#1
So yeah, how many of you guys have done refret jobs yourself?

What did it take? In terms of risk, money, tools, etc.


I do a lot of nut jobs, including 12 string guitar nuts. I do scalloping too so I do have a lot of experience with this type of stuff.

Just wondering whether I should attempt refretting my strat or replacing the neck?

The guitar is of very high personal value for me so I want it to be a player guitar not a parked one. I only got a single luthier capable of refretting and he asks 200 dollars which is ridiculous for the country I am in right now (average wage is 200 dollars per month).

Anyways, let me know what your experience has been like with refretting a strat and help me figure out whether I want a refret or a neck swap.


PS. what wire would you suggest? (I'm going to go with precut wire)
#2
Never tried it myself but I'll most likely end up having to do it. I would have a spare neck around if I were to try it though.

If you've scalloped a fretboard before I can't imagine a refret being much harder. Fender sells frets pre-cut to certain fretboard radius'; might wanna start there.

You need something to pull the frets. Needle nose bent at a 90 degree angle at the tip might work if your really careful. Stew Mac sells actual fret pulling tools. There are fret crowning files as well but you might be able to get away with some standard files IF your skilled and careful.

my 2 cents
#4
Stew mac "fret pullers" are over priced end cutting pliers

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#5
avoid stewmac like a plague.

I suggest you check this video and its second part to get a good idea what you need for fret dressing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frLNH8W_Qhs
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#6
Quote by Marrowoflife
How old is the guitar?

it's about 8 -9 years old and I've been playing on it 2-7 hours on daily basis, gigging too.

The frets have some buzzing and everything. i feel like I could get away with fret recrowning but I think I'd rather put the effort and money into refretting and just forgetting for the next few years.

I am thinking of either going with Fender Precut wire or getting some stainless steel or something. Opinions?

BTW, thanks everybody for tuning in and giving me yoru advice. I really appreciate it.

I'm imagining I wouldn't need to crown the frets if I am putting fresh ones. I'm also imagining I wont need to file/flatten the neck because the wood doesnt seem to be worn out so much that it needs flattening.

and yeah I was also thinking I'll be able to find a nice set of 'fret' removing pliers for cheaper in a regular shop
Last edited by Vendetta V at Feb 5, 2014,
#7
you HAVE to do a level and crown when you put in new frets. all of your frets will be different heights.
#9
Quote by Vendetta V
it's about 8 -9 years old and I've been playing on it 2-7 hours on daily basis, gigging too.

The frets have some buzzing and everything. i feel like I could get away with fret recrowning but I think I'd rather put the effort and money into refretting and just forgetting for the next few years.


Ok - You are already aware of the leveling option. I had a 7-8 year old SG that developed small fret grooves which caused notes to go sharp at random. At the time I though my playing was just getting worse Anyhow eventually I took it to a shop and they just leveled 3 frets which saved me some $$.
#10
I did a complete refret on my Hondo a few years ago. Used pre cut fret wire. My sig has a link to the rework.

I used this you tube video as my guide, and its excellent. There multiple parts to the tutorial.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgKb2lTQKEM&list=TLbQG2kjvyXWjk8ZmF-6jMB2yT3RyFD7QJ

When you see everything he goes through, you will come to realise 200 dollars isn't a lot of money to do the whole lot, even if its expensive for you.

He uses stainless steel, but for a beginner I don't recommend this, at all. Stainless is hard to work with, to bend, and will wreck your cutters, files and tools in general pretty quickly.

Also he uses an end ground nipper to pull the frets. Great if you have a grinder to do this. I used man size flat face nail clippers and it worked just as well. I also don't have a fret press, but I do have a vice and wood blocks used to good effect.

Like someone else wrote above, a final level and recrown is a must.

It was relatively straightforwards, but you require a lot of patience. Take it slow. Don't rush anything. If you rush any single part of it, you will certainly screw something up.
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Last edited by Phoenix V at Feb 6, 2014,
#11
Quote by Vendetta V
it's about 8 -9 years old and I've been playing on it 2-7 hours on daily basis, gigging too.

The frets have some buzzing and everything. i feel like I could get away with fret recrowning but I think I'd rather put the effort and money into refretting and just forgetting for the next few years.

I am thinking of either going with Fender Precut wire or getting some stainless steel or something. Opinions?

