Rounded Fret Finishing Fret Ends + fast Cap fret cutter


Well-Known Member
part 1 of 2

short little thread on how to do those rounded up fret ends as seen on some good quality import and custom guitars i've tried.

i think for the most part the whole fretting a guitar is an art to itself, and i like art and basically when you order a new neck from warmoth,ucguitars or stewmac..the fret ends are still a bit sharp and its you/your builders task to deal with it..some just buff it out but i think personally thats lazy..

here's a photo of what i did

im going to use this practice neck and the minimal tools

sx neck and diamond fret file(fret nurse in ebay sells em at $50 while stewmac is at $100), its extremely sharp so you dont want to apply a lot of force when using will damage your fret or your neck, so if you have the steel crowning file is the best to start with..

3M product sanding sponge(walmart/hardware store $3-$4), personally i think the grit of this thing is perfect for removing fretburs, scratches after leveling crowning the frets, and is good for final smoothing out of shaped fret ends

fret leveling file, got this from philadelphia luthiers ($10), is durable to tackle SS frets

fast cap wire cutter, this arrived this week and im amazed how durable and inexpensive this thing is, before i was using a wire cutter with grinded sides from a hardware store and was a pain since it would distort the fret end(paid 20 + 10 for grinding service) , this on the other hand cost $14 and is extremely cuts well, i use molotov bros frets and jescar and even if those are nickel frets they arent soft

now a little info on this piece of hardware from the fastcap site(<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""> ... 6p9918.htm</a><!-- m -->)

Trimmers - End Nip

FastCap has developed an entire line of Flush Cut Trimmers. The End Nip Trimmer is the latest addition to these innovative cutters that trim flush with the surface. The End Nip Trimmers were first used by Paul back in his guitar building days for trimming fret wire.
which paul? IDK!

and this just to polish it, however whats missing here is the jewelers rouge(best used with a power buffing tool.drill with variable speed + buffing bit)

jescar fretwire

(next stop state fair)


Not Enough Prog
Another good looking tutorial man Cheers for all these contributions. I will add this to the list of excellent topics.


Well-Known Member
part 2 of 2

so to display how flush these cutters can cut without marring the fretboard or distorting the fret

close up

some like to cut them at an angle but i prefer to cut em straight so i have enough fret to shape afterwards

next we take our leveling file, now what i like about this file is it doesnt leave marks on the wood,

now i prefer less than 35 degrees for the angle,

now its at a preferable angle

so we choose the crowning file to shape the fret ends..

going with a file pattern below, let the weight of the fret do most of the basically guide it, you can really give it that bullet like end depending how you work with the fret and handle the fret file(s), its like working with a pencil tip and trying to work with the material around it,

i tell you it will look rough and feel that way and thats ok..because you're not done yet! now use your 320 grit sanding sponge to clean up the rough spots..and it doesnt take any more than 8 passes to shape that fret

now i take some of the mag polish and see how it looks like..

once im happy with the shape, finish it up to remove some of the burss, fire up the buffing pad with jewelers rouge and then apply polish