Customer Testimonials

Fret Work

The fretboard is the "heart" of a guitar. When properly set up and the frets perfectly levelled and intonated your guitar will e a dream to play. I keep about 35 different types of fretwire in stock. The choices are in size, profile and material (including 12% or 18% nickel alloy, brass, warwick bell brass and stainless steel)

Fret Mill (Fret Leveling, Fret Stoning or Fret Filing)

A Fret Mill is usually done for the following reasons

  • To remove fret pitting and wear as a result of playing.
  • To have true level-ness for the seating of the string between all frets (This is performed with a string tension simulating jig to achieve the highest tolerance.)
  • Re profiling (Re Crowning) - To restore the fret shape from a level rectangular shape to the profile of a mountain peak. Minimising the string contact to the string improves intonation reduces rattle and false notes.
  • Dress sharp edges and re-profile to smooth edge to improve comfort ability as your hand travels up and down the neck.
  • Oil and wax the Fretboard to clean and protect the surface.
  • Buff and Polish the frets to jewellery shine for silky feel and effortless bending of strings and to minimize fret tarnish.

This process can improve intonation and minimize fret rattle and false notes.

Refret

A refret involves removing the existing frets and replacing them with new frets.

A Refret is usually done for the following reasons.

  • When the frets are worn and it is not possible to fret dress the guitar, due to insufficient material remaining on the fret.
  • When the neck displays twists and warps and it must be resurfaced in order to achieve an accurate surface for the frets to seat and the string to vibrate.
  • To alter the radius of the fretboard from a factory machined cylinder radius to a more accurate conical shaped Fretboard. This small alteration restores the fingerboards surface allowing for a balanced string action over the entire Fretboard.
  • To alter the fretboard
  • Choosing a different fret wire size to change the playability which better suits a guitar player's particular style.

Preparation

A perfect refret is obtained by accurate preparation. Guitars react differently with string tension than without. Therefore, some necks will deflect whilst other necks will not have adequate neck relief or excessive neck relief. When a refret is done, incorrect tension in a neck will inhibit accurate adjustments with the truss rod, depending on the guitar. To avoid this, we use a specially engineered holding jig to help simulate string tension as well as specially engineered tooling to accurately level the fretboard and fret surface.There are many different types of fretboards available on instruments. Each has there own characteristics and there is great skill and experience required to get the most from them. Some include:

  • Plain rosewood or ebony
  • Bound in plastic or wood
  • Lacquered fretboard
  • Phenolic
  • Fretboard with inlays

Partial Refret

This is usually done when:

  1. The first few frets are worn form playing open chords and the rest are intact
  2. Fret damage has occurred from the strings or other objects impacting the fret with force.

The process involves replacing the excessively worn frets and fret milling to obtain trueness with the existing frets

Loose Frets

It is not uncommon to find new guitars with too wide fret slots or too narrow fret wire tang. This results in loose fretwire. If a refret is not feasible we can reseat and re-adhere loose frets. Some guitars require this process as it is next to impossible to accurately file frets as they vibrate in their slots

Fretwire Types

I keep about 35 different types of fretwire in stock. The choices are in size, profile and material (including 12% or 18% nickel alloy, brass, warwick bell brass and stainless steel)

Fret wire

Description

Width

Height

6000(Jumbo)

The biggest

3

1.5

6100(Jumbo)

Slightly narrower than 6000

2.8

1.4

6105(Jumbo)

Narrow and tall.

2.3

1.4

6150(Jumbo)

A jumbo wide normal height

2.6

1

6130(Jumbo)

Standard Gibson

2.7

0.9

6230Medium)

Standard Fender

2

1

6250(Medium)

Shorter in Height

2

0.9

Warwick(Medium) Bell Brass Alloy 2.4 0.9
Warwick(Jumbo) Bell Brass Alloy 2.9 0.9
Stainless Steel (Medium) Long Wearing, very hard, bright sounding 2.03 1.09
Stainless Steel (Jumbo) Long Wearing, very hard, bright sounding 2.8 1.45

Fretboard Radius

A small radius means a very curved fingerboard eg. Fenders vintage 7.5 inch. Suitable for chordal playing.
A larger radius is a flatter fingerboard. eg. Ibanez Jem 16 inch. Preferable for low action rock styles

Fretboard Inlays

Instruments with elaborate inlays may require extensive work due to the following reasons:

  • It is sometimes required to remove inlays or reproduce parts of inlay art.
  • There are limitations to re-radiusing an inlayed fretboard as the material used for inlay is usually about 1mm thick and sometimes thinner. There is not much margin available to correct large fretboard irregularities to the ideal settings, without adversely altering the inlay.
  • Some inexpensive inlayed instruments were produced with designs inlayed into clear plastic which is then adhered to the fretboard prior to fretting. This overlay presents a challenge when there are flaws or irregularities with the surface of the fretboard.

Fretboard Finish

On certain models of guitars the fretboards are finished with lacquer usually after the frets are installed. When refretting a finished fretboard, the fretboard may require a touch up. If the fretboard corrected for any reason the fretboard may need to be re-finished.

Fretwork for Vintage Guitars

It is sometimes necessary to approach fretwork with a different motivation in mind. This repair method is to maintain instrument originality, design and specification, and to maintain original Parts Hardware and Finish, while not making any non returnable adjustments, modifications or upgrades

This means the fret work is performed without changing original fret wire.
If this is not feasible, a partial refret or complete refret may be performed by not altering fingerboard radius or removing original finish from fingerboard.

Improvements are made with the intention of keeping the instrument original and intact and working within this framework.



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