Cutting The Fret Slots
Wow. Today has been a loooong day. We started at 10.00am and finished up at 7.30pm with 2 tea breaks and 45 minutes for lunch. I actually thought we had cut the slots yesterday it seems that long ago.
Before we continue, apologies for some of the blurry photographs – they looked fine when I took them but obviously there wasn’t enough light :/
The first thing to do was to attach a length of double-sided sticky tape to the back of the fretboard and then stick it to a plexiglass slotted fret rule (which are available from <insert name here> – similar to Stew-Mac). Note: The recommended tape is known as NEC or Exhibition Tape – it tends not to leave sticky residue when removed.
The slots are cut for a particular scale – in this case 25″. Fender for example use a 25.5″ scale and Gibson use 24.75″; the longer the scale, the tighter the strings need to be tuned and therefore the more pressure on the neck and more strength needed to bend.
Mark has made his own jig and coupled it with a table saw:
Just under the clamp is a little nub which fits into the slots on the rule and each slot is a fret position. Once the nub is in a fret slow, we clamp the material in place and push the jig (which is on runners) over the saw blade. The saw blade is set to the depth we need for our frets. Once done we pull the jig back to the starting position, move the rule so that the nub fits in the next slot along – rinse and repeat. It should be noted that the first and last slots we cut are not actual frets but the start and finish of the fretboard.