Fender Showmaster – Fret-dress and setup

What  beautiful piece of wood.  Sadly it’s a little worn and actually wasn’t very well built in the first place, but I can sort all that out…

As I say, some of the frets up at the paying end are rather worn.

Some of the frets are way off.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a Fender as bad as this.  I can even get a feeler gauge under the fret rocker!

So tape up and level the fretboard.

Then grind down all the fret tops to the lowest common point.

You can see the high points, where the black marker has been sanded away, and low points where the marker pen is still there.  That’s bad….

You can see just how low the first fret is as well, This guitar can’t ever have really played well.  

I had to go a long way, this was the lowest point but you can see how flat some of the frets are now.

With that done now I need to round the tops off again.

The one on the left has been done and the one in the middle is about half way.

Once that’s done they need to be polished again, using 4 finer and finer grades of micromesh.

Just like that.

While the strings are off a spot of lemon oil on the fretboard to stop the wood drying out.

A small spot of glue to fix the nut back in place.

With the new strings fitted all it needs now is a tweek here or there on the setup.  The first thing is the tremolo.  It’s sitting rather flat on the body and will only bend notes down.

So slacken the trem’ springs off a little.

That’s better, comes up and down now.

With that working all it needs is a standard 5 point setup.

No.1 The neck relief.

with a turn on the truss-rod.

No.2 The action at the 12th fret…

by adjusting the bridge saddle heights.  Starting with the outside “E” strings and then the others to match the radius of the fretboard.

No.3 the action at the 1st fret.  Something that was about right.

No.4  The intonation, so that it plays in tune all the way up the neck.

Lastly the pickup heights.  To give a nice balanced output.

And there it is, better now than when it was new.

For anything else check out www.guitar-george.co.uk.

A word or 2 from the owner:

“George transformed my Fender Showmaster with a fret dress/level and set-up at a very fair price. Loving it!”