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I'm in for a new fret file, and I find the idea with Stewmac's Z-file fine. Do you agree? If so: Which of them?

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It's the best file available. I have the off-center (original?) one. With that, I can file each side of the fret until I only have a small sliver of untouched fret on top. Perfect.

Same here. I use the off-centered  as well and I'm loving it. Once in a while I get the old standard toothed files or even the diamond-coated regular out to try and remember, and they get put back on the shelf very fast. I love the Z-file.

I use the original. Time saver!
Thank you, gentlemen. I would, however like to know the reason why I should by the one variant and not the other.

The off-center file is the best, you can never file down the top of the fret with it since you can see exactly what you are doing when filing. Not so with a centered file.

I bought the off-center for this reason and can't see why I'd use the other ones. I haven't, so I can't really comment on their performance.

Tack!
+1 with Roger's comment. It's nearly mindless. The center line remains. Extra wide flats are the only outlier. They need work with a tri-file to start.

i'll chime in to say that it's the centered Z-file for me

i haven't tried the original offset one but the idea of constantly flipping it over and hoping my line stayed centered didn't appeal; i could go back to my 3-corner file if i wanted to do all that

the trick if any is to actually roll the centered file left and right as you go across, that accomplishes the same task of hitting the fret sides with both shallower and steeper facet angles of the file and more quickly narrows up the center strip (while still avoiding the very center, the main selling point of the Z-files)

stewmac even now says that the original is best for low, worn-out frets (which i make it a point not to waste the customer's money leveling) while the centered is best for tall new frets  

Thanks. But how low can you go? How low frets can you file with your file?

I still have the old centered diamond file. I use it all the time to round off the end of the frets, and also occationally for wide or low frets instead of the Z-file. The Z-file is the only one I use for new frets.

Do I really need a new fret file?
This is the question I agonized over after reading this thread. After all, I’ve still got the first files I ever had, and all the other ones that have come online since. I thought I’ve been doing this for nigh on fifty years maybe what I have will see me out. After all, saving time is not all that important at this time of life.
Even though Stewmac had a 15% discount offer I resisted the temptation.

I even thought hard about their new fret tang nipper, do I really need one, after all I already have two that work well and one other I retired years ago. Resisted that temptation also for the same reasons.

Cheers Taff

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