Wudtone UTL (Fret level tool)

I've been wanting to get my Raygun Relic Strat fret levelled for a while, having seen this thread: http://thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/54698/new-wudtone-utfl-under-tension-fret-leveller-delivers-accuracy-for-best-playability-every-time I thought I'd have a go my self. 

I ordered the kit last Saturday I believe and it was with me by Tuesday, very prompt. 

The kit is one bar (which features as both the straight edge to ensure the board is flat and the sanding area) and three blocks to be placed on the fret board at the top of the board, middle and end to rest the level on. 

As with all of Wudtone products you get no instructions in the kit, you have to go online to find out how to use them. 

I followed the guide posted in the above thread. I fitted a pencil under the strings at the first fret, re-tuned, placed the blocks, placed the level and then clamped at both ends until the level was completely flat on the blocks, one thing I disagree with in the above guide is that I feel you need to raise the strings at the end of the board too, otherwise, with a low action and the thickness of the tool, the strings at the end on the board put pressure on the tool, therefore potentially making the tool not sand flush as its being pushed down by the strings. To overcome this, I just pulled the three strings up by hand. 

After that it was plain sailing, I just sanded, the faced the tool the other way and repeated (again lifting the strings). I guess your experience may vary, depending on the action on your guitar before you start. 

I removed the pencil, retuned and gave the guitar a quick play (knowing I still needed to crown / dress the frets). The buzzing I had before is now gone and the guitar plays with the kind of low action I like :)

Overall a good product and one I would recommend. 

Pros:
Easy to level your own frets at a keen price
Product is good quality 

Cons:
Packing is a bit crap, this might seem a pointless thing, BUT if it was sent in a poster tube or similar, it'd be a lot easier to store and keep dust free :)

Some pictures of the tool in use:

Hope that helps someone. 
Dave. 
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Comments

  • MattGMattG Frets: 167
    So would you describe this product as novice friendly or does it require some knowledge and experiance before hand?
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  • PVO_DavePVO_Dave Frets: 979
    Hi @MattG the tool is novice friendly for a fret level (not anything I've ever tried before). The bits needed after (crown, dress and polish) aren't covered with this tool.
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  • andypwudtoneandypwudtone Frets: 285
    edited March 2016
    MattG said:
    So would you describe this product as novice friendly or does it require some knowledge and experiance before hand?
    MattG, a good reason this approach is very novice friendly is because you really can't go wrong with it. Because it is full length and you are levelling under string tension it enables you to level frets, so to be able to have lowest possible action, without buzzing, every time.

    To achieve this frets really need to be levelled whilst the neck is under string tension. This is due to the neck adopting an s curve and the variations this causes when under compression. Levelling with traditional files/beams and strings off etc is a crap shoot because it doesn't help a novice compensate for such variations. When you use an under tension fret leveller, you will usually see the hump that exists between the 14- 20 th frets being taken away 1st, along with the 5 -8 th frets probably being the last you get down to. Its very easy to see this happen if you put some nobo marker on the frets first and that in itself inspires confidence using the tool. It also helps you see progress and know when to stop. So after you have levelled out those variations, whilst under string tension, set required neck relief, you will then have a perfect co planar set of fret surface points and be able to get the lowest possible action.  Also using the tool feels nice and easy because the oxide paper is very high quality, it cuts remarkably efficiently, smoothly and so is real easy to control. Using metal files to cut frets can be less novice friendly because they can chatter and or filings can get stuck in them causing grooves and more difficulties you then need to deal with if you don't keep them clean. This all depends on the quality of the files. The 400 grit oxide paper cuts in a much finer way and say after 6-9 guitars you simply put some fresh on and the tool is as good as new. kind regards   
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  • andypwudtoneandypwudtone Frets: 285
    edited March 2016
    PVO_Dave said:
    I've been wanting to get my Raygun Relic Strat fret levelled for a while, having seen this thread: http://thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/54698/new-wudtone-utfl-under-tension-fret-leveller-delivers-accuracy-for-best-playability-every-time I thought I'd have a go my self. 

    I ordered the kit last Saturday I believe and it was with me by Tuesday, very prompt. 

    The kit is one bar (which features as both the straight edge to ensure the board is flat and the sanding area) and three blocks to be placed on the fret board at the top of the board, middle and end to rest the level on. 

    As with all of Wudtone products you get no instructions in the kit, you have to go online to find out how to use them. 

    I followed the guide posted in the above thread. I fitted a pencil under the strings at the first fret, re-tuned, placed the blocks, placed the level and then clamped at both ends until the level was completely flat on the blocks, one thing I disagree with in the above guide is that I feel you need to raise the strings at the end of the board too, otherwise, with a low action and the thickness of the tool, the strings at the end on the board put pressure on the tool, therefore potentially making the tool not sand flush as its being pushed down by the strings. To overcome this, I just pulled the three strings up by hand. 

