#1
I've got an old (1974) CSL Les Paul. Made in Japan. Absolutely wonderful thing, except that it really shows and feels like it was made nearly 40 years ago now. The frets on it are worn down to the state of almost non-existence, and the nut has been replaced at some point in the past (badly). It plays brilliantly and sounds amazing, however, so I'd like to try and help this guitar back to some shade of its former glory.

I'm not wealthy. Not even close. That's why taking it and getting it professionally refretted isn't really an option, since it costs literally hundreds of pounds. Getting the nut replaced costs money too.

So anyway, what can I do? Would refretting it myself be a viable option? I'm OK with stuff like that. Thank you!




You can see the extent of it here I think. Note how the nut is not cut evenly at all (space between the A and D strings is much greater than the other strings!). I did however file the slots myself.
Last edited by meticadpa at Feb 23, 2012,
#3
Well, that is a good point, except that the frets are worn to the point where bending is becoming increasingly difficult, and it's affecting intonation higher up the neck. Plus I think it'd be nice to bring it back to its former glory since it's in (mostly) good condition aesthetics wise.
#4
You aren't wrong in saying the nut was installed badly. The spacing between the A and D string looks completely wrong.
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#5
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
You aren't wrong in saying the nut was installed badly. The spacing between the A and D string looks completely wrong.

Yep, it is. Much less noticeable as you go further up the neck though, so that doesn't bother me too much.
#6
Replacing the nut is easy and something you should be able to do yourself, though you can't really cut the nut slots of the best action until you have the frets replaced and that most certainly is not something you can do yourself. It's hard enough to replace frets on a plin guitar, but on one with binding it is quite a task and it is easy to really screw the guitar up. It may seem unfair that a good guitar tech or luthier charges so much for replacing the frets on a neck with binding, but there's a very good reason why they ask for so much for the job - it's a damn hard task.

If you really love the guitar, save up and take it to a luthier who can give it the treatment it needs. If you try and bodge it yourself on the cheap you'll only end up ruining your guitar. Most good luthiers will cut a new nut for you and fit that too at the same time for not much more if they're doing the frets anyway.
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#7
Quote by MrFlibble
Replacing the nut is easy and something you should be able to do yourself, though you can't really cut the nut slots of the best action until you have the frets replaced and that most certainly is not something you can do yourself. It's hard enough to replace frets on a plin guitar, but on one with binding it is quite a task and it is easy to really screw the guitar up. It may seem unfair that a good guitar tech or luthier charges so much for replacing the frets on a neck with binding, but there's a very good reason why they ask for so much for the job - it's a damn hard task.

If you really love the guitar, save up and take it to a luthier who can give it the treatment it needs. If you try and bodge it yourself on the cheap you'll only end up ruining your guitar. Most good luthiers will cut a new nut for you and fit that too at the same time for not much more if they're doing the frets anyway.


I was afraid this would be the case... hm. I'm not sure I can justify spending a hell of a lot of money getting the guitar re-fretted when I bought it for just £75. Plus, the money I spent on that would be better going towards buying the Fireman I want.

Thanks guys!
#8
Quote by meticadpa
Well, that is a good point, except that the frets are worn to the point where bending is becoming increasingly difficult, and it's affecting intonation higher up the neck. Plus I think it'd be nice to bring it back to its former glory since it's in (mostly) good condition aesthetics wise.


WRONG IS NOT A WRONG ENOUGH WORD TO DESCRIBE IT!!!

OT: Mmmm, i think you should save up some money until you can have someone professionally do it, IMO fretting will put you down enough money buying tools and such to do it same goes probably for changing the nut but i think you could get a pre-made nut like a graphtech which if you measure the nut size i'm more than sure they have something that will fit your guitar.

Leave the frets to a pro since sincerely it's just crazy hard sometimes to refret a guitar, now a guitar with binding is just... You need to know the knack of it >,< how many times... Did i almost damaged some LP's, oh God the horror...
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#9
Hi,I'm new here. Today as a matter of factI joined looking for info on some of my stuff, anded up reading some of this stuff,I'm new at computers and websites so please forgive any stupidity or mistakes in advance.Re-fret the thing.You said you were OK with that.I hope that means you've done it before.If you can do that,you sure as hell should'nt have a problem cutting a nut.It looks like they put it on there with the stuff you put around a leaky toilet.Your frets ain't gonna lead to intonation problems.Take the strings off and put a steel straight edge on it,set it on the binding if you can.Also while you still got it strung,strum it and pull back and forth by the headstock/If you got big changes you got big problems.If not its your bridge.The same guy who made the nut probably set it up.For 75 pounds it'll be a hell of a learning experience,anyway.Good luck,have fun.......scented candles and INCEST? panhead201.
#10
If you really like the guitar, it may be worth giving it to a luthier to give it a full refret and a new nut. But its not a cheap job and its not something you can just do yourself.
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#12
Is it Gibson Les Paul? Or a Les Paul style guitar?
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#13
Quote by Dr Sixstring
Is it Gibson Les Paul? Or a Les Paul style guitar?

Defiantly not a Gibson
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#14
Quote by Heilz
WRONG IS NOT A WRONG ENOUGH WORD TO DESCRIBE IT!!!