BTW, thanks everybody for tuning in and giving me yoru advice. I really appreciate it.

I'm imagining I wouldn't need to crown the frets if I am putting fresh ones. I'm also imagining I wont need to file/flatten the neck because the wood doesnt seem to be worn out so much that it needs flattening.

and yeah I was also thinking I'll be able to find a nice set of 'fret' removing pliers for cheaper in a regular shop


Re crowning is done as one of the final steps, whether you have just re fretted or leveled the existing frets. Crowning gives the frets back their shape after they have been flattened by leveling, it has nothing to do with actually making the frets level, in fact the very idea is to not touch the very fret tops with the crowning file. The procedure should go like this when leveling frets.

Straighten neck completely with truss rod
Assess with a straight edge to find problem areas and how far its off
Level (read up on how to)
Re crown with crowning file
Polish

With a guitar that's only 8-9 years old I would be very surprised if you need a re fret. All you need to do is level as the procedure above, its much less work and there is nothing inferior about doing this rather than a re fret. In fact its much better to level rather than re fret, its a lot less risky, less tools are required, does not damage the value of the guitar and much easier. A re fret is also not going to last you any longer than a level either and would be completely unnecessary if not truly needed.

You're definitely correct to leave the wood well alone !!

Hope this helps
#12
Actually now that you guys say that i'll still need crowning and leveling even after refretting then I guess leveling it is! I checked my strats frets yesterday and so far I only have buzz on some distinct string/frets, only 1-3 spots actually and some of them aren't even a problem thru an amp. Looking at my frets, they've preserved quite well so throwing them away would be kind of wrong. Definitely going to level them instead.

Should I get a crowning file or working with a regular file is just fine? I know it's more precision and effort but I can definitely do that if I can scallop guitars and make 12 string nuts and stuff.


To be honest, Manton Customs, I've heard tons of stories how people need a refret within a year of using a fresh guitar. guess that's where bad fretwire plays a role. So i kind of assumed 7-10 years is like when it might need a refret but now that I actually think about it a leveljob will do just fine

thanks again for the feedback guys

PS. my mainconcern is the 5th fret of high E. It buzzess and it's not my action/trussrod. All is setup nicely. May be I can get away with just straigthening the fretboard and then leveling the side of that string (or the highest there fret) instead of leveling/crowning the entire fretboard?
Last edited by Vendetta V at Feb 7, 2014,
#13
This brings up a mod I've wanted to do for a while now. I want to make a old 5 string bass i have a fretless, is it as simple as removing the frets, and filling the slots with wood putty, lowering the nut, and putting it back together?
Gear:

Guitars:
BC Rich Warlock
Dean 88
ME682-In Progress
Amps:
Carvin SX300
Etc:
Clayton 1.0mm picks
Planet Waves cables.
#14
Quote by Vendetta V
Actually now that you guys say that i'll still need crowning and leveling even after refretting then I guess leveling it is! I checked my strats frets yesterday and so far I only have buzz on some distinct string/frets, only 1-3 spots actually and some of them aren't even a problem thru an amp. Looking at my frets, they've preserved quite well so throwing them away would be kind of wrong. Definitely going to level them instead.

Should I get a crowning file or working with a regular file is just fine? I know it's more precision and effort but I can definitely do that if I can scallop guitars and make 12 string nuts and stuff.


To be honest, Manton Customs, I've heard tons of stories how people need a refret within a year of using a fresh guitar. guess that's where bad fretwire plays a role. So i kind of assumed 7-10 years is like when it might need a refret but now that I actually think about it a leveljob will do just fine

thanks again for the feedback guys

PS. my mainconcern is the 5th fret of high E. It buzzess and it's not my action/trussrod. All is setup nicely. May be I can get away with just straigthening the fretboard and then leveling the side of that string (or the highest there fret) instead of leveling/crowning the entire fretboard?



Yes, get a crowning file, it'll be worth it in the long run, make sure it fits your frets though! You can of course try with a three corner file, but its quite tricky and more time consuming.

If people are telling you they need re frets after a year, they are either mistaken and need only a fret level or setup, or there is something seriously wrong with the guitar....Like really seriously!

If you are confident your setup is ok and your going to perform a fret level then you need to make sure the tops of all frets are touched with the leveling stone/file/paper. You can attempt to do it by spot leveling the high frets, but your unlikely to get good results. So its better to level all of them.