Flipping a fret around? Pros and Cons

Voxman2027

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If I can appeal to anyone reading this for advice:
I have an Epiphone Les Paul that sustained damaged to fretboard (not an issue) and the 15th fret which got a small dent in it under the high E string.
Wondering if it is advisable to remove this fret and simply flip it around and reinstall it. This would put the damage over on the bass E string side without causing any problem. I don’t think the dent on the fret can be filed out and recrowned without totally messing up the rest of the frets. Also just replacing the fret would be difficult simply because I don’t know what size fret wire I would need.... I see way too many variables to get the right fret wire. ..so is this idea worth trying?
Thanks for any advice regarding this odd idea!
Gary
 

cmjohnson

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If you have a set of calipers you can measure the fret dimensions and get something a little taller and dress it to fit.

If you don't have a set of calipers...WHY NOT?

I never even thought about flipping a fret around. I'd just replace frets that need replacing and that's that.

If you don't have fretting tools, you can't do fretwork. You may be best off to take it to your local guitar tech and let him take care of it for you if that's the case.
 

Roxy13

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I think trying to pull it and reuse it will be difficult. Heating and removing them often bends them a bit.

Can you show us a picture of the dent? I think my first thing I would try is an aggressive polish with various grits of sandpaper to remove it or at least improve it as much as I could.
 

ARandall

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Yep, you're not likely to ever be able to reuse a pulled fret.

You might be able to fill the divot with some glue.......that process would allow you to see that it really does need replacement.
 

robertoa1a

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I once attempted to tap a high fret back into place with a mallet and put a ding in one of the frets. I was able to polish it out. Try it first. What the heck do you have to loose?

You'll deform the fret pulling it out. If you have to replace it then order some fret wire.

I'm pretty sure modern Epi's have stainless frets.
 

Voxman2027

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Wow! This is the first forum website I’ve been privileged to that seems to have some really knowledgeable folks! I feel lucky to have stumbled upon this site.
Thanks so much for the advice...I honestly didn’t really think it would work out just flipping the fret around but I was going to try it (maybe)...
The guitar apparently has already had some hacker mess with it before I got it. I didn’t noticed the condition of frets til after replacing pickups and adjusting truss rod. Someone has attempted a rather lousy fret level but only under the last 2 strings. The rest of the frets are nice and crowned properly unlike the ones on the treble strings.... there are a lot of flat tops and file marks. I’ve been thinking about learning how to level frets and crowning them properly but haven’t jumped completely in due to high cost of tools (Stewmac files are probably the best but so expensive!)
I do own the Fret Rocker, neck ruler straightedge, and digital calipers. I was successful fixing one high fret already on this guitar but not proud of my crowning results (probably too difficult without the proper file...I used a small flat file I had). My forte is electronics and a few minor luthier things.
I had read and watched a lot of instructions regarding fret work....it looks like you really need a watchful eye checking what you’re doing, however everybody has to start somewhere and learn from their mistakes. Thanks for keeping me from making a bigger mess of this endeavor.
I hesitate to bring the guitar to any of my local luthiers since I’ve already had some experience with a few of them and wasn’t happy with their work. I’m in a new city far from my old stomping grounds ...there aren’t any qualified folks in a 50 mile radius of me. I have to drive 75 miles to a bigger town like Tampa to find a luthier. And I’d still be wary of luthiers I’m not familiar with. Since the guitar is just a wall hanger for the most part, I don’t wanna put a lot of money into it. Epiphone looks great but the construction leaves a little to be desired.
Thanks to everyone who responded...really appreciate the responses and guidance. I’ll add a photo or two as requested although I’ve already tried a little sandpaper but the note still doesn’t ring true...
Gary
 

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DaveR

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Man those two frets look pretty rough. If it weren’t for that big divot in the side of the one, I think an aggressive level and recrown of the whole neck would fix the problem. But that one divot might not come out. I suppose you could replace those two (or all the frets) then level and crown.

