The guitar builder Mikael Åsberg is in charge of the new TT custom shop and runs this in parallel with his own guitar shop Mås Instrumentmakeri in the same premises.
True Temperament´s former custom shop in Stockholm is now an R&D center, where all development work is done, by True Temperament inventor Anders Thidell (to the left in the photo).
This is happening at the same time as a very important change when it comes to the production of TT-necks and that is that all fret work, finishing work and quality control is now done in Sweden! This guarantees the highest possible quality, which we think should be a matter of course when it comes to a high end product like True Temperament.
Mikael Åsberg's guitar shop is a state-of-the-art workshop equipped with a CNC for precision jobs such as True Temperament. In addition to standard carpentry tools and machines, there are a number of milling templates, jigs and special tools for guitar building. His first CNC was purchased in 2017, which he describes as an eye-opener into the digital world with all its possibilities. The first machine, however, was a hobby machine that in the summer of 2020 was replaced by a 350 kg professional Rensi CNC-machine when True Temperament came into his world.
– My job is to make semi-finished necks into TT ready necks, says Mikael. At present, these are replacement necks for Telecaster® and Stratocaster®. I mill the radius on the fretboard, cut the fret slots, glue in the frets, put finish on, make inlays and so on.
Mikael describes doing the fret work on a TT-guitar:
– To get a perfect end result without having to level and crown the stainless steel frets, it is important to have a CNC of high quality. In addition to the machine – being as well calibrated as the high precision TT-frets are – it is important to have the right CAM program, have sharp milling bits and drive at a pace so that the bit has time to cut down the wood of the fretboard.
When the milling is complete and the slots are cleaned, Mikael glue them with Epoxy glue. The frets are then pressed down – while the glue hardens – with a high precision pressing tool.
– The challenge of a TT fret work is to get a perfect fit in the fret slots – you should be able to press down the frets with your hand. If the previous work has been thorough, minimal sanding is required. With the TT cover plate, it is very easy to polish the frets for pure playing pleasure, says Mikael.
Mikael also makes True Temperament conversions of guitars, old and new ones. This means that the fretboard is removed and a new TT fretboard is mounted. This is especially in demand on guitars with set necks, such as Gibson Les Paul and on acoustic guitars.
So what is Mikael´s opinion about the True Temperament Fretting System so far?
– After working with True Temperament for some time now I can only say that I am completely blown away about the system. I realized quite early on that my own guitar models will have TT as a standard and have straight fretted fingerboards as an option. I believe that today's musicians should have access to this fantastic invention on their instruments because the notes match so well. I am grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to TT with my knowledge and the craft knowledge that has come to me over the years. To be able to develop both my own knowledge further and to be a part of the True Temperament world. Ulf Zackrisson©
Photos: Mikael Åsberg©