OT: Mmmm, i think you should save up some money until you can have someone professionally do it, IMO fretting will put you down enough money buying tools and such to do it same goes probably for changing the nut but i think you could get a pre-made nut like a graphtech which if you measure the nut size i'm more than sure they have something that will fit your guitar.

Leave the frets to a pro since sincerely it's just crazy hard sometimes to refret a guitar, now a guitar with binding is just... You need to know the knack of it >,< how many times... Did i almost damaged some LP's, oh God the horror...

Quote by panhead201
Hi,I'm new here. Today as a matter of factI joined looking for info on some of my stuff, anded up reading some of this stuff,I'm new at computers and websites so please forgive any stupidity or mistakes in advance.Re-fret the thing.You said you were OK with that.I hope that means you've done it before.If you can do that,you sure as hell should'nt have a problem cutting a nut.It looks like they put it on there with the stuff you put around a leaky toilet.Your frets ain't gonna lead to intonation problems.Take the strings off and put a steel straight edge on it,set it on the binding if you can.Also while you still got it strung,strum it and pull back and forth by the headstock/If you got big changes you got big problems.If not its your bridge.The same guy who made the nut probably set it up.For 75 pounds it'll be a hell of a learning experience,anyway.Good luck,have fun.......scented candles and INCEST? panhead201.


Quote by moscaespañol
Have you refretted before?



Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Defiantly not a Gibson


Cheers guys. No, I've never re-fretted a guitar before (but how does anyone start on this stuff?!). I guess it's true that I'd spend just as much money buying tools and parts as it'd cost to get the guitar re-fretted too. Hmph. Ah well.

And to those who're curious: It's not a Gibson -- it's a Japanese-made Les Paul copy. See a pic of it here. Made in the same factory as the old Ibanez Les Pauls, I believe. Like the one PG plays.
#15
I would say the answer depends upon your perspective or feeling about it. The money you put into the guitar will be more than its worth market wise. This does not count what it is worth to you. That is the main point, it is like restoring an old car... the blue book value will remain the same no matter what you do to make it better. The increase in value is only to you (unless it is a highly sought after product). So i guess what this long winded rambling post is saying is, if you love the guitar put the money into it and enjoy your guitar. The money will not make it worth more to anyone but you (which isn't a bad thing)
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#16
Maybe one of the builders on UG would regret it for you more cheaply than luthiers?

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#17
needs new nut, bridge (possibly) frets, strings, pickups, tuners etc. basically all or most of the hardware. I bet the overall build is good though.

Edit: Only option to save money and upgrade one at a time then...
Last edited by dragonkidkoga at Feb 23, 2012,
#18
IMO there are some guitars that you just retire and keep them in a safe area or on display. you can still look at it, take it down if you want to play it.

i would get a new guitar, although i don't know your budget.

i have an either 81 or 82 gibson (own one of each year) with one with major fretwear, i don't want to pay to get it done and i don't want to mess the guitar up.

i think i will just buy some necks on ebay that go dirt cheap and practice on a few of those, and buy the proper tools, hell maybe i could even resell the necks. who knows. but i would have to feel pretty confident. no binding on that guitar either which makes it at least a little earlier.
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#19
Quote by dragonkidkoga
needs new nut, bridge (possibly) frets, strings, pickups, tuners etc. basically all or most of the hardware. I bet the overall build is good though.

Edit: Only option to save money and upgrade one at a time then...


i am curious but where did you determine anything about his bridge and tuners and all hardware? i didn't see mention of it.
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#20
Take it to any store that does guitar work,put a new nut on it set up the bridge after they dress the frets,$25 maybe,clean the crap off it and put new strings on it.If it plays brilliantly now,it oughta be great after that.For what it's gonna cost you to re-fret this thing you can buy another LP copy and hang this thing on the wall.By the looks of the nut and the binding a reputable luthier would probably charge you 200 bucks,in advance,and guarantee nothing if he'd take it at all.For 10 bucks you can buy a precut nut and a new set of strings.The binding is already cracked,for what it would cost you to restore this thing to its former glory you can probably buy an epiphone LP copy,and if you really love this guitar,hang it on the wall.The A string is buried so deep it looks like somebody made the nut with a chainsaw.
Last edited by panhead201 at Mar 27, 2012,
#21
Yeah the bridge and tuners ain't mentioned and should''nt make a bit of difference.Saddles,maybe.
#22
What I see in the future of this guitar:
- Repair
- Refret or retire

If it were mine, I'd replace the nut (not hard, lots of info online)(I did my first one after watching a 10 minute youtube video).

Then, I'd take a fine file, tape the fretboard, and file every fret down a little. Then, a home fret-leveling job.

Yeah, the frets will be LOW. But, you can learn to live with it (trust me). Worst case, you have to take the frets so low, they need to be replaced (you're no worse off than you are today).

I have a 74 Gibson Les Paul that this was done to many years ago. It still plays fine. You can do bends on it. It is similar to the "fretless wonder" Gibsons of days-gone-by.
#23
Yeah,I agree with Gretschanon.And you can find a used epiphone or whatever Les Paul on c-list for what it would cost you to re-fret it,and if you,ve never done it yourself before,your in for a real experience.Panhead