What better guitar to practice fretwork on than one that is a wall hanger already? If you’re wanting to learn, read up on it here and watch a lot of YouTube videos. Basic fretwork is really not that hard. Yes it can be screwed up easily, and it takes some practice, but it’s not magic. I bought a leveling beam and a diamond offset crowning file from Philadelphia Luthier for much cheaper than StewMac tools. I’ve used other crowning files, but really like the diamond offset files. Worth a few extra bucks if you’re going to do it more than once. Of course after you redo frets then you need a new nut and tools for that and so begins the slow decent into madness and poverty...

I guess take it to a pro unless you’re ready to dive into the rabbit hole of building your own. Hahah
 

cmjohnson

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You mentioned Tampa. So...where are you? I'm in the Melbourne area.
 

Voxman2027

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I’m in a little town called Hernando which is close to Inverness and Crystal River.
 

Roxy13

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My parents live in Hernando! Unfortunately I'm in Ohio though.
 

Voxman2027

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Never ceases to amaze me how small the world is sometimes !
Do you visit them now and then?
 

Roxy13

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Never ceases to amaze me how small the world is sometimes !
Do you visit them now and then?
Usually they come back to Ohio since the rest of the family and all their old friends are here. I've only been down there twice since it's hard to find a sitter for all my pets (horse, dog, cats, 4 parrots). Even if they bring their dog and cat with them adding those 2 to my menagerie isn't a big deal.

With the current pandemic though they haven't come up this year and we aren't sure when we will see each other again.
 

Freddy G

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Wow! This is the first forum website I’ve been privileged to that seems to have some really knowledgeable folks! I feel lucky to have stumbled upon this site.
Thanks so much for the advice...I honestly didn’t really think it would work out just flipping the fret around but I was going to try it (maybe)...
The guitar apparently has already had some hacker mess with it before I got it. I didn’t noticed the condition of frets til after replacing pickups and adjusting truss rod. Someone has attempted a rather lousy fret level but only under the last 2 strings. The rest of the frets are nice and crowned properly unlike the ones on the treble strings.... there are a lot of flat tops and file marks. I’ve been thinking about learning how to level frets and crowning them properly but haven’t jumped completely in due to high cost of tools (Stewmac files are probably the best but so expensive!)
I do own the Fret Rocker, neck ruler straightedge, and digital calipers. I was successful fixing one high fret already on this guitar but not proud of my crowning results (probably too difficult without the proper file...I used a small flat file I had). My forte is electronics and a few minor luthier things.
I had read and watched a lot of instructions regarding fret work....it looks like you really need a watchful eye checking what you’re doing, however everybody has to start somewhere and learn from their mistakes. Thanks for keeping me from making a bigger mess of this endeavor.
I hesitate to bring the guitar to any of my local luthiers since I’ve already had some experience with a few of them and wasn’t happy with their work. I’m in a new city far from my old stomping grounds ...there aren’t any qualified folks in a 50 mile radius of me. I have to drive 75 miles to a bigger town like Tampa to find a luthier. And I’d still be wary of luthiers I’m not familiar with. Since the guitar is just a wall hanger for the most part, I don’t wanna put a lot of money into it. Epiphone looks great but the construction leaves a little to be desired.
Thanks to everyone who responded...really appreciate the responses and guidance. I’ll add a photo or two as requested although I’ve already tried a little sandpaper but the note still doesn’t ring true...
Gary
There's plenty of height on those frets. You need a good fret level, dress, crown and polish. Even if it wasn't for that dinged fret....the previous job looks so scandalous it has to be done anyway.
 

Robert Parker

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Might as well give it a shot yourself. If the guitar isn't really playable as it is, then you don't have much to lose. You don't have to get super expensive tools for all of it. I have a 24" piece of cut-off granite back-splash I got for free as my leveler. I use spray adhesive to stick 220grit paper and let the weight of the block do the work, gently sanding back and forth and keeping it even across the radius. I would recommend springing for a good crowning file. It takes some practice to get good, but the principles are really straightforward. It's just tedious.
 

oldtone

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Voxman, stick around. You'll learn a lot here and enjoy it along the way!! This is a great site. One of the best.
 


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