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Did fretless wonder guitars use mandolin frets?


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I have a 1971 Custom fretless wonder and it is buzzing quite a bit. I'm planning on taking it to be checked. If it needs a refret, that may be a problem. Many years a go someone told me that they looked like mandolin frets. Are they? Are those frets still available anywhere?

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The 'Fretless Wonder' frets were roughly 3 times wider than typical mandolin frets (depending on the individual mandolin in question).


The trouble with the F-W frets is that they have very little 'meat' (height-wise) to play with. My advice (FWIW) in the first instance would be to try a light-to-medium fret-dress and as such you should make an appointment with a competent luthier who will actually know what he is on about..


Best of luck with your Custom.



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It's hard to tell from the pics, but it doesn't look like the typical "fretless wonder" frets. As best I can remember, they were very thin AND low. These look fatter and low.


At one point, sometime in the 70's, it was quite common to find a lot of Gibby's that had the frets filed really low from the factory. Like, rediculas low. I think sometimes they would be mistakenly called "fretless wonders" even though they aren't the same.


I could be all wrong, as I again say I can't honestly tell from the pic. I do remember a good freinds of mine having a '72 or a '74 Custom that DID have the actual fretless wonder frets.


Regardless, Pippy is spot on that you should take it to a luthier who is not just competent, but knowledgable on these guitars, so as to make the effort to recognize the origonality AND be willing to do what work that might entail. I am pretty sure you can still get the proper frets, but I can see a case where a guy might say he can't either because he can't find them, or doesn't really care to.


Also, as for the buzzing: it might not need a total re-fret. It could be caused by a high fret that needs tapped back in. It could be an adjustment. If there are frets that are worn, it could be fixed by replacing some of the offending frets. The real question with the "fretless wonder" guitars is at what point do you consider the frets too low as to justify replacement? Stock or origonal even new would be seem by an un-aware guy as needing new frets. So the question would be how low is acceptable?

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