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Thread: New StewMac tool for high spot fret levelling: The" Fret Kisser"

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    New StewMac tool for high spot fret levelling: The" Fret Kisser"

    https://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tool...et_Kisser.html

    Saw it. Bought it. Used it. Love it.

    Perfect results. A real problem solver.

    And yes, it's expensive.

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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    Oh, that's a handy tool!

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    Looks great!....

    .... but $160.00 CAD... Yikes!

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    The world is full of people that are right.

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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    I'm thinkin' maybe the diamond coated abrasive sides have something to do with the price.

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    Payed 92€ during a discount slot. But of course international shipping and import tax add. Still don't regret a single cent.

    It can save a lot of time. It's a no skill, no risk tool. You just need some fret rockers (2 or 3 short straight edges that cover 3 frets) to identify high spots and some means to recrown and polish the fret (I use a grooved fret dressing/sanding stick).
    Just beware of using really low frets as a reference. Those are better replaced and "kissed" down.

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    Last edited by Helmholtz; 06-11-2019 at 01:17 AM.
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    Supporting Member TomCarlos's Avatar
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    Fret Rocker at Stew Mack

    Fret Rocker at Amplified Parts

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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    The Stew Mack part will actually file the frets. The Amplified Parts piece is only for finding uneven frets. It doesn't have the diamond sanding part. All this, at least, as far as I can tell.

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    Supporting Member TomCarlos's Avatar
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    The Dude.... you are correct. The Rockers have no filing capabilities. But for those who merely want a cheap tool for a quick check, the Fret Rocker will do that.

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    One thing I forgot to mention: The "Fret Kisser" allows high spot levelling without removing the strings. This is not only convenient but levelling under string tension also gives more precise results.

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    Pricey to be sure. But I don't know how many times when I am running live sound the talent suddenly realizes much to his chagrin that god has visited his guitar with a fret buzz that will totally , totally ruin his performance. Ordered one today.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    I fully believe it works, and well. It's a terrific design, BUT... Since these are probably made overseas I would watch out for anomalous alignments of the active planes once they start to move and someone decides they want to make a higher profit. JM2C on the nature of things. As simple a design as it is, and at that price I would expect precision. Another BUT... All things wear. You can't expect the abrasive element to last too damn long at thousandths of an inch accuracy. Especially in this time of SS and EVO gold frets. And replacing an expensive tool too often becomes a detriment. Just thinking out loud.

    Also thinking out loud... How is re-crowning achieved with the strings on? Or is this tool used for eliminating anomalies and then strings are removed for recrowning and final polish? And is the intended accuracy not lost beyond what one can do with a file at that point?

    It really looks cool and I honestly admire the design. I'm just playing devils advocate.

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    I fully believe it works, and well. It's a terrific design, BUT... Since these are probably made overseas I would watch out for anomalous alignments of the active planes once they start to move and someone decides they want to make a higher profit. JM2C on the nature of things. As simple a design as it is, and at that price I would expect precision. Another BUT... All things wear. You can't expect the abrasive element to last too damn long at thousandths of an inch accuracy. Especially in this time of SS and EVO gold frets. And replacing an expensive tool too often becomes a detriment. Just thinking out loud.

    Also thinking out loud... How is re-crowning achieved with the strings on? Or is this tool used for eliminating anomalies and then strings are removed for recrowning and final polish? And is the intended accuracy not lost beyond what one can do with a file at that point?

    It really looks cool and I honestly admire the design. I'm just playing devils advocate.
    Cause you just push the string over to file it. Not unlike a string bending manuever....

    nosaj

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    Old Timer tedmich's Avatar
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    cool...industrial diamonds are CHEAP, but $130 isn't too bad if it lasts a lifetime
    0.15% of the price of a PLEK!

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    Junior Member Guitarfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Also thinking out loud... How is re-crowning achieved with the strings on? Or is this tool used for eliminating anomalies and then strings are removed for recrowning and final polish? And is the intended accuracy not lost beyond what one can do with a file at that point?
    Yes, you would need to take of (or loosen) the strings to recrown and polish the fret.

    Also, the problem is not always a high fret, but can also be a low fret (you can't tell just by spanning 3 frets to check any rocking), in which case using this tool will make the problem even worse...

