I never fret my own necks, I either use broom handles or lengths of pine for fretless and slide instruments, I want to do more serious builds and fretting my own necks is where I will start. I'll start with Diddley Basses and work my way up.

I know I can get lengths of fret wire to cut to size and that I will need a Calliper or a micrometre to measure the exact distance between the frets, but that's about it.

What else do I need and is there anything else I need to know to do this properly?

Views: 126

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Or you could just buy the already made papers that Gitty sell, to mark out where the frets go, then you transfer then to the fret board and then cut and install.


This is what I ended up doing a few weeks ago, while they were on sale. Tou get 4 sized scales in each set. The only one I don't have now, is for ukuleles, and mandos.

They look good, not sure I can afford them, I want as many scales to work with as possible and I'm in the UK, not the US, and I haven't found anything like these here.

If you are in the UK take a look at my fretting template and mitre boxes. Template.   Mitre Box

All you need to set out frets is a good steel rule, a marking knife or very sharp pencil and a good eye. It's much easier to work in millimetres than in fractions of an inch, but either way, a good rule and a sharp eye are pretty much all that is needed. StewMac has a good online fret calculator.  Always use a "running dimension" from the nut to the fret for each position, NEVER measure fret to fret, as any errors will simply accumulate.

Hi JP, for successful fretting there are a number of things that help get a good job first time.

Technique - is important... practice, practice, practice.

The correct tools - or as close as you can get.....give better/best results.

Procedure - Follow the correct procedure [its all on utube, but watch a few, there's lots of experts out there.

Good fingerboard material, a flat neck and a firm surface to work on. 

Now all this is going to cost money. All the tools I needed I made for my self, from photographs, and over the years I bought the real thing if I needed it. Even the scale lengths I transferred from other guitars. 

Don't take short cuts, it is time consuming, a job worth doing is worth doing well. DO IT RIGHT FIRST TIME, is the motto I have hanging in my workshop.

Good luck Taff


I use tools found around the house to fret with., a flat FB blank is essential..,I use a old strat fretboard as a template.,,.I usually use the 1st fret slot to mark the zero fret, resulting in a 24"scale.,you can always subtract a fret for different scale lengths.,.,I mark all the fret positions with a little mark, then add lines with my .square.,I cut the fret slots with my stew-mac saw.,then install the frets with a tack hammer and a little block of wood.,then I bevel the fret edges, and glue the board to the neck blank.,.,next I level the frets with a fine mill file, and polish them with some fine sandpaper.,.,tons of good info out there.,,just like Taffy said.,.,I learned from trial and error, but now we have youtube to show us the way.,.,.

This has helped me:


it is a free online fret template that allows you to choose any scale length, any number of frets, any number of strings, etc. You can print the pdf file and reuse. I have made templates for Ukes all the way up to full scale basses.

Be sure to print 'actual' size. [Don't ask me how I know this.]

i second this as it is a very versitile tool.  there is only one problem with it. you need to have flash enabled in your browser or the save buttons will not show up so you cant save the PDF file.

I like it and I have flash on my laptop, so not a problem

good, chrome on my win 10 desktop keeps complaining that flash is not supported... windows that is.  i started up my mac mini earlier today and it asked me to update flash! lol 


The Essential Pages

New to Cigar Box Nation? How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building BasicsCigar Box Guitar Parts Store

Site Sponsor

Recommended Links & Resources


Neck mortising jig

Started by Rough Cut Tom in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Rough Cut Tom on Wednesday. 2 Replies

Swedish Inventor Creates "Ondophone" Diddley Bow Instrument!

Started by Shane Speal shanespeal.com in Feature Articles. Last reply by Paul Craig on Sunday. 3 Replies

Ukulele & piezo

Started by James Pobog in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Timothy Hunter Jan 11. 1 Reply

Fun with a 2x4 Bass - Build Your Own

Started by Shane Speal shanespeal.com in Feature Articles. Last reply by James Pobog Jan 9. 30 Replies

Blog Posts

Dual lap steel

Posted by Ron Lutz on January 9, 2020 at 2:42pm 1 Comment

My 3 Gitty Kits

Posted by Poorness Studios on January 8, 2020 at 9:20am 2 Comments

My CBG details

Posted by Paul scofield on January 1, 2020 at 9:22am 2 Comments

Latest Activity

Dave Lynas posted videos
30 minutes ago
Dave Lynas commented on Dave Lynas's video

Song for Old 97

"Harmony made some great guitars for the money back in my day Daniel. My Rocket for one. Our…"
4 hours ago
Dave Lynas commented on Dave Lynas's video

The Coo Coo

"Thanks AGP. My version came from the riff I found this morning. It sounded like a bird singing to…"
4 hours ago
Dave Lynas commented on Dave Lynas's video

The Coo Coo

"Andries that’s the guy (most famous Dave). He pops up when you google me. A Brit I think.…"
4 hours ago
Dave Lynas commented on Dave Lynas's video
4 hours ago
Dave Lynas commented on Dave Lynas's video

Old 97

"Thanks AGP. Thanks Nancy Kat. Thanks Daniel. Igloo is right D. Blizzard is right over Duluth. Looks…"
4 hours ago
Jeremy Wade replied to Jeremy Wade's discussion Pickup for cigar box banjo
"Thanks for the advice, a pre amp pedal is not something i thought of. I may try a wood top banjo…"
4 hours ago
Sean Murphy replied to Sean Murphy's discussion Tung oil vs Danish Oil?
"So having used the Danish Oil on my latest build (though I need to read the can and see,…"
5 hours ago
Sean Murphy replied to Sean Murphy's discussion Tung oil vs Danish Oil?
"I've been curious about the tru oil and will probably pick some up, give it a shot."
6 hours ago
Omar Mariani liked Viktor Bogdan's photo
6 hours ago
Don Craig liked Randy S. Bretz's photo
6 hours ago
Don Craig liked Jeffery A, Krueger's photo
6 hours ago



© 2020   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

\uastyle>\ud/** Scrollup **/\ud.scrollup {\ud background: url("https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/963882636?profile=original") no-repeat scroll 0 0 transparent;\ud bottom: 25px;\ud display: inline !important;\ud height: 40px;\ud opacity: 0.3 !important;\ud position: fixed;\ud right: 30px;\ud text-indent: -9999px;\ud width: 40px;\ud z-index: 999;\ud}\ud.scrollup:hover {\ud opacity:0.99!important;\ud}\ud \uascript type="text/javascript">\ud x$(document).ready(function(){\ud x$(window).scroll(function(){\ud if (x$(this).scrollTop() > 100) {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeIn();\ud } else {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeOut();\ud }\ud });\ud x$('.scrollup').click(function(){\ud x$("html, body").animate({ scrollTop: 0 }, 600);\ud return false;\ud });\ud });\ud \ua!-- End Scroll Up -->