#1
Hey everyone, hope you can help me out.

I just bought a used Mexican Telecaster in pretty good condition, except it's got some noticeable fretwear on the first 4-5 frets, and this little bit of damage to the fretboard on the first fret.

First of all, is this enough fret damage to get them replaced? Could i have them repaired or polished down?
Second, is the damage on the first fret something to be worried about? Should i be looking into filling that up and getting it sanded and refinished? It doesen't affect playing but i'm concerned anyways.

Thanks in advance!



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#2
That amount of fret wear can easily be filed out with a fret level and crown. No need to replace the frets yet.

That damage you're seeing on the fretboard looks like the previous owner has worn through the finish on the fretboard and down to the bare wood with their fingernails. I wouldn't worry about it. People are actually willing to pay people money to beat up on their guitars and put wear spots on the fretboard just like the ones you've photographed. Many consider such genuine play wear a badge of honour.
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I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
#3
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
That amount of fret wear can easily be filed out with a fret level and crown. No need to replace the frets yet.

That damage you're seeing on the fretboard looks like the previous owner has worn through the finish on the fretboard and down to the bare wood with their fingernails. I wouldn't worry about it. People are actually willing to pay people money to beat up on their guitars and put wear spots on the fretboard just like the ones you've photographed. Many consider such genuine play wear a badge of honour.

Thank you for the quick response. I was a little worried that the slit could spread or something, glad ot hear it looks like it's just some fingernail wear.

I shall wear this badge of honour with pride then!
#4
Quote by BraveKiwi
Thank you for the quick response. I was a little worried that the slit could spread or something, glad ot hear it looks like it's just some fingernail wear.

I shall wear this badge of honour with pride then!

But it wasn't you that put it there...
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Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
#5
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
But it wasn't you that put it there...

At least i got a road-worn finish for free then  
#6
I agree with T00DEEPBLUE and would only add that you shouldn't bother with a fret dressing until you start having issues with things like fret buzz.  The frets can only be leveled and recrowned a few times so you don't want to do it unless it actually needs to be done.
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#7
Quote by CorduroyEW
I agree with T00DEEPBLUE and would only add that you shouldn't bother with a fret dressing until you start having issues with things like fret buzz.  The frets can only be leveled and recrowned a few times so you don't want to do it unless it actually needs to be done.


Worth noting a couple of things:
A manual fret level will take off more material than a PLEK job will, and will have you needing a refret sooner, but a PLEK job will cost you double what a manual job will (generally). OTOH, I've taken a guitar in for a fret superglue and PLEK fret level and had it back six hours later. If your tech tells you two weeks to a month for a manual fret level, you have a decision to make .

You may find that you only really need to *replace* four or five frets (particularly true if you're gorilla gripping cowboy chords) where the wear is heaviest. I know a guy who pretty much ONLY plays the first seven frets and who panics when he finds himself much above that.

But for now, nothing drastic is required on your guitar.
#8
Quote by dspellman
Worth noting a couple of things:
A manual fret level will take off more material than a PLEK job will, and will have you needing a refret sooner, but a PLEK job will cost you double what a manual job will (generally). OTOH, I've taken a guitar in for a fret superglue and PLEK fret level and had it back six hours later. If your tech tells you two weeks to a month for a manual fret level, you have a decision to make .

You may find that you only really need to *replace* four or five frets (particularly true if you're gorilla gripping cowboy chords) where the wear is heaviest. I know a guy who pretty much ONLY plays the first seven frets and who panics when he finds himself much above that.

But for now, nothing drastic is required on your guitar.

Thank you for the detailed response.

Could i ask you some basic stuff? I'm just now diving into this. What exactly is a PLEK fret level job? I guess a manual fret level is just filing down the fret to level it out.

Also, i didn't know i could replace specific frets without doing a complete refret. Would there be problems if the frets are not exactly the same as the ones that i'm not replacing?

Thank you in advance for your time.
Last edited by BraveKiwi at Jun 28, 2017,
#9
Quote by BraveKiwi


Could i ask you some basic stuff? I'm just now diving into this. What exactly is a PLEK fret level job? I guess a manual fret level is just filing down the fret to level it out.

Also, i didn't know i could replace specific frets without doing a complete refret. Would there be problems if the frets are not exactly the same as the ones that i'm not replacing?


Here's the information on PLEK (there's some technical reading here, but worth the time): http://www.plek.com/
A manual fret job involves removing the strings, determining which frets are high and which are low, and then simply sanding the frets with sandpaper on a long bar until they're all the same height. Essentially this removes some material from every fret. Then they all need to be crowned (you've got to restore the rounded top on the fret) which removes a bit more material. Then you have to string the guitar up and see if the frets are actually level. Often they're not, especially if the frets aren't glued, because some necks will curve unevenly under tension, and sometimes a fret will be "squeezed" out of its tang slot slightly, so a good tech will go back and check individual groups of three frets at a time all over the fretboard to find those that are still problems. Then he'll file those individual frets. It's time-consuming.

The PLEK job measures the frets with thousandth of an inch precision *while * the guitar is strung and under tension using the string gauge and tuning you use most. At that point, the software on the PLEK knows which frets are high, which are low, and which it can leave alone. It will then mill the individual frets (strings are loosened and moved to the side or off altogether) and crown them in one operation. Then the guitar is put back under string tension and measured again.
I've actually handed a guitar off to a PLEK tech at 11am and gotten it back at 6 pm after a complete fret glue and PLEK setup. And several other PLEK runs were done in that time. The machines are something around 100 grand, so what you're paying for is less the tech time and more a portion of the monthly payment on the machine.

The frets that you're putting in should be exactly the same (in most cases) as those you're removing, since most fretwire is pretty standardized these days. In the off chance that you *have* to use a different fretwire (generally find a different tech if this is proposed to you), there shouldn't be a major issue getting the new frets to match the old ones.