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vanessa

Have you refretted using Dunlop or StewMac fretwire ? ..Please comment.

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I am planning to refret myself a few worn-out frets on my Epiphone LP STD but has no clue on the quality of Dunlop or StewMac fretwires. If you have refretted your guitars with either fretwire just mentioned, please comment . Thanks...

 

Best regards,

 

 

2yw8r9g.jpg

Serious fret wearing on my 3 years-old Epiphone LP STD !! :-(

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I am planning to refret myself a few worn-out frets on my Epiphone LP STD but has no clue on the quality of Dunlop or StewMac fretwires. If you have refretted your guitars with either fretwire just mentioned, please comment . Thanks...

 

 

Dunlop is excellent, not sure about Stew Mac. Dunlops come in all different configurations, might not be the exact same profiles as the frets on your Epi. To avoid problems, I would suggest doing the all the frets at the same time.

%5CBass%5Cimages%5Cnecks%5Cfretsize_2.gif

Dunlop Fret Profiles

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Vanessa,

The wear under the 1st and 2nd strings is pretty deep! That happened in 3 years? You must play in the same open chord area all the time. I posted in the other thread about bindings and replacing frets and mentioned fret dressing as an option. After seeing the picture, fret dressing is not an option on that LP!

 

The cost of a complete replacement done by a luthier might put you in a position where you might want to look for a used Epi Standard with little use and no fret wear vs a fret job.

 

I can see why you are considering doing it yourself, but the cost of the frets and the tools might come close to having it done professionally for a full fret job. If just the first two or three have wear it might be simpler to have a luthier do it.

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I have Stewmac fret wire that I havent installed yet but the quality is fine. Not a lot of choice in the profiles tho. Dunlop is good quality fret wire but since there is not a huge diff in quality and price take the ones that are closest (preferably just a smidge higher) to your existing fret profile.

 

If it were me I would just replace the first 3 frets (assuming the others are fine.) Because they are the FIRST frets they can be higher than the others with no buzzing (but you really do want them as close as possible to the originals or you will have perfect action on the first 3 frets and too high action on the others).

 

I have seen MANY guitar worn in the cowboy chord neighbourhood and they rarely need a full refret (which is enough of a PITA on a bound fingerboard as it is)...

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Great inputs & advices ! Thank you ...

 

Dave:

 

_Yes..I mostly play in C, F and D scales and love the sound of open chords ! Perhaps that's the price to pay :-)

 

_It's not just the cost but the satisfaction to do the job myself . Just like in computer, I use it and fix it myself , both hardwares & softwares . Maybe it's the tinkering disease ? :-) . But you are right; costwise, a trip to the luthier may be more economical .

 

Sambooka:

I agree with you on this point : replacing just the the first 3 frets at the most . I just got an old but playable electric guitar at a garage sale for 5 $ US ! It's a perfect play ground for my refretting practice run !

 

 

====================================

 

**I found this webpage on fret charts quite informative ( it provides tables, comparing various brands of fretwires) :

 

http://www.lutherie.net/fret.chart.html

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Tools??? to change 3 frets???, if time is not a factor I bet I could do it with;

 

1. Old butter knife

2. fine triangle file

3. stuff typically kicking around the house or garage

 

You're changing 3 frets, not changing careers where you have a need for a pile of tools - if you want to buy tools go ahead, but you'll make without a luthier's inventory of tools.

 

The best advice for you is;

 

After measuring the fret nearest to the ones being replaced and buying fret wire in a size and profile that most closely matches (which is half the work done already if you do this step properly);

 

1. pry each fret out like it's micro surgery and,

 

2. pre-radius, pre-cut and pre-shape the fret before installing it, do as much work as possible with the fret loose - you should be able to do all the work on the fret before installing it - read about removal tricks and use glue to help hold the new one.

