Q: Why do I need a fret rocker?
A: A fret rocker is an invaluable tool and will help you diagnose potential issues with the frets on any of your fretted instruments. If you notice signs of uneven frets, you can use your fret rocker to determine where the high or low frets are. Uneven frets can cause various playability issues.
Q: What causes uneven frets?
A: Uneven frets are most commonly due to inaccuracy in the manufacturing process. They may not be seated properly and they may not be properly leveled. They may not even be leveled at all. Uneven frets can also be due to excessive playing wear, causing divots/flat spots that change the height of the fret. Frets can also become unseated over time due to improper installation, over oiling of the fingerboard or humidity changes.
Q: What are signs of uneven frets?
A: Uneven frets can cause various issues on a guitar (or other fretted instrument), affecting overall playability and sound quality. Uneven frets impede the strings ability to vibrate correctly and can cause fret buzz and cause low notes to choke out. Signs of uneven frets can include:
- Fret Buzz. If you hear buzzing or rattling sound when you play, it could be a sign of uneven frets.
- High Action: If you have frets that are too high, you may have to have high string action to compensate, making playing harder.
Q: What causes fret buzz?
A: Fret buzz is a common issue on electric guitars and other fretted instruments. Uneven frets can be a common cause of fret buzz, but may also be caused by heavy pick attack, low action, improper neck relief, magnetic pull from the pickups or insufficient string height at the nut.