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FULL REFRET

If your guitar is due for a refret, now is a good time to make sure the existing frets are what you want and match your playing style. New frets can not only change the way your guitar plays and feels, but also enhance the tone and sustain.

Hydrating Fret Slots

I like to moisen the fret slots, let them soak and steam the frets out. I found a similar approach online and tweeked it until I got the best results. Little to no chip out. Most acoustics come with small frets, .080" wide and either .037" or .043" high and are excellent for chording, playing triads and chord melodies often played in all genres.

Fret Slot Chip Out

If you refret guitars, this is going to happen. Learn to drop fill fretboard dust with Super Glue (Stew-Mac has a great dropper tube attachment),  and sand them out to a nice looking finish. 
New frets come in stainless steel, EVO gold and 18% silver/nickle. For electric guitar players theres low medium wides for blues players to tall pyramid jumbos for shredders and many widths and heights in between.

Before Sanding

Once all the frets are out and any chip out that might have occured is repaired, I use a 8" wooden radius block with sticky backed sand paper rolls and level the board. The finger wear marks close to the nut were pretty bad and had to be sanded out. Remember, this also affects the fret slot depths where you have sanded, so don't foget to take one more pass and check the fret slot depths. Keep the sanding passes equal the entire length of the board...

After Sanding

After sanding the fretboard out and checking slot depth of all slots, I chamfer the slot edges lightly to allow easier entry of the fret barbs. This fretboard is bound and will require fret tang removal at the ends. I prepare the 20 frets needed to do the job. Even though I know the fret slots are about .022 after cleaning, a tang width of .019 to .020 will work fine. I like to drive my frets in with a brass drift. I determine fret fit by feel so I won't compress the neck...

Fitting Frets

Another good tool to have is a well built fret bender. While preping my frets, I over radius the frets slightly to insure the fret ends stay down and to allow the barbs to dig "sideways" just a little when seating the fret. The fret crimper pictured helps ensure a good fitting fret, especially at the ends. I tried gluing frets in and didn't like it so I learned to measure accurately and get a feel for how the fret fits in the slot. After a month of playing they'll be just as hard to get out as the ones you replaced...

Reduce Vibration

Whether I'm doing a partial or full refret, I always use a fret buck. This stops excessive energy and vibration from rattling the bracing. Along with bean or shot bags, this reduces shock really well...

Bone Nut Replacement

With the sanding and .006" higher fret, the nut had to be replace on this guitar, it was badly worn. Before installing the nut, I bevel all fret ends to 30 or 35 degrees, players choice...

Finished and Strung

After level, crown and polish, with nut and saddle in place, I string the guitar and play it. This is where you want to check saddle and nut fit. Make sure the nut sits neatly in the slot with no wobble or air spaces between the nut and the neck or fretboard end. Be sure the saddle bottom is flat and the saddle slot is clean and seats on the slot bottom or pickup squarely...