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How many of you have vintage guitars with those Bar frets????


onewilyfool

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Those square frest dissappeared for a reason....lol....this weekend I actually took my old '32 Washburn down to the fretboard and "eased" the edges of the frets because they were so difficult to play, even taking off some of my callouses sliding chords up and down the neck. This was my FIRST guitar repair above and beyond simple set-up stuff, and it turned out great. MUCH easier to play, but still not as nice as modern T-frets...what an improvement!

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JT...I think Washburn and Martin did...and for a reason. A few years later this identical guitar (Washburn 5250) was made with T-frets and in 1938 Gibson started making this guitar for Tonk Bros/Washburn for a couple of years....Mine was made by SS Stewart and was a Tonk Bros Washy. ...lol.....thanks.....my virgin repair job!! (and I didn't ruin my guitar)

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I had 1938 00-18H in Burst that had the bar frets... I had those removed, Fret board contoured.. and refretted with small frets.. but the slots all had to be filled as they were wider .. and put silk and steels on it.. what a great sounding guitar..

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We have several bar fret guitars, mostly bar fret Martins. The whole neck geometry is different for bar frets -- the necks have no t-bars, and the frets are used to control, and correct, fretboard variations. The system works fine, but you need a luthier with knowledge/experience to service the guitars.

 

I have no problem playing a well-set-up bar fret guitar. The ones we have are a '18 0-18, '21 0-28, '25 0-18K, '32 00-18, '33 0-18, '33 00-18, '34 000-18, '34 0-17, '37 00-18H, '37 00-18H (2), and '41 00-18H (the Hawaiians were still bar frets after 1934). We also have a '34 00-40H where the bar frets have been replaced -- it plays (to say the least) fine, but it seems to need a bit more maintenance.

 

The bar fret guitars up until 1934 are among the most lovely sounding flattop guitars ever built -- to hear that, you must learn to love bar frets -- which is not too tough in any case.

 

Let's pick,

 

--Tom

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JT...I think Washburn and Martin did...and for a reason. A few years later this identical guitar (Washburn 5250) was made with T-frets and in 1938 Gibson started making this guitar for Tonk Bros/Washburn for a couple of years....Mine was made by SS Stewart and was a Tonk Bros Washy. ...lol.....thanks.....my virgin repair job!! (and I didn't ruin my guitar)

 

I am not aware of any Model 5250 Washburn that was made by Gibson and I've done a lot of research on the topic. Regal made Washburns from approx. 1928-1938 and then again in 1940. Gibson built Washburns date from 10/1938-3/1940 only. They included 8 different guitar models and 2 mandolins.

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Could someone please supply a photo or cross-sectional drawing so some of us less knowledgeable folks could see exactly the fret shape you are talking about?

 

Here you go: the frets really are bars hammered into the fretboard slots:

 

Picture-23.jpg

 

Here is the t-fret:

 

tfret.JPG

 

And, you can read Frank ford's explanation here.

 

When properly crowned and leveled, bar frets feel identical to the same width of t-fret. The tops are the same (though T-frets are usually much wider); the difference is what is buried in the fretboard.

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I am not aware of any Model 5250 Washburn that was made by Gibson and I've done a lot of research on the topic. Regal made Washburns from approx. 1928-1938 and then again in 1940. Gibson built Washburns date from 10/1938-3/1940 only. They included 8 different guitar models and 2 mandolins.

Pfox.....this is not a flat top guitar but a carved archtop. Mine was built by a company called J.R. Stewart, or Regal...hard to tell. A few years, I read someplace on the web, 5250's were built by Gibson. See page 31 below, from Washburn Prewar Instrument Styles: Guitars, Mandolins, Banjos and Ukuleles ...By Hubert Pleijsier. This is a Tonk Bros. Washburn....Tonk never actually built a guitar, just farmed them out to other shops. Apparently Gibson made some of their archtops and other guitars. There was a lot of "incest" between manufacturers back then. I think I can read 5250 on the lower ledger from Gibson. Note: 5250 was also used as a number for some Washburn flattops.....it is VERY confusing...lol

 

Screenshot2012-02-01at93818AM.png

 

 

 

 

Here is my link I posted when I got the guitar:

 

http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/74448-for-guitar-enthusiasts-onlynote-no-gibson-content/

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Here you go: the frets really are bars hammered into the fretboard slots:

 

 

Here is the t-fret:

 

 

And, you can read Frank ford's explanation here.

 

When properly crowned and leveled, bar frets feel identical to the same width of t-fret. The tops are the same (though T-frets are usually much wider); the difference is what is buried in the fretboard.

 

 

Thanks JT. That seems like a pretty primitive fret profile whose playability depends a lot on the skill of the guy doing the final shaping. That general tall, narrow shape does not go well with my style of playing, which incorporates a lot of sliding barre chords.

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Thanks JT. That seems like a pretty primitive fret profile whose playability depends a lot on the skill of the guy doing the final shaping. That general tall, narrow shape does not go well with my style of playing, which incorporates a lot of sliding barre chords.

 

Nick,

 

The really cool thing about bar frets is that they act like wedges to establish neck relief, eliminating the necessity for a truss rod. That's one of the reasons why those pre-1934 Martins are so light and resonant. These days, very few luthiers are sufficiently skilled at installing bar frets to do the job properly (using different thicknesses of wire at different points in the fretboard). But, if you get the chance, play one of TJ Thompson's guitars (or an old Martin that he has refretted with bar frets). TJ is a master of the bar fret.

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here are a couple Bar Frets from a 38 00-18H .. these are for a flat fingerboard.. the Fret actually sits Flush to the board. and these had wide slots in the board to make these work... Note the Standard crown style fret ... the radius is different... DSCF0488.jpg

DSCF0487.jpg

 

as someone mentioned.. There is no T in the neck... these were pretty Much like a classical.. , the Tops were X braced on the Martins..

 

I had the 38 Converted to a Radius Fret.. and Used Silk n Steels.. It sounded unreal...

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