Fret leveling bars are used to plane or level your guitar’s fretboard and frets. For most luthiers, purchasing a set of leveling bars can be quite expensive. StewMac charges $130.50 for the full set of three leveling bars. Seeing how expensive these bars are and the quality offer, I decided to manufacture my own. My leveling bars are of better quality than those offered at StewMac or LMI and at a fraction of the price.
The fret leveling bars that I manufacture are made from heavyweight 1 inch x 2 inch rectangular steel tubing. The weight of the steel is not only a sign of its durability, it also gives weight to the sanding process and saves the luthier from exerting his own energy pushing on the bar. Two sides of the leveling bars are precision machined flat within .002″. This is really precise considering a human hair is about .003″. Also, a bevel is put on both ends of the bars to keep them from hitting the frets, as you glide the bar back and forth. All of my leveling bars are plated with a premium Zinc plating to ensure a shiny, rust free finish. Double stick sand paper can easily be attached to the machined sides for effortless and accurate leveling. I offer three sizes of Fretboard/ fret leveling bars. You can order them below. Please email me if you would like to pay with a method other than paypal.
|8″ Length||$ 20.99|
|16″ Length||$ 29.99|
|24″ Length||$ 50.99|
|Set of all 3 sizes||$ 99.99|
8″ Fret Leveling Bar
The 8″ fret leveling bar is the smallest leveling bar that is commonly available. This fret leveling bar is used to level the frets on a guitar’s tong most often found on acoustic guitars. The fretboard tong is the part of the fretboard that overlaps the guitar body. Usually the tong is glued onto the body and has a slightly different angle than the rest of the fretboard. My 8″ fret leveling bar is perfect to level these higher frets.
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16″ Fret Leveling Bar
The 16″ fret leveling bar is the most useful and common fret leveling bar. This fret leveling bar is used to level the frets on the length of the neck. The 16″ leveling bar gives you plenty of length to span the guitar neck and cover most of the frets. It is the perfect size for all electric and acoustic guitar necks. If you are going to buy one “all purpose” leveling bar, the 16″ fret leveling bar is the one you want!
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24″ Fret Leveling Bar
The 24″ fret leveling bar is the largest leveling bar that is commonly available. This fret leveling bar is used to level the frets on larger bass and baritone guitars. The longer length not only allows you to easily span the larger fretboard, it also gives you more leverage when planing the larger fretboards. The 24″ leveling bar is not only good for leveling larger scale length guitars, it can also be used as a fine jointer– scroll down to see more uses. My 24″ fret leveling bar is a must have in your guitar workshop.
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Set of All 3 Fret Leveling Bars
The set of 3 fret leveling bars is the most convenient and gives you the best savings out of all my leveling bar packages. With all 3 leveling bars, you and your workshop will be prepared for any fret dress. StewMac’s set of 3 leveling bars cost over 30% more than mine do. My leveling bars are affordable and of the highest quality, so you can stock your guitar workshop with the best tools for the job.
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During the guitar building process after the fretboard is shaped, radiused, slotted, and glued to the neck, it will need to be leveled before you are able to install the frets. Leveling the fretboard is an important part in the initial setup of your guitar. If the frets are installed on an unlevel fretboard, the frets will most likely have leveling problems that may cause string buzzing. Sand paper is attached to the precision sides of the leveling bar and run across the fretboard to sand it to a smooth flat shape. Unless your guitar neck has warping problems, leveling your guitar’s fretboard usually will not have to be done after the initial leveling before the frets are installed. For more detailed information about how to level your guitar’s fretboard, please see the fretboard repair page.
Unlike fretboard leveling, fret leveling is a necessary procedure in the maintenance of your guitar frets and may need to be done somewhat regularly. In order for your guitar to play properly, all the frets need to be level with each other. High frets will cause the strings to buzz on lower frets and may even cause intonation issues. The fret leveling bar is used to sand down the high frets to the precision uniform height of the rest of the frets. Also, leveling guitar frets is one of the first steps in performing a fret dress. As you play your guitar the frets get worn down from the friction with the strings. Eventually, the strings will create dips or divots in the frets that will cause string buzzing and intonation problems. At this point, your guitar will need a fret dress. The fret leveling bar is used to sand down the frets until they are smooth and free of dips and divots. At the same time, the fret leveling bar will level all the frets to the same height, so your guitar will be free of string buzzing. The fret leveling bars do two jobs at once! For more information about how to level and dress your guitar frets, please see the fret dress page.
Fret leveling bars the easiest and fastest way to level your frets or fretboard. They will save you time and money if you are doing repairs for other people. I highly recommend every luthier or repairman to have a set in his guitar work bench or workshop.