Fret End Dressing File

  • 125 Reviews
  • Write a review

The first thing a player feels is the fret ends, so always shape them with this file. Smooth, non-marring edges glide on the fingerboard while the fine-toothed sides deburr and round the fret.

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Fret End Dressing File

Item # 1175
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$13.44

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Product Video

Fret End Dressing File

Dan Erlewine shows how to use this small file for shaping fret ends.


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Product Details

The first thing a player feels is the fret ends, so always shape them with this file. Smooth, non-marring edges glide on the fingerboard while the fine-toothed sides deburr and round the fret.

For rounding, shaping and deburring.
This specialized file dresses the ends of the frets after they've been installed, trimmed flush and beveled.

One thin edge is ground "safe" to help protect the fretboard, and the other rounded over. This file cuts only where it needs to: on both sharp corners of the unground thin edge, and on both of the wider toothed cutting surfaces.

The cutting surfaces smooth the fret end bevel, and the sharp corners nip off the sharp burrs at the edge of the fret bevel where it meets the edge of the neck. With the safe edge facing down, the cutting surfaces of this little file do a good job of rounding over and shaping the fret ends.

File dimensions are .062" x .125" x 6", with 3" cutting surfaces.

Essential for fretting
This item is one of seven tools included in our Essential Fretting Tool Kit, a compilation of tools you'll need for the fundamentals of fret work. Kit also includes our book, Fretwork Step By Step by Erick Coleman with Dan Erlewine.

Works on stainless frets, too!
All of our tools are suitable for use on stainless-steel fretwire, with the exception of our Fret Tang Nippers and Fret Cutters. Modern stainless-steel fretwire is known to be harder than the traditional nickel-silver blends, but our own shop experience indicates the wire does not cause premature wear of files or sandpapers.


Trade Secrets! Newsletter

Fixing fret ends that stick out in dry weather

This week, Erick Coleman answers a wintertime question: What to do about fret ends that stick out of the sides of the neck?

Ratings & Reviews

Fret End Dressing File

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  • Based on 125 Reviews
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Write a review

Good file

By Tom F from VA
(Customer's Reviews) Wednesday, February 09, 2011


As far as I can tell this is a pretty good file. I'm not an expert ,but it works for me.

Fret End Dressing File

By Vito A Ninivaggi from Redding, CT
(Customer's Reviews) Friday, February 04, 2011


Does the job to perfection and easy to use.

Awesome file!

By CoffeeDrinker71 from Indianapolis, IN
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, February 03, 2011


I recently bought a new Charvel Pro-Mod and it was shipped from the east coast to my home. After a few weeks when the neck settled into the dry midwest winter air, the fret ends became drastically exposed. Humidification didn't seem to help so I looked into getting the fret ends filed professionally. My local store said they would basically take a Dremel tool to the fret ends!!! What??? So, I looked here at STEW MAC and bought the fret end file for a fraction of the cost of what the music store was going to charge me for the "Dremel hack-job." After spending about an hour with the Stew Mac fret-end file, my neck feels as smooth as silk! This file is definitely worth every penny and very easy to use (I'm a novice and figured it out). Kudos to Stew Mac for supplying a great product and for all the different instructional videos which gave me the confidence to try this product! I will be back for more!!!

Fantastic file!

By James Finnerty from ROCKville, MD
(Customer's Reviews) Wednesday, February 02, 2011


This little file is possibly the best tool in my collection. Perfect for shaping fret ends into any number of different styles as well as attacking other issues in tight places.

Very good tool

By Fabien from Canada
(Customer's Reviews) Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Great bang for the buck, does the job.

My new favorite

By Elias Preston from St. Louis, Missouri
(Customer's Reviews) Saturday, January 15, 2011


This file rocks! I used it for the first time today, and I have to say that it makes the fret ends feel very professional and the smoothest I have ever felt. This is a high quality tool that I recommend to anyone who does lots of fret work.

Great file

By Jeremy C from Denver, CO
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, January 10, 2011


After using a small three corner file on the upper sides of the fret ends, I use the non-rounded end of this file to round the lower sides of the fret end. It works better than any other file I have used for this. I may make a bigger handle but I am getting used to the small size and may not need to. Also good for removing marks on the bevel. Great little file.

Fret Dressing File

By truefret from Milton, WI
(Customer's Reviews) Friday, December 17, 2010


Good quality file that I was able to achieve the results I was looking for.

fret end dressing file

By Silvio Ferretti from Genova, Italy
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, December 02, 2010


This file is nothing like any other file I've used for dressing frets: it's fast, safe, clean, leaves a shiny surface, allows me to dress fret ends on a banjo fingerboard (22 frets) in about 5 minutes (10 if I'm on a lazy day...) in all safety and with perfect and consistent results.

Fret End Dressing File

By R Guess from North Florida
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, November 29, 2010


Before I got the StewMac dressing file, I was using small rat tail or rifler files. They barely work, usually leaving a scratch /file mark on the fretboard. The dressing file has a safe edge on the bottom, and leaves no marks. Quickly, easily, takes burrs out and leaves a smooth end. A good buy considering the job it does and it should last many years.

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