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  • matthewkanis 8:03PM

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Possible fret sprout from humidity?

Hello everyone,

A couple years ago I made a move from Seattle to Minnesota and brought along my gypsy guitar. Despite my best attempts to keep it humidified it looks like I have finally suffered some effects from the dry winters.

My best guess is that this is due to the neck shrinking in a low humidity environment, which causes the frets to protrude out slightly and delaminate some finish from the wood causing the bubbled look around the fret. Running my fingers across the frets, it is also quite bumpy. Is this intuition correct?

Will ignoring this cause long term, severe damage to my guitar? Can this be fixed by a luthier? I'd guess that they would file down the frets around the side of the neck and reapply small amounts of finish, but I have a very basic understanding of guitar anatomy and repair.


Thanks so much!

«1

Comments

  • Posts: 2,905

    Keep in mind that once in blue while you need to treat the fingerboard as well aside from making sure to keep the instrument humidified. Fretboard oil will prevent the shrinking of it. Many kinds are out there, I'm using Music Nomad F One oil. Couple of times a year should be all that's needed.

    wyatt824
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 144

    I believe that low humidity can cause the ebony to contract, widening the slots enough to allow the frets to protrude.

    wyatt824
  • wyatt824wyatt824 United StatesNew 2013 Jegu Selmer
    Posts: 3

    I have oiled the fretboard within the past few months but I just ordered some Nomad oil and will do it again as soon as a receive it, maybe this could reverse some of the contraction. I will add another humidifier to my case as well, looks like just one wasn't enough.

  • mac63000mac63000 Tacoma, WANew Geronimo Mateos Jazz B
    Posts: 189

    Hard to tell from the picture, bit is the end of the fret sticking out or is the fret popping out of the fretboard? I don't think you have to worry much about long term effects, a guitar can easily have its frets worked on or completely redone by a good luthier. Obviously now isn't a great time to get work done but you should be ok to wait a bit.

  • wyatt824wyatt824 United StatesNew 2013 Jegu Selmer
    Posts: 3

    Just the end of the fret is sticking out, the fret is still secure in the board. It's hardly enough to see but you can feel it if you run your finger along the side of the fretboard.

  • mac63000mac63000 Tacoma, WANew Geronimo Mateos Jazz B
    Posts: 189

    Gotcha, it shouldn't be an issue to fix. Frets are cut and filed to fit the width of the neck when they are installed so it could always be filed down to make it flush again.

    wyatt824
  • mac63000mac63000 Tacoma, WANew Geronimo Mateos Jazz B
    Posts: 189

    Just realized you mentioned filing in your original post ?

  • Posts: 2,905

    Frets sticking out like that is a sure sign of dryness. I don't think you'll need to have the frets worked on, just try to get it humidified more. Sounds like you need a room humidifier along the humidifier inside the instrument and probably one in the case toom. Do you have a hygrometer? If I'm negligent to my guitar, I give it a quick recovery by steaming up the bathroom and putting the guitar inside for half an hour.

    Ebony will definitely contract if left to dry, a friend has a Gitane with ebony fretboard. I cleaned and oiled the fretboard when I replaced strings on it and after the oil got soaked it turned out the fretboard had several cracks going all along. Talked to my friend and he told he once dropped it flat on it's face but thought the guitar was undamaged. I asked him when was the last time anybody cleaned and oiled the fretboard, he said "never".

    mac63000
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • JoseJose Minneapolis New DuPont MD 50
    Posts: 45

    Hey, we should Jam sometime, I am from St Paul.

    wyatt824
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,944

    I don't think it will damage the guitar but might snag your fingers. A luthier can fix.

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