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Simplest fret file for rounding the fret crown


GMC Luthier Tools Fret Dressing Tools and Abrasives are purpose designed for dressing the flat/levelled surface of the fret crown and restoring roundness to the frets. This is essential for good intonation. It is also critical that the tops of the fret are not affected by this process.

The tool features a unique design that protects the tops of the frets. When loaded with abrasive the precision concave profile on the underside applies pressure to the shoulders of the fret crown only. A gap in the centre of the tool spreads the abrasive either side of the fret and ensures that sanding pressure on the top of the fret is avoided.


During use, the tool can be rolled to the side when moving back and forth to dress wider frets and heavily levelled/flatted areas.

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Natural emery corundum contains aluminium oxide and is the preferred abrasive for finishing and polishing of special metals by engineers and jewellery makers .

A strip of the emery is folded and inserted through the gap in the tool. The abrasive can be trimmed off leaving a neat edge by cutting along the bottom of the tool with some light shears (not included). A small shim is supplied to spread the abrasive.


As the abrasive wears, new emery is fed through the tool as required. As a general rule, each new abrasive portion will dress a single fret and two strips of abrasive will be required to complete a guitar.

The tool is suitable for the majority of applications where moderate levelling has been performed. For hard/wide frets some local filing may be necessary before using the tool.

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The frets should be levelled before crowning. The photograph below shows crowned frets at the right. The tool makes easy work of rounding the fret ends also.

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As the emery becomes smoother the abrasive will polish the fret.

When using the tool, ensure the fretboard protector is used where possible. This is made from malleable stainless steel and can be easily shaped to the radius of the board. The elastic band can be hooked underneath the corner notches clear of the tool.


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