    After that it was plain sailing, I just sanded, the faced the tool the other way and repeated (again lifting the strings). I guess your experience may vary, depending on the action on your guitar before you start. 

    I removed the pencil, retuned and gave the guitar a quick play (knowing I still needed to crown / dress the frets). The buzzing I had before is now gone and the guitar plays with the kind of low action I like :)

    Overall a good product and one I would recommend. 

    Pros:
    Easy to level your own frets at a keen price
    Product is good quality 

    Cons:
    Packing is a bit crap, this might seem a pointless thing, BUT if it was sent in a poster tube or similar, it'd be a lot easier to store and keep dust free :)

    Some pictures of the tool in use:

    Hope that helps someone. 
    Dave. 
    awesome, @PVO_Dave   good to see, hear all gone well and thank you for the poster tube tip. A bit of meths, de natured alcohol or even jack daniels will help you keep the oxide paper surface clean and cutting for as long as possible until you feel it needs to be replaced. Usually it will last 6-9 guitars etc and we have replacements available. kind regards
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  • andypwudtoneandypwudtone Frets: 285
    edited October 2016
    thank you for sharing your experience and feedback here. The Wudtone UTFL  is now shipped in a heavy duty cardboard tube. It also comes with a maple spacer wedge to slide under the strings in front of the nut. ( instead of a pencil ). kind regards 

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  • PVO_DavePVO_Dave Frets: 979
    thank you for sharing your experience and feedback here. The Wudtone UTFL  is now shipped in a heavy duty cardboard tube. It also comes with a maple spacer wedge to slide under the strings in front of the nut. ( instead of a pencil ). kind regards 

    Nice one @andypwudtone - Could there also be some kind of wood spacer to sit on the trem screws to raise the strings at the bridge end (for low action setups)?
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  • I here you,  but with a good bit of lift at the nut end haven't heard of any problems slipping the tool under the strings etc. Will keep an eye on this  council feedback etc . cheers
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  • I've one of these and LOVE it (although I've done so many guitars I've had to get more paper and now need even more!)
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  • thank you for sharing your experience and feedback here. The Wudtone UTFL  is now shipped in a heavy duty cardboard tube. It also comes with a maple spacer wedge to slide under the strings in front of the nut. ( instead of a pencil ). kind regards 

    Wow! That's what you call listening to your customers! Good work fella.. How much are these things? Sounds like a great product. Been meaning to try your finishing products next time I have a suitable project in the go.. And possibly your trems. 
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  • PVO_DavePVO_Dave Frets: 979
    I here you,  but with a good bit of lift at the nut end haven't heard of any problems slipping the tool under the strings etc. Will keep an eye on this  council feedback etc . cheers
    @andypwudtone I found personally that the pressure from the strings at the bridge meant that it was potentially causing the bar to be pushed down at the dusty end unless I was careful.

    Great progress though, the packaging / storage is very useful :) 
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  • FRockStar said:
    thank you for sharing your experience and feedback here. The Wudtone UTFL  is now shipped in a heavy duty cardboard tube. It also comes with a maple spacer wedge to slide under the strings in front of the nut. ( instead of a pencil ). kind regards 

    Wow! That's what you call listening to your customers! Good work fella.. How much are these things? Sounds like a great product. Been meaning to try your finishing products next time I have a suitable project in the go.. And possibly your trems. 
    thank you info here http://www.wudtone.com/product/wudtone-utfl-under-tension-fret-leveller/
    kind regards
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  • PVO_Dave said:
    I here you,  but with a good bit of lift at the nut end haven't heard of any problems slipping the tool under the strings etc. Will keep an eye on this  council feedback etc . cheers
    @andypwudtone I found personally that the pressure from the strings at the bridge meant that it was potentially causing the bar to be pushed down at the dusty end unless I was careful.

    Great progress though, the packaging / storage is very useful :) 
    ok , a slice of foam ( or rolled up paper ) could go between the middle/neck  pickup and just lift the strings if needed. cheers  
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  • PVO_DavePVO_Dave Frets: 979
    PVO_Dave said:
    I here you,  but with a good bit of lift at the nut end haven't heard of any problems slipping the tool under the strings etc. Will keep an eye on this  council feedback etc . cheers
    @andypwudtone I found personally that the pressure from the strings at the bridge meant that it was potentially causing the bar to be pushed down at the dusty end unless I was careful.

    Great progress though, the packaging / storage is very useful :) 
    ok , a slice of foam ( or rolled up paper ) could go between the middle/neck  pickup and just lift the strings if needed. cheers  
    Yup - just a suggestion that if it's cost effective enough to include it in the package it might help some people out - might not be a problem for everyone, but if it's cheap enough, it takes out the need to scour the house for a suitable bit of material :)
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  • I've one of these and LOVE it (although I've done so many guitars I've had to get more paper and now need even more!)
    Wow, these just your own guitars or are you now "in hobby business mode" levelling for friends too. Keen to know your experience, how many guitars have you managed to do before you felt the need to change the paper? cheers
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