex_Shaft_Fret_Polishing_Kit.html. However, I would like to use this as a last resort, if I have other cheaper options. I suppose I can also bring it to a local luthier, and just pay for the service. Any ideas how much that may cost (ballpark)?



Neat tool!

StewMac catalogue is hazardous. It always gives me serious tool acquisition syndrome! So many toys!

Dave, I'm probably asking to get my bottom kicked, but I always polished frets by masking off the fretboard and having it it with 0000 wool. That was the way I was taught, and I never questioned it... Would you say that method is safe?

This is a timely thread as my mandolin needs a bit of fret maintenance...

BTW, that Fender-style nut inset into the fretboard as shown in the pic has always baffled me. Seems an awkward way to do it...

What do you think, buddhuu? I might just give it a try. I will contact the uke dealer first, then I will consider this approach.

lonsilog
01-18-2010, 10:15 AM
Let me know how it works out for you. I also have issues with my frets being rough with groove marks.

Sic_Rob
01-18-2010, 10:37 AM
I had a uku in my hands recently and as I ran my hand along the bottom of the neck I felt the frets were rough s\on the edge. Is that common? If not what would I do to correct it?

theobromaholic
01-18-2010, 06:30 PM
Let me know how it works out for you. I also have issues with my frets being rough with groove marks.

If I had a cheapie uke to work with, then I will most likely consider smoothing the frets myself. But since it is a $500 uke, I might refer to professionals first. I will let you know how it goes.

jerickson
01-19-2010, 03:51 AM
I wouldn't feel shy about contacting MGM...He is a wonderful guy and has unbeatable customer service. Probably the groove marks you refer to are a result of filing and leveling the frets and they most likely need to be polished. A local luthier will be able to do this for a nominal fee AND you won't have to ship your instrument back and forth OR be without it more than a day or two.

Jon

jerickson
01-19-2010, 03:57 AM
Neat tool!

StewMac catalogue is hazardous. It always gives me serious tool acquisition syndrome! So many toys!

Dave, I'm probably asking to get my bottom kicked, but I always polished frets by masking off the fretboard and having it it with 0000 wool. That was the way I was taught, and I never questioned it... Would you say that method is safe?

This is a timely thread as my mandolin needs a bit of fret maintenance...

BTW, that Fender-style nut inset into the fretboard as shown in the pic has always baffled me. Seems an awkward way to do it...

I love the Stew-Mac catalog...I've spent more money than I care to remember with them. Each time the catalog comes I find a hundred things that I need (want).

BTW, nothing wrong with polishing frets with 0000 wool since you have the fretboard masked.

Jon

buddhuu
01-19-2010, 04:55 AM
Thanks. That's reassuring.

It never seemed to do any harm, and did seem to get the job done.

lonsilog
01-20-2010, 10:49 AM
Filing will only make things worse. If at all they need to be "polished." There are a lot of ways to accomplish this. Micromesh in ever increasing grits up into the thousands works well. Be sure to mask off the wood between frets before doing this. Stewart Mac has a slick little metal tool to mask off the fretboard. It's similar to the erasing shields you used to use in drafting class.

http://www.stewmac.com/catalog/images_1lg/3741_1lg.jpg

Great suggestion, Dave. I need to polish my frets, too, and just saw this post. I ordered the fingerboard guards and the fret polishing wheels from stewmac. I already have a dremel, but I may also get the flex shaft in the future... just to make life easier.

Nu Uke
01-26-2010, 02:31 PM
I'm seeing a name for my new band in here:....Rough Frets and the Buzztones , or

...Ruff Fret and the E String Scratchers ...?????......



thanks man.

Maiyah888
03-30-2011, 10:39 AM
I'm seeing a name for my new band in here:....Rough Frets and the Buzztones , or

...Ruff Fret and the E String Scratchers ...?????......



thanks man.

Some horrible, horrible inappropriate jokes just flashed through my mind and were flushed away.

the52blues
03-30-2011, 06:40 PM
I had a uku in my hands recently and as I ran my hand along the bottom of the neck I felt the frets were rough s\on the edge. Is that common? If not what would I do to correct it?

Depending on where a uku is made, what type of wood it is made of, how well the wood is cured and where it's final destination is can make a whole lot of difference for instance if you live in US or Canada and order a uku made in Taiwan from local wood ( high humidity) and not cured well when the uku is kept in a dry, cold climate over here the neck shrinks and sometime warps as well. It may swell back up when the humidity rises in the summer but who wants to wait that long. So to answer your question...yes, it's common. To avoid this situation always keep your uku in it's case when not playing it and invest in a hygrometer and a humidifier for the case. If it still happens a good luthier or repairman can file the edges of the frets while it is in the shrunk condition then when it expands or contracts during the seasons it should be fine. I have done this with a few of my custom made uku from overseas and one I had to shim the saddle to make it playable but they are all fine now. I can't stress the humidifiers enough.

Bradford
04-01-2011, 07:16 AM
Let me add my voice to the 0000 steel wool suggestion. It is the last thing I use to polish the frets and the fretboard. If you are concerned about the wood, you can mask it off with masking tape.

Brad

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
04-01-2011, 09:25 AM
Let me add my voice to the 0000 steel wool suggestion. It is the last thing I use to polish the frets and the fretboard. If you are concerned about the wood, you can mask it off with masking tape.

Brad

Gotta love diversity. I wouldn't finish a fret board or fretting job without 0000 steel wool. Followed by Micro-Mesh of course.

chiefnoda
04-02-2011, 03:46 AM
I suppose I can also bring it to a local luthier

Hello

I wouldn't hesitate to contact MGM. He is known for the service and I'm sure he will take care of you.

On the other hand, you might want to have someone look at your ukulele first. Since you live in Bay Area, you can go to Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto. They are knowledgable and can tell you if your ukulele is normal or needs fixing. They are very professional and I trust their opinions. They can also tell you the price of fixing (probably a little higher since their repair department i top-notch, too).

Cheers
Chief