Registered User
Join date: Dec 2007
270 IQ
Hey everybody. I have a Takamine G330. I bought it at a pawn shop so its pretty old and i believe it's an old model guitar. I do have some trouble doing clean chords. I don't know if this is my lack of experience of because my guitar's frets are done for. Is there a for sure method i can check the frets myself or do I have to go to a music shop and have them check it for me. I dont want them to tell me that i need a fret job even though i dont!
Registered Offender
Join date: Mar 2007
2,803 IQ
you only need to refret if your frets are chipped or brokem most of the time.
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d[-.-]b Asian Audiophile.
Join date: Apr 2007
1,602 IQ
The only other reason to retreat aside from the reasons given by the poster above is because of wear. How do you know it's time to change? the string will hit the fretboard instead of the frets.
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Registered User
Join date: Mar 2006
471 IQ
If you need to re-fret, there will be very noticable wear and grooves in your frets.
Marcel Veltman
Wielder of Tools
Join date: Apr 2004
643 IQ
Worn off frets don't always mean you'll have to replace them. It's a pretty tedious and time consuming job if you do it yourself, and expensive if you outsource it. It really pays off when you manage to avoid it.
Whenever I want to know wether frets should be replaced, redone or left alone, I check intonation on the lower frets and the clearance above the higher frets (of course with new strings and well adjusted truss rod). If the low notes are sharp, but there is enough clearance over all the higher frets, reworking the nut to compensate for the lowered fret crowns is all that is needed.
A rather common wear pattern you'd see on guitars that were played mainly open chord/capo style is heavy wear on the first five to seven frets and hardly any wear at all higher up. Apart from the above mentioned intonation issues, this leads to clearance problems on the higher, unaffected frets. It might be sensible then to dress down the unworn frets to match the wear pattern of the others (and then of course rework the nut). If the wear is really exessive, it might be sensible to indeed replace the worn ones and rework them to equal the less worn high frets.
Another wear pattern you'd sometimes see is caused by some hard core old school blues buffs. They do a lot of string bending and use the slide often, often in combination with frequent use of a really hard squeezing capo. These people are real fret killers. Extreme and uneven fretwear and deep grooves will give away the antics of such a previous owner. Refretting is then the only solution.
If you yourself like to play that way and play a lot, you're bound for a refret every few years. In that case I'd recommend to take a guitar that has no binding along the fretboard and a fingerboard with little or no curvature, for these are the least difficult to refret.
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2008
21 IQ
Another fret killer is leaving a capo on your guitar when it's not being played. Re-fretting is really a job for an expert, especially if the neck has binding on each side of the fretboard.

Getting a whole neck re-fretted is not cheap [$200 to $250] because there is a lot of care and fiddly work involved and add another $50 if your fretboard has binding.
However, often only the first 3 to 5 frets need replacing which would be a lot easier and cheaper to do if you can't afford the full job.