Guitar Fret Repair
Our guitar fretwork repair services includes fret leveling, fret crowning, and fret polishing, and full fret replacement work.
We repair frets that are uneven, loose, rough, flat or have dings.
Worn Guitar Frets
Wear on guitar frets, including indentations and divots, is a normal result from playing. As you fret your strings the metal-to-metal contact causes fret wear. The remedy to worn frets is a series of tasks referred to as "fret level, crown and polish". This basically means filing down frets past the depth of the dents, then using special fret wire files to reshape (crown) the wire to round-off the tops, and then polish the wire to make them smooth for optimal playability.
Guitar Fret Level, Crown & Polish
Guitar fret redressing refers to a multi-task process to restore the shape, smoothness and overall playability of frets. A fret job can be a relatively minor job on a specific area or a full rework or repalcement of fret wire.
Spot-Leveling and Spot-Crowning involves limiting fret work to a specific area. Spot work can often be a very cost-effective way to solve isolated buzz issue. Spot leveling and crowing can restore playability and delay the need for a full fret job.
Guitar Fret Leveling
If you're having dead notes or buzzing it may be caused be high frets, flat frets, or unlevel frets. When your frets are dead-level (with respect to one-another) you can greatly improve string action and playability. There is no practical way to compensate for unlevel frets, high frets, etc. If you have unlevel frets you need either spot-leveling to address a few specific places, or a full fret leveling job.
How level should your frets be? When your guitar's frets are perfectly level, when you fret a string, the string should barely clear the top of the the next fret. The causes for unlevel frets include normal wear, environmental changes causing fretboard swelling or shrinkage, loose frets that rise up, poor fret installation, and certain types of damage.
Fret leveling requires a specific process and extreme care in order to get proper results. Using specialized tools, we abrade the tops of all frets to get them on a uniform plane. Effectively, you have to knock-down the high frets to the height of the lowest frets. The trick is working to maintain enough fret wire to have a playable instrument. After a fret leveling job your guitar frets need to be crowned (round off the tops).
If your frets have divots (string dents from aggressive playing) much of it can be removed when leveling frets. In most cases some signs of divots will remain because fully removing all divots requires sanding down excessive fret height.
Guitar Fret Crowning
Guitar fret crowing is the process that shapes a rounded top on your frets. Each fret must be worked individually with special tools. When crowning frets we also dress fret ends to provide the best possible feel.
Guitar Fret Polishing
Guitar fret polishing is done with a series of progressive tasks. The ultimate goal is to work the fret wire to be very smooth and free from sanding marks. Naturally, the finished fret polishing should also produce a nice shine on your frets that boosts how your guitar looks.
Guitar Fret Replacement
Eventually your fret wires will become worn to the point where there is not enough wire height for another fret job. At this point your luthier will need to perform a full fret replacement. A full refret job takes a lot of time. If your guitar has had a prior fret job you need to advise the person who is going to do the work. Removing fret wire is hard on the fretboard wood. A bad prior fret job can make your current fret job extremely challenging.
Nickel Fretwire vs. Stainless Steel Fretwire
Nickel-silver alloy fretwire is the most common type of fret material on guitars. There are some physical differneces among different brands of "nickel fretwire". While nickel frets are perfect for nearly any player, some people are interested in stainless steel frets. If you're thinking of changing from nickel to stainless steel frets we advise you to reconsider doing it. Yes, stainles steel fretwire is impervious to oxidation and corrosion, but they are hard on strings. They also have an effect on tone. The cost to install stainless steel frets is notably more than using nickel fretwire.
Polishing Guitar Frets
Polishing your guitar frets makes your guitar look much better. There is something special about the way light shines off of polished frets. Typically you want to polish your frets when you replace guitar strings or replace bass strings. This service is usually included in a professional guitar setup or professional bass setup service.
When we polish guitar frets we protect your fretboard with tape and collars. We use a high quality polishing compounds and fine steel wool to achieve a high luster. Cleaning guitar frets removes tarnish, dirt and grime to leave your guitar frets looking fantastic.
Need Guitar Fret Repair or Replacement?
For a free estiamte or to schedule guitar fret work simply call us at 678-402-6739 or send us a message by clicking on the button below. Guitar string tuning is included with any fret job.
Guitar Fret Work
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