#1
we all know some slip through the cracks, but what company do you think does the best factory fret work?

i was very amazed on my ibanez prestiges, but my Fender 52AVRI tele, is way better. both guitars are within a $100 or so.

PRS CU are very nice, but still not like that tele i have.

Gibson now i don't know but the newest gibson weren't that bad, but not up to the level of the three aformentioned companies. and newer gibsons i am not familiar with.

i have owned two Jacksons DKMG and a DKMGT, and both had dead frets out of the box, but the edges felt nice. (although they are $1000 less), but i haven't had a soloist, i have played them but i don't remember.

i am just curious to see what other people think.
#2
guessing that you'll find that price point has more to do with it than factory per se. the fret work on say American made fenders is generally excellent, MIM can be more spotty but often is good. played some lower end Ibanez guitars with terrible fretwork. I'd fully expect the prestige series to have high quality standards (hence the name).
#4
Quote by monwobobbo
guessing that you'll find that price point has more to do with it than factory per se. the fret work on say American made fenders is generally excellent, MIM can be more spotty but often is good. played some lower end Ibanez guitars with terrible fretwork. I'd fully expect the prestige series to have high quality standards (hence the name).


i agree that its a price point thing, but could be factory, country.

MIM's don't even have the same feeling along the edge of the fretboards like the MIA's but i don't think i have played too many MIMs with a dead fret. the fret ends are not nearly as smooth to the MIA.

is plek'ing the answer?

i have one gibson that is, BUT the 52AVRI still is better.


Rooster - you are probably right.
#5
I see each guitar on a more individual basis. So I don't really care which company is the most consistent that much. I just care that the guitars I specifically own (or I am thinking of buying) have good fret levelling.

Trying to generalize other people's guitars will only create a shitstorm because everyone has different personal experiences.

Another thing to be mindful of is that fret problems aren't always caused by the factory that builds them. Frets can sometimes come loose due to changes in the environment the guitar is in, which often happens when guitars are shipped and transported. Frets around the body joints going bad is also common for a similar reason. The glues drying and curing over a long period of time can cause the area of the body joint to shrink, and that can cause frets to go ajar. This problem occurs long after the guitar is constructed, so it isn't really the manufacturer's fault.

Besides, a dead fret here or there is very annoying, but cheap to fix with a decent guitar tech. A guy who runs a guitar shop near me does a full fret dress for £45 and levelling a high fret only costs a fiver. Really not a deal breaker if you like the rest of the guitar.
Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Nov 5, 2014,
#6
Quote by trashedlostfdup
we all know some slip through the cracks, but what company do you think does the best factory fret work?


If you're not getting the guitar direct from the factory, there's really no way to know. A couple of months storage on the wall of some GC will go far to obliterate whatever the guitar may have started with.

Of the guitars that I've received direct from the factory (or builder), I'd say that Carvin and Suhr do the best job, along with Nik Huber, Taylor and Trussart. Gibson's well down the list (on average), as is Fender.

The Asian contingent is mostly here and there. The real problem is that they've done at least 6000 miles in a container on a boat before they land in LA, so you don't really know what the factory fretwork was like. Agile's higher end guitars have hand-filed frets, and they're quite good. The under-$250 guitars don't have that labor cost included, so they're good but not great. Schector recognizes this and takes the time to send their guitars to Burbank and have them set up reasonably well before they ship them out. But there's still the dreaded "wall" to contend with once they arrive at the brick and mortar.

Factories don't glue their frets (custom builders often do), and one of the first things I have done when I get a guitar that's new to me these days is have the frets superglued. Aside from preventing frets from working loose in a dry climate, it also enhances the connection between fret and fretboard, filling the airspace in the tang cavity, and largely eliminating dead frets. The process involves wicking thin superglue into the cavities, and it's a bit fiddly and time consuming, but IMHO so worth it. Custom builders that glue their frets during installation usually use Titebond, which is also just fine. Big difference, trust me, between glued and not-glued frets.

For most new (to me) guitars, I figure the cost of a PLEK job and really good initial setup into the cost of the guitar. You can't do that if you're on a tight budget, obviously. But a lot of brands of guitars are like kits. From the factory, they have nuts that are cut for medium-high action, and mediocre fretwork is fine for that. To get the action down low, you need to work over the nut, and you have to have perfectly level frets. If you're a gorilla gripper hard strummer type, you probably won't know or care what good fretwork is. If you're working toward flying around the fretboard with speed and precision, you will.
#7
i certainly agree that gibson is down on the list. most of mine are from the 90's and early 00's, but the newer models are worse.

i am really surprised on fender, that AVRI just feels perfect.

i would love to have a Suhr, definitely one of the best guitars i have picked up. second to that goes to a ball family JP sig. ****er screams.
______


while we are talking frets, what would be a reasonable price for a refret on a 1982 non bound gibson guitar (sonex 360).
#8
"I see each guitar on a more individual basis. So I don't really care which company is the most consistent that much. I just care that the guitars I specifically own (or I am thinking of buying) have good fret levelling.

Trying to generalize other people's guitars will only create a shitstorm because everyone has different personal experiences."


Exactly.
#9
how are your variax necks? i have a neck with nothing else (never used , installed etc) but i wasn't impressed with the fretwork on the neck (PM me if you are interseted in the neck. i will let it go really cheap).

or do you get a lot of work on them?
#10
Quote by Metalmann67
"I see each guitar on a more individual basis. So I don't really care which company is the most consistent that much. I just care that the guitars I specifically own (or I am thinking of buying) have good fret levelling.

Trying to generalize other people's guitars will only create a shitstorm because everyone has different personal experiences."


Exactly.


i learned something from despellman no shit storm yet.
#11
It definitely varies from guitar to guitar, and also depends on price point. In general, I've noticed Schecter has very consistently good fret work. But that's probably because they have the guitars from the Asian factories set up (including fret work, if needed) at a USA shop before going to dealers.
#12
Quote by trashedlostfdup
how are your variax necks? i have a neck with nothing else (never used , installed etc) but i wasn't impressed with the fretwork on the neck (PM me if you are interseted in the neck. i will let it go really cheap).

or do you get a lot of work on them?


The neck on the old Variax 500 series I have seems to be okay, though nothing special. The newer JTV 89F I picked up about a year ago is genuinely (and unexpectedly) outstanding.
#13
PRS have the best QC of any mass produced guitar company period.

Companies like Suhr are not mass produced, but they are incredibly made.