fret leveling file

Fret Leveling Files: What You Need to Know

If you’re a guitar enthusiast, then you know how important fret leveling is when it comes to getting that perfect sound. Fret leveling ensures that the frets are at the correct height and that the neck is straight, which helps prevent string buzz and enables accurate intonation. However, to achieve proper fret leveling, you need the right tools – one of which is the fret leveling file.

Here’s what you need to know about fret leveling files:

What is a Fret Leveling File?

A fret leveling file is a specially designed tool that is used to level the frets of a guitar. It has a flat edge with a series of small ridges or teeth that help to grind down any high spots on the frets. The file is made of hardened steel, making it durable and long-lasting.

How to Choose the Right Fret Leveling File?

Choosing the right fret leveling file can be a bit of a challenge due to the wide variety of files available on the market. Here are some things to consider when selecting a fret leveling file:

1. Material – As previously mentioned, fret leveling files are made of hardened steel, but the quality of the steel can vary among manufacturers. Look for a file that is made of high-quality steel to ensure it lasts for years.

2. Size – There are a number of sizes available, from small files for light touch-ups to large files for major leveling jobs. Consider what size is best for the type of work you’ll be doing most often.

3. Tooth Pattern – The size and pattern of the teeth on the file can have an impact on the type of fretwork being performed. Be sure to select a file with a tooth pattern suitable for the task at hand.

How to Use a Fret Leveling File?

Using a fret leveling file requires a bit of skill and patience. Here are some basic steps to follow when using a fret level file:

1. Prepare the Guitar – Before leveling any frets, the guitar should be detuned, and the neck should be straightened. Use a straightedge or leveling beam to ensure the neck is flat and straight.

2. Identify High Spots – Use a fret rocker or similar tool to identify any high spots on the frets. These spots will appear as a see-saw motion when the rocker is placed on the fret in question.

3. File the Frets – Use the fret leveling file to grind down the high spots, moving the file in a straight line across the fret. It’s important to use a light touch and check progress often to prevent over-filing the fret.

4. Check Progress – After filing a few frets, re-check the levelness of the frets with the rocker to ensure progress is being made. Repeat filing and re-checking until all high spots have been leveled.


Fret leveling is an essential part of guitar maintenance, and the fret leveling file is one of the critical tools needed to achieve a perfectly leveled fretboard. Understanding how to choose the right file and use it properly can save you time, money, and frustration while ensuring the best possible sound for your guitar.

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