Refret Tutorial

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Freddy G, May 8, 2011.

  1. skynyrd67

    skynyrd67 Senior Member

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    I played mediums for nearly 15 years on strats and lesters,,when i decided to take the plunge and learn to refret myself I also decided to try Jumbos and see how they felt. I got the biggest Jumbos StewMac has and I love them ! ! I can`t really describe the difference but you will notice it big time, 1 tip from a fellow newby refretter. Check your End nippers very closely, mine were ground flat but not flat enough, I am going to have to regrind the top so they cut more flushly. I didn`t get the StewMac nippers as I got a cheaper set off ebay, on my bound neck I noticed I had a slight overhang of the end of the fret over the binding and it made dressing the ends a bear. With a maple neck you could end up with a hair of the tang sticking out of the neck that needs to be filed off and could scratch the wood,, so make double or even triple sure your nippers can cut DEAD flush with the wood so you don`t get into this issue. My buddy wants me to refret his maple strat neck with jumbos and am going to do some grinding and nipping to make sure my nippers cut the fret as dead flush on his neck as I can get them.
     
  2. 2themax

    2themax Senior Member

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    Not sure if you have seen this - this You-Tube covers grinding a set of fret cutters. He likes side cutters rather than end cutters. I was going to try this method, looks pretty simple.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8SaZxF_oP4&feature=related"]Make your own Ultimate Fretwire / Fret End Cutters - Pt 1 - YouTube[/ame]

    I played a vintage Tele last week with Jumbo's - loved the feel of the large frets...

    Thanks for the info
     
  3. skynyrd67

    skynyrd67 Senior Member

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    Question for Freddy,, my epi LP the radius on the neck isn`t a full 12 inch radius. When i level with a radius block a 12 incher from StewMac it takes alot off the outer edges before it gets to the center. Should I order a 10 inch block so i can keep the radius in check / Or should I on the next refret sand the fretboard to a 12 inch radius then install the new frets ? With a Gotoh bridge I don`t have too many issues with string bending but I would like to know the proper way to handle this situation. Thanks for all your help too ! !
     
  4. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    In my opinion, using a radius block for fret levelling is totally unnecessary, and especially when in your situation where the fretboard radius and your block do not match you end up just wasting fret material for no reason (I have yet to meet the "radius police"...."excuse me sir, but we see that your fret radius is 11.875" instead of 12", we'll have to fine you for that!":lol:
    I use a flat diamond sharpening stone because it allows me to be selective, targeting specific areas that I want to level within the radius. I do subtle things in the leveling operation that I would not be able to do if I used a radius block, for instance a very subtle combo of enlarging the radius and creating a slight fall off on the upper frets.
    Use the radius block for shaping the fretboard perfectly before installing frets and then put it away.
     
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  5. skynyrd67

    skynyrd67 Senior Member

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    Thanks Freddy,, I can see your point and yes I did notice when i leveled with the radius block I did loose more fret material specially on the outside edges than I liked. Will pick up some of the diamond sharpening stones and start useing those. Thanks again for your advice and this tutorial, majorly helpful ! !
     
  6. jimi55lp

    jimi55lp Senior Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to document this process, you did such a fine job of it! You made it look so doable, and answered everything I ever speculated about that job. Your shop is so organized, and I don't believe I'd be able to keep it that nice while handling guitar parts because I tend to try keeping everything that should be sold or even thrown away. Great thread!!
     
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  7. Fred_Garvin

    Fred_Garvin Member

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    I have to add a thank you, Freddy. Some great tips I never would have thought of.

    I have a couple questions, I think I saw you mention that you use a diamond sharpening stone to level frets. Would the Stewmac stones be a could choice? If so, what grade?

    I'll address the second question to deepblue as well, how do you like the stainless frets? I can't think of any reason they wouldn't be an improvement over nickel/silver, except to the poor SOB who has to install them.

    Some people say they sound brittle or some such, but some people say the key to awesome tone is in the pickup mounting rings.
     
  8. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    Mine is a DMT stone. 325 grit on one side and 1200 grit on the other. The lion's share of fret leveling is done with the 325 side. Rarely do I use the 1200 side, it's just too fine, takes too long and you are going to recrown anyway so the 325 is the fast and efficient way to go.
    The Stew mac 325 grit looks a bit too short for my liking, I prefer the 10" or at least the 8" DMT.
    The stainless frets do indeed sound different, and can be great for a guitar that is dark or dull. They are brighter and zingier.

    They are harder to cut, dress and all that but don't blow it out of proportion. It's not that bad at all.
    And I'm neither poor nor an SOB! :D
     
  9. Fred_Garvin

    Fred_Garvin Member

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    By "poor SOB", I meant "talented luthier willing to go the extra mile" of course. :)

    I would expect fret material to one of the few things sure to make a difference, since it's actually in contact with the strings.

    Any experience with the gold colored "EVO" wire?
     
  10. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    Yes the EVO gold wire is pretty cool. Some love the gold colour and some don't. I think it looks great on a guitar with gold hardware. But more important are the properties of this wire. I think its harder than regular wire but not as hard as stainless steel, and so tonally it it falls somewhere between the two as well.
     
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  11. T_Dub

    T_Dub Senior Member

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    I just watched all of these videos in a row. Man it was an hour and 15 minutes but it flew by so fast. Awesome tutorial!
     
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  12. Orangedrop

    Orangedrop Member

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    I also would like to extend a BIG Thank You for taking all the time to mkae the videos. I learned a lot! :applause::applause::applause::dude::D:D
     
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  13. Popskull

    Popskull Junior Member

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    I also wan'ted to say thanks for taking the time out to show us how it's done. It gave me the courage to go out and get the tools and tackle this job DIY.

    Exacto knife,
    Fret Puller,
    Fret wire,
    Fret wire cutter
    Press, or hammer.

    I think that's it?
     
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  14. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    I would add a fret wire bender or just buy coiled wire.
     
  15. Ole'Lefty

    Ole'Lefty Premium Member

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    I have seen my share of video luthier tutorials. Freddy's is not only properly instructive, it is actually fun and relaxing to watch. I can certainly understand how important it is to develop good technique and risk prevention when rent and food and medical care are on the line.

    We are fortunate that there is a mostly natural cycle of professionals who help us out.
     
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  16. 2themax

    2themax Senior Member

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    Really excellent tutorial,

    I have a new unfinished tele neck that I'd like to upgrade to jumbo frets, it will be my first refret job. It was $30 so I figure it's a good candidate to learn with (plus I have a Tele body that needs a neck, the "Donor" is giving up it's neck and guts for a buddy's Tele). I'm pretty hard on frets and I'm wondering if going with SS might be pushing it for a first fret job. My technical skills are pretty decent and after watching the details you've provided I thought I would ask.

    Again really top notch tutorial, thanks again for taking the time to do such a great job,

    Mike
     
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  17. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    Thanks Mike!
    I say go for the SS frets if you want to. It not rocket science and since you have a $30 neck you are not risking much.
     
  18. 2themax

    2themax Senior Member

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    I ordered the frets this afternoon, when I saw the price diff. between SS and silver\nickel I opted for S\N since this is a learner. In your tutorial the SS frets came pre-arc'd. I ordered the "Modern jumbo fretwire" from Stew Mac.

    What would be your suggestion for someone without a bender?

    I was thinking of rigging something flat on the correct radius with a groove for the tang. :hmm:

    Appreciate the input...
     
  19. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    Either spring for a bender or buy pre bent wire. Years ago I used to bend them by hand but it's tedious and not very precise.
     
  20. 2themax

    2themax Senior Member

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    Will do... :cool:

    Thx...
     

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