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silver_mica

Re-fret a Les Paul and keeping the nibs

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My Les Paul is annoying to play because the frets are worn. That guitar really could use new frets - but then I'll lose those nibs. As silly as it sounds I feel the nibs serve as an indicator of authenticity.

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The only way I can think of doing it would be to replace the neck binding during the refret. I can't imagine removing the frets and not damaging the nibs and then cutting the new fret to fit exactly to the old nib. We're talking about a thin little piece of plastic here.

 

I'm sure that Gibson has a method of trimming down the oversized binding to create the nibs to begin with, and they must be able to do it with some level of efficiency....in other words, it's worth it for them to DO it that way, otherwise they wouldn't. About 13-14 years ago I installed a new fingerboard on one of my banjos, and I bound it. I used oversized binding and filed each space between the frets to create Gibsonesque nibs.

 

Never. Again.

 

Never.

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I've had a proposal to re-fret this guitar and keep the nibs without rebinding (cut the frets just right to fit between existing nibs) - but, I didn't feel this would be a good idea. I felt it's more of an accident waiting to happen and not worth the risk. Replacing the binding along with the frets is probably the method I'd go for - if I *really* want to keep the little nibs.

 

The only way I can think of doing it would be to replace the neck binding during the refret. I can't imagine removing the frets and not damaging the nibs and then cutting the new fret to fit exactly to the old nib. We're talking about a thin little piece of plastic here.

 

I'm sure that Gibson has a method of trimming down the oversized binding to create the nibs to begin with, and they must be able to do it with some level of efficiency....in other words, it's worth it for them to DO it that way, otherwise they wouldn't. About 13-14 years ago I installed a new fingerboard on one of my banjos, and I bound it. I used oversized binding and filed each space between the frets to create Gibsonesque nibs.

 

Never. Again.

 

Never.

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My Les Paul is annoying to play because the frets are worn. That guitar really could use new frets - but then I'll lose those nibs. As silly as it sounds I feel the nibs serve as an indicator of authenticity.

 

The old Kalamazoo factory way of refretting and retaining the nibs was to remove the binding, replace, level and dress the frets, then reattach the binding and respray the neck and backside of the peghead. They wouldn't feather in the new finish at the neck joint, they'd just mask it off at the seam, leaving the obvious buildup of lacquer. When I worked in retail back in the day I had enough customer complaints about this method that I found a local guy to do it who would do the finish feathering, but inevitably he couldn't do a perfect, invisible blend. We finally gave up and just told the customers they'd have to sacrifice the nibs.

 

I have read about some lutiers being able to get the frets out and back in while protecting the nibs, but I can't believe the fret ends could be cut so perfectly they could fit well. JMHO, but I prefer sacrificing the nibs. YMMV, of course.

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Anything is possible but this is much like asking your landscaper to make sure all the blades of grass are facing the same direction.

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unless you are selling the guitar authenticity means nothing.....IMO, get the frets done and just have whoever is doing the work include a receipt with a description of the provided work, also have the work done by a luthier that has a business and than authenticity should remain intact. However to me the nibs need to be there on all my guitars, just my preference. I agree with the others, you would probably need to have the binding on the neck redone, when it comes time to have mine done I think I will be choosing that rout.

 

Good Luck, I hope it all works out

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Send Gibson Repair and Restoration an e-mail and ask them.

 

https://www.gibson.c...And-Restoration

 

+1 :-)

 

I get that prospective buyers look for nibs as a sign of authenticity, but FWIW, a re-fret is in no way (IMO) damaging to the price if done right. Now if the OP just has a thing for the nibs, the solution may be to buy a new git.

 

I have a 335 that a previous owner repaired a (crudely done) neck / head problem which had new frets when I got it and it's one of the best 335's I've played. If the frets had not been done, I do not think I'd have bought it.

 

 

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