Notched straightedge for guitar or bass

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Dan Erlewine demos the notched straightedge from StewMac. This tool lets you check a guitar or bass neck for straightness, with or without the frets in place.

Video Transcription

[on-screen text reads: Dan Erlewine - Stewart-MacDonald]

Dan Erlewine: Sometime in the 1980s, Don McCrostie heard me saying, "I wished I had a straight edge with notches in it that sat over the frets to read the fretboard, not the frets." That's where most of the troubles are. A few days later, he surprised me with this, and we both knew we had a great new fretting tool.

The Precision Notched Straightedge

The prototype led to the Notched Straightedge, and today thousands of builders and repair techs around the world use this tool daily.

With this Firebird, it has a problem at the third fret, there's a hump-swelled area there that you wouldn't see without the Notched Straight Edge. In this case, I might remove two or three frets in that area, level the hump, and put those frets back in. A vintage customer would love that and be happy to pay me for not having to refret their guitar.

With that much contact area between the notches, you get a really true read of how straight a neck is. If it's back bowed or up bowed. Right here, I'm measuring relief at the seventh fret, I'm getting 12 thousandths of an inch, and you'll notice that the straight edge stands up on its own because it's an eighth of an inch thick and flat ground. That comes in real handy.

If you know you're going to do fretwork and set up work and you're on a budget, buy the Notched Straightedge because it does two jobs. It reads the fretboard like I showed you, and you can also set it up on the frets, it's a straight edge, and read the frets that way too.



Dan Erlewine

Guitar Repairman and Builder

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