How To Remove Sharp Edges From Guitar Frets

Are you tired of dealing with those uncomfortable sharp edges on your guitar frets? Look no further!

We’ve got a step-by-step guide to help you remove those pesky sharp edges and restore your guitar to its optimal playing condition. Whether it’s due to dryness, fret sprout, or incorrect filing, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll explore various methods like adding moisture, filing the frets, or using a fret end file. Get ready to make your guitar frets sharp-edge free for a smooth and comfortable playing experience.

Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Adding moisture to the guitar is a time-consuming process but the preferred method for removing sharp edges from guitar frets.
  • Filing the frets is a quicker method but it may damage the finish or make them too short.
  • Filing the fret ends requires a fret end file or the help of a guitar technician.
  • Taking the guitar to a local guitar technician or using a fret end file is recommended for filing the fret ends.

Understanding the Causes of Sharp Frets

To understand why frets become sharp, you need to be aware of the factors that can cause this issue. There are some common misconceptions about sharp frets, but one of the main causes is fret sprout. Fret sprout occurs when the fret ends become loose or get pushed up, resulting in sharp edges.

You can easily identify signs of fret sprout by feeling for sharp edges on the sides of the fretboard or hearing a buzzing sound while playing. The good news is that fixing fret sprout is relatively simple. All you need to do is smooth out the sharp ends of the affected frets, eliminating the buzzing sound and discomfort.

The Importance of Moisture in Guitar Maintenance

Keeping your guitar properly humidified is essential for maintaining its condition and preventing issues such as sharp frets. Moisture plays a crucial role in guitar maintenance as it helps to keep the wood in its optimal state. One of the benefits of using a humidifier for guitar maintenance is that it helps to prevent the wood from drying out, which can cause the neck to shrink and lead to sharp frets.

Properly storing your guitar is also important in preventing fret issues. Storing the guitar in a case with a humidity control system, such as Daddario’s, helps to maintain the right moisture levels and prevent dryness. Additionally, keeping the guitar in a room with at least 35% humidity and storing it in the case when not in use aids in the restoration process.

Quick Fixes: Filing the Fret Ends

With a fret end file and a steady hand, you can quickly fix sharp edges on your guitar frets. Filing the fret ends is a common method for addressing sharp frets without the need for moisture restoration.

However, if you don’t have a fret end file, there are alternative options available. You can use a small triangular file or even a fine-grit sandpaper wrapped around a small wooden block. These alternatives may require more precision and caution to avoid damaging the fretboard.

It’s important to note that sharp frets can have a significant impact on your playing technique. They can cause discomfort, affect your ability to slide smoothly along the neck, and even cause your strings to buzz.

Recommended Tools for Filing Fret Ends

You’ll need a fret end file or a small triangular file to effectively file the fret ends on your guitar. These tools are specifically designed to smooth out the sharp edges without damaging the fretboard.

While there are alternative methods for addressing sharp frets, using a fret end file is the most precise and efficient way to achieve the desired results.

It’s important to avoid common mistakes when filing fret ends, such as applying too much pressure or filing at the wrong angle. These errors can lead to uneven frets or even damage to the fretboard.

Protecting the Fretboard While Filing

To prevent accidental damage to the fretboard, be mindful of using a protective barrier while filing the frets. One method to protect the fretboard finish is to use low-tack painters tape. Simply apply the tape along the edges of the fretboard, covering the areas that are adjacent to the frets. This will create a barrier between the fret file and the fretboard, preventing any accidental nicks or scratches.

Another alternative method for removing sharp fret edges without risking damage to the fretboard is to use a fret end dressing file. This specialized file is designed to only remove material from the sides of the frets, leaving the fretboard untouched.

It’s important to take these precautions to ensure the longevity and appearance of your guitar’s fretboard.

The Role of Hygroscopic Material in Fret Sharpness

When the neck of your guitar, which is made of wood, shrinks due to a dry environment, it can cause the frets to stick out farther and create sharp edges. This is because wood is a hygroscopic material, meaning it can absorb or release moisture from its surroundings.

The effects of humidity on the guitar neck are significant in maintaining its shape and preventing fret sprout. By controlling humidity, you can prevent the neck from shrinking and avoid the occurrence of sharp frets.

Proper storage, such as using a case or humidity control system, helps maintain the moisture level in the wood. Additionally, using a restore kit and monitoring the humidity levels in the room can aid in restoring the guitar neck to its normal state and prevent sharp frets from occurring.

Proper Storage and Waiting for Fret Restoration

To ensure proper fret restoration, it’s important to store your guitar in a case and wait for the wood to regain its moisture. Storing the guitar in the case provides a controlled environment that helps add moisture back into the wood.

Using a humidity control system, such as D’Addario’s restore kit, can prevent dryness and revitalize dried-out instruments. This system helps reapply moisture to the wood, aiding in the restoration process. It’s recommended to keep the humidifier in the room to prevent the guitar from shrinking again.

Waiting and monitoring the fix is necessary, as it may take a few days or weeks for the wood to fully restore. Maintaining at least 35% humidity in the room and storing the guitar in the case when not in use can also aid in the restoration process.

Additionally, common signs of fret sprout, such as raised fret ends and buzzing sounds while playing, can be easily fixed by smoothing out the sharp ends.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should I Check My Guitar for Sharp Fret Edges?

You should regularly check your guitar for sharp fret edges to ensure optimal playability. A good rule of thumb is to inspect it after every string change or every few months. Regular maintenance can prevent discomfort and buzzing while playing.

Can I Use Household Items as a Makeshift Fret File?

Using household items as a makeshift fret file is not recommended. While it may seem like a cost-effective solution, household items lack the precision and specialized design necessary for proper fret filing.

Are There Any Alternative Methods to Filing the Fret Ends?

Alternative techniques and DIY options exist for removing sharp edges from guitar frets. These methods include using sandpaper, emery boards, or a small metal file. However, caution must be exercised to avoid damaging the fretboard or removing too much material.

How Long Does It Typically Take for a Guitar to Fully Restore Its Moisture?

Typically, it takes a few days to a few weeks for a guitar to fully restore its moisture. It’s important to be patient during this process to prevent any potential fret damage.

Is It Possible to Prevent Sharp Frets From Occurring in the First Place?

To prevent sharp frets, you can take steps to avoid fret damage. Using protective fret guards, like low-tack painters tape, can help prevent accidental nicks or scratches while filing the fret ends.


In conclusion, by understanding the causes of sharp frets and implementing the appropriate methods, you can easily remove those pesky edges from your guitar frets. Whether it’s adding moisture to the wood, filing the frets, or using a fret end file, there are various techniques available to restore your guitar to its optimal playing condition.

Remember to protect the fretboard while filing and consider the role of hygroscopic material in maintaining fret sharpness. With proper storage and patience, you can enjoy a smooth and comfortable playing experience free from sharp edges.

Leave a Comment