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    Also, the problem is not always a high fret, but can also be a low fret (you can't tell just by spanning 3 frets to check any rocking), in which case using this tool will make the problem even worse...
    It's not the appropriate tool for low frets (but it wouldn't really make the problem worse). It is generally not suited to cure fret wear issues. High frets are most commonly found on new (even plekked) instruments.

    you can't tell just by spanning 3 frets to check any rocking
    But you can and should identify low frets with the rockers by checking also neighboring fret triplets - or check for hairline gaps using straightedges of different lengths and backlighting.


    The tool helps me to save a lot of time and work. It only takes off fret material where needed, while a complete fret dressing bears the risk of unneccesarily lowering too many frets - especially when done without string tension/simulation. (And I hate too low frets.)
    As said it's easy and fast and gives perfect results if used properly. I have the tools and experience to verify.

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    Last edited by Helmholtz; 07-09-2019 at 07:29 PM.
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    Junior Member Guitarfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    It's not the appropriate tool for low frets (but it wouldn't really make the problem worse). It is generally not suited to cure fret wear issues. High frets are most commonly found on new (even plekked) instruments.
    But, the average person wouldn't know if they have a low or high fret and if you just file away on what you think is a high fret (but really is a low fret), you will make the problem worse, because now you have two low frets..

    True, that most issues are because of high frets, but I do see a fair amount of low frets in my shop.


    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    The tool helps me to save alot of time and work. It only takes off fret material where needed, while complete fret dressing bears the risk of unneccesarily lowering too many frets - especially when done without string tension/simulation.
    You can do exactly the same with a simple file that doesn't cost 120 USD..

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    you will make the problem worse, because now you have two low frets..
    As the FretKisser in this case would ride on a low and a high fret, the leveled fret would come out at an intermediate height. This might actually be a slight improvement. A complete fret dressing on the other hand would bring all neighboring fret heights down to the lowest fret anyway.

    You can do exactly the same with a simple file that doesn't cost 120 USD..
    Well filing down just a portion of a single high fret with a normal file is tricky and risky. I have done this in the past using a fret crowning file, but its time consuming because it requires checking after each stroke and it's easy to take off too much.

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    Last edited by Helmholtz; 07-10-2019 at 02:37 PM.
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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    As the FretKisser in this case would ride on a low and a high fret, the levelled fret would come out at an intermediate height. This might actually be a slight improvement. A complete fret dressing on the other hand would bring all neighboring fret heights down to the lowest fret anyway.



    Well filing down just a portion of a single high fret with a normal file is tricky and risky. I have down this in the past using a fret crowning file, but its time consuming because it requires checking after each stroke and it's easy to take off too much.
    I would think a high fret would be a "popped" fret. As I can't imagine any other way for a single fret to be high after any leveling. That should require different attention.

    I suppose a high fret could also be a replaced fret. In which case this tool offers a very good way to work replaced frets without further reduction of the surrounding frets. Which is a very good thing.

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    I would think a high fret would be a "popped" fret. As I can't imagine any other way for a single fret to be high after any leveling. That should require different attention.
    There are ways to identify and take care of a "popped" or loose fret. But (factory) fret leveling is rarely perfect.


    BTW, anyone heard of John_H lately?

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    Last edited by Helmholtz; 07-10-2019 at 02:36 PM.
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    Junior Member Guitarfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    As the FretKisser in this case would ride on a low and a high fret, the levelled fret would come out at an intermediate height. This might actually be a slight improvement. A complete fret dressing on the other hand would bring all neighboring fret heights down to the lowest fret anyway.



    Well filing down just a portion of a single high fret with a normal file is tricky and risky. I have down this in the past using a fret crowning file, but its time consuming because it requires checking after each stroke and it's easy to take off too much.
    You don't use a fret crowning file for that.

    Anyway, let's agree to disagree

    I work with this every day and know whats works for me (and my customers). Others may have different methods, which I fully respect.

    Peace

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    BTW, anyone heard of John_H lately?
    Well his last activity was a couple of months ago, but his most recent posts show he hasn't visibly participated since March? Let's hope he's just busy right now. Being as he's in Las Vegas he's certainly battling the heat this time of year.

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    "Never bet your life on somebody else doing their job." SoulFetish's good friend

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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    Yep. I hope he's in good health. I always enjoy his posts- lots of awesome builds.

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    This

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    is the kind of traditional "spot" leveling file I have been using for some 30 years now. It's single-cut, straight and sharp. Works fine, but doesn't allow to treat only one high fret without unneccessarily "kissing" some others as well. Reason is that the single high fret in the middle causes some rocking action when filing.

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    Last edited by Helmholtz; 07-10-2019 at 02:36 PM.
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