Is it time to fix up the fretboard?

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by JM5010, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. JM5010

    JM5010 Member

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    Here’s my Gretsch 5120. Don’t worry, the lame humcuckers are long gone lol.

    I’ve been playing the **** out of it for two years now, is it time to send it over to a luthier for a check up?

    F66D073A-3F6B-42D6-A0A9-A4FCF506A736.jpeg
     
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  2. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it's time for a fret level and dress.

    Speaking as a luthier and repairman with almost 35 years experience, yes, it's due for a touch-up. But not a refret.
     
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  3. JeffMcLeod

    JeffMcLeod Well-Known Member

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    I'm certainly no luthier, but when you start getting those flat spots, I'd guess that at least some crowning is in order.
     
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  4. ampmadscientist

    ampmadscientist Well-Known Member

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    Start the reactor... Free Mars!
    You are going to need to replace some or all of the frets.
    There is wear beyond what a crown job will fix.
    Usually a Luthier will replace them all instead of replacing just what's worn down.

    fretwear.png
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
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  5. SkyMonkey

    SkyMonkey Well-Known Member

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    I have trained as a luthier too (a long long time ago) and would agree that there is plenty of metal left in those frets. I have seen lots worse get a fret dress before resorting to a full refret.

    Be aware though that the frets will be coming down and the feel of the neck will change somewhat.
     
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  6. anitoli

    anitoli Well-Known Member

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    I have had guitars with way more wear than your guitar is showing and was able to level and dress them to perfection. But i learned that if i don't want to keep having to do this stainless steel is the way to go.
     
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  7. MarshallDog

    MarshallDog Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Does stainless steel affect the tone at all?
     
  8. South Park

    South Park Active Member

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    I think the steal strings might work better with the magnets in the pickups.the next set of strings will get the magnet test.fret dressing is a real art
     
  9. Filipe Soares

    Filipe Soares Well-Known Member

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    man.. you're eating these frets!!! firt of all congrats for all the hours you've been playing this guitar.

    second, if you go by the refret route think about stainless steel. they'll last a lot longer.
     
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  10. Wildeman

    Wildeman Well-Known Member

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    I've heard guys getting good sounds from those Gretschbuckers, i hated them myself and put regular Filtertron's in my 5120.
     
  11. SkyMonkey

    SkyMonkey Well-Known Member

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    Er….yeah. The stainless steel people are referring to is in the frets, not the strings!

    Stainless steel frets will last substantially longer than the softer nickel alloy ones.
    But they are harder to work and install. Expect a higher charge for stainless frets.
     
  12. anitoli

    anitoli Well-Known Member

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    Not from what i can tell.
     
  13. MarshallDog

    MarshallDog Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Cool!
     
  14. JM5010

    JM5010 Member

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    thanks guys! hope CFW doesn’t charge too much.

    would a fret level and dress help the sustain and note clarity?
     
  15. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    Yes, if the frets are worn to the point that you're getting buzzing because of it.

    No, those frets are not too worn for a level and dress. Not even close, unless you are super intolerant of medium or low frets. And some people are. I have one customer who has me install the tallest frets you can possibly find on his guitars, and when they'd be due for a level, crown, and dress for anybody else, he gets a refret instead. Because he likes them tall, and not medium height. Obviously you will lose some fret height when levelling and dressing worn frets.
     
  16. Matt_Krush

    Matt_Krush Well-Known Member

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    If that's only 2 years....I'd replace the frets. Those are way to soft.

    My oldest and one of my 1st new guitars, a '94 Jackson Rhoads (Jap model), I played 30 hours a week for about 4 years.
    Finally refretted it 2 years ago and they weren't no where that worn out.
     
  17. jmp45

    jmp45 Well-Known Member

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    Krikey the frets do need replaced.. I have stainless in my Parker, those frets are eternal and you'll wreck any file you put across them. Well maybe... ;)
     
  18. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    Between myself and other people who call themselves luthiers and guitar techs in my area, that crowd is about ten people.

    Not one of us would refret over such a small amount of wear. I don't know where anybody is getting the notion that that moderate wear is enough to warrant a refret. It just isn't true. No experienced tech or luthier would say that. But what do I know? I've only been working on and building guitars for coming up on 35 years now, and the number of fretjobs I've done is up in the hundreds. I've probably refretted half the guitars in this county! The pro players around here come to ME or to people I recommend for fret work.


    As for the amount of wear, in two years with a very consistent practice habit of half an hour a day, five days a week, that's not more wear than I would expect out of any normal nickel-silver fretwire. In fact I might expect more.

    I've had some customers who pretty much spent every waking hour playing their guitar, and they NEEDED a full refret every six months. Of course they were also very big on bending notes and had a pretty strong vibrato as well.
     
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