 

You should start a thread and let us see your progress, perhaps we'll be able to "talk you down" live, so to speak - good luck (which you don't need, you need patience)

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Tools??? to change 3 frets???, if time is not a factor I bet I could do it with;

 

1. Old butter knife

2. fine triangle file

3. stuff typically kicking around the house or garage

 

You're changing 3 frets, not changing careers where you have a need for a pile of tools - if you want to buy tools go ahead, but you'll make without a luthier's inventory of tools.

 

 

I refretted an enitre neck with tools like that. It was...erm...an experience. She probably could get away with it, but I think she is going to be doing this to several guitars. At the very least, I would reccomend a set of crowning files. Those would come in handy way beyond the initial refret.

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I made a mess of the first refret I did.

Back then we didnt have internet. I think it is beyond the scope of this post (and your original question) to tell you exactly how to do it.

Fortunately there is youtube. I will make these tried and true suggestions:

 

"use a soldering iron to heat the frets as you pull them out".

"Be very gentle because rosewood chips very easily"

"a 1/4 in triangle file with the corners ground smooth will do for crowning frets" (a fret file costs 30-40$.. that is a lot for 3 frets)

 

There is more. If you arent sure you always can ask :)

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Thanks, guys for these practical tips !

 

Another question: Is it risky to use the solder heating up the fret as it might melt the plastic binding ? Is there a trick to minimize the thermal effects on the binding if I use the solder?

 

=========================

 

An interesting comment from a luthier I read on the Net :

 

 

"....

Fret milling is so, um, Sixties. When you do it, you lower all the frets to the lowest point of the most worn fret, and in most instances, that’s just a few frets. All you do in milling frets is lose a lot of fret life and increase playing difficulty for no good reason. I'd like to think the state of the art has advanced some since then.

 

If one or two (or a typical situation where frets 1-5) are so worn they are causing audible playing problems, just replace the bad ones. You should mill and dress frets to get rid of minor buzzes and so forth, to make them feel smooth under your fingertips, but not to make cosmetic divots go away. In other words, if you notice that the frets are wearing in spots only because you can see it (but you can't feel or hear it), keep playing and save your money for getting it done when it really needs to be done. Replace them when they’re not working right anymore."

 

reference http://www.lutherie.net/fret.chart.html

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What that luthier is saying in a lot of words is: If it aint' broke, don't fix it.

Your frets are worn badly. Do they cause any playing problems? Fret buzz, or other issues?

If not, a simple fret dress might suffice.

If you are insisting that they be replaced, it is a job you can do yourself, if you are so inclined.

 

What ever fret you buy, please remember that there are 2 important factors that cannot be ignored.

 

1. Fret profile which you have discussed in the above posts.

The above fingerboard profile can be worked out by filing and shaping.

 

2. Fret tang thickness, which you have not.

You will have to remove a fret and measure the tang thickness so that your new frets will be just a bit bigger.

When your remove the fret, the slot becomes a bit larger because of the pulling/chipping action.

You should get a decent fret slot saw, to clean out the slots too. These are a calibrated thickness so that you are not cutting away too much wood.

I've seen a fairly cheap version of these at my local "boutique" woodworking shop.

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Thanks, Gordy01. Your tips show lots of accumulated wisdom . I really appreciate it ! I got most of the needed tools , except may be the fret shaping file .

 

4490_1lg.jpg

 

 

I wonder if I really need this ? It is quite expensive from StewMac :

 

( i.e. 4490 Narrow/Medium $38.79

 

4491 Medium/Wide $38.79

 

4492 Set of both files 67.58 )

 

Anyone know an equivalent tool for this type of file ?

 

 

_So far , I do not notice anything buzzing or acoustic irregularities while playing the Les Paul STD yet. Maybe, I can postpone the operation another few years :-) ? .

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Stew mac tools are for the most part a total rip off. The traditional way to do it is with a triangle file and some masking tape. blunt one corner on a whetstone or something as that's the bit that touches the wood and just take your time to do them all. I did it fine on a fret level and recrown with very basic tools I could get from Maplin.

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