Is there anything permanent you can put on your frets that'll work if you filed them down too low?

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by tabqwerty, May 6, 2018.

  1. tabqwerty

    tabqwerty SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    56
    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    I was impulsive and tried filing mine down years ago to get rid of fret buzz.
     
  2. Andrew Lloyd Webber

    Andrew Lloyd Webber Part-time Elon Musk impersonator

    Messages:
    472
    Likes Received:
    674
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2017
    If you’re asking what I think you’re asking, you need to have it refretted, and refretted correctly. This is like asking for a permanent way of building your tire treads back up.
     
    NateFalcon and Hollowway like this.
  3. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

    Messages:
    27,735
    Likes Received:
    5,472
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Once you go too far there's no turning back. Either go for a pro refret, as mentioned, or if you're so inclined, file the rest of the frets and nut to get everything even. I'd opt for a refret, personally.
     
    Hollowway likes this.
  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    14,763
    Likes Received:
    2,684
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    Nope.
     
    Hollowway likes this.
  5. tabqwerty

    tabqwerty SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    56
    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    How much would it cost to have just one fret refretted on each of the two instruments?
     
  6. tabqwerty

    tabqwerty SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    56
    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    And just any luthier could do it?
     
  7. nyxzz

    nyxzz SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    368
    Likes Received:
    158
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2013
    Location:
    Atlanta
    It would still require a fret leveling for the entire neck most likely, and any competent luthier who offers fretjobs should be able to do it but ymmv
     
  8. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    14,763
    Likes Received:
    2,684
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    So...you only filed down one fret? Otherwise, there's no way that replacing just one fret would help, even in theory.
    But yeah, probably not going to find a luthier who will replace just one fret anyway. A total refret can vary in price, depending on the luthier and the guitar, but would be priced in the hundreds of dollars.
     
  9. tabqwerty

    tabqwerty SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    56
    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    There has to be something that can be applied to raise the frets. What about materials that are used to create microtonal frets on a standard fretted guitar neck?
     
  10. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    14,763
    Likes Received:
    2,684
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    It's the same material. To create microtonal frets, you just use more frets. :confused:

    There's nothing you can do to unfile the frets. Or, if there is, it's the world's best kept secret, since, well, I'm pretty sure some of the people on here would already know about it. I'd say that this board probably has ~1000 years of experience working on fretboards, so, if no one here knows of the product you are thinking about using, odds are very strong that it doesn't exist.

    There are metal epoxies that do exist, but none of those would come anywhere near the properties of fretwire. And if you are thinking of smolting your own fretwire material and then adding it to the top of the fret in question with a little eyedropper or something, the molten metal would be too hot and it would just burn the fretboard and oxidize everything in the process.

    The only way you are going to get a higher fret is to start with a new fret and not file it down too low.

    It's just like literally everything else in this vein. If you cut a wooden plank too short, you have to get a new plank and cut it again. If you cook your toast too long in the toaster, you have to get a new piece of bread. If you put too much salt in your soup, you need to make new soup. There is no such thing as a fret-maker-taller, nor a wooden-plank-stretcher, nor a toast-un-burner, nor a soup-unsalter. If the human race was smart enough to invent these things, we would have certainly found a cure for the common cold by now.
     
  11. Ganges

    Ganges SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Sad to say, but the other guys are right. There's honestly not much you can do after you start hacking away at the material. Insofar as a refret for only one fret, it's not really feasible. Though you have 20-odd frets on the neck, in practice they work together as one for the purposes of playing. The only (entirely impractical) way to make a single fret refret work is to measure the exact height of the two adjacent frets with calipers and file the new fret to exactly those dimensions, mimicking the wear on the adjacent frets. Even then, you'd be using worn frets as a unit of measure, and you'd still need to level them all sooner rather than later. If you're working with a maple board, it's a different story altogether, as maple boards need to be planed before a refret.

    As you can see, it's much more trouble than it's worth. I typically charge around $75 for a quick 'n dirty level with a beam leveler if the player doesn't want to spend the cash on the whole song and dance with spot leveling, crown, polish, buffing etc. You can probably find someone near you to ballpark that price. However, if you've filed the poor fret down to dust, then yeah, you're going to need a refret. Prices vary wildly, but you should plan to drop about $250 at a minimum for all that.
     
  12. TheKindred

    TheKindred TimeTravel Innovator

    Messages:
    1,013
    Likes Received:
    141
    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Bro .... you just add some potatoes and they will help to absorb all the excess sodium. You can then just pull the potatoes out when you're done.
     
    GenghisCoyne and prlgmnr like this.
  13. The906

    The906 Hella rad Contributor

    Messages:
    478
    Likes Received:
    375
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2018
    Periphery VI: The UnEnsaltening.
     
  14. NateFalcon

    NateFalcon has body parts lying around

    Messages:
    579
    Likes Received:
    481
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2017
    No offense (honestly), but if you’re not up to speed on fret work -to the point of not understanding that you can’t “add metal” back to the frets...then take it to a luthier for a new fret, dress and leveling...especially if you think JB Weld or some epoxy type product is your solution. its WAY simpler and cheaper to have it done correctly than what you’re proposing...you’d have to pull the fret anyway to weld or solder any material to build it back up (it wouldn’t work for numerous reasons, anyway)...and a dress and level would have to be theoretically done afterwards anyhow...
     
    Hollowway likes this.
  15. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

    Messages:
    12,489
    Likes Received:
    3,501
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Location:
    California
    How bad is it? You could potentially slide a razor blade under it, and lift it a little bit, and that could do the trick. I had a guitar that a friend knocked over, and it hit a fret and intruded it into the body. I put a blade under and lifted it just a hair, and it’s perfect now. So, if we’re talking fractions of a mm, then this might work.
     
    NateFalcon likes this.
  16. NateFalcon

    NateFalcon has body parts lying around

    Messages:
    579
    Likes Received:
    481
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2017
    ^ good idea...did you use glue or something to keep the fret from pushing back in?
     
  17. NateFalcon

    NateFalcon has body parts lying around

    Messages:
    579
    Likes Received:
    481
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2017
    I’m a ‘critical’ TIG welder by trade so for theory’s sake, if I really wanted to tweak out...It would take my Thermal Arc TIG machine, which has 1/10 amp increments (not your average welder lol) and a 1/16” cobalt tungsten (ground VERY sharp) nickel-steel filler rod with the machine set at ‘around’ around .3 or .4 amps...I would still have to pull the fret and it would be tedious as hell and still more than likely warp from the heat...is it POSSIBLE...probably. It just honestly wouldn’t be worth the effort
     
    bostjan and Hollowway like this.
  18. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

    Messages:
    12,489
    Likes Received:
    3,501
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Location:
    California
    Surprisingly, no. I just googled the crap out of it, and came across a thread on TGP or some other forum. It’s like the 17th fret or so, so I don’t fret it that hard when I play, so I may not have to.

    But, if OP has to lift it substantially, maybe a little glue under there wouldn’t hurt. Or maybe something tiny to shim it.
     
    NateFalcon likes this.
  19. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

    Messages:
    12,489
    Likes Received:
    3,501
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Location:
    California
    Fret Caps (TM) from the makers of Random Crappy Accessories You Don’t Need, But Your Mom and Aunt Will Buy You For Christmas Anyway.
    “No frets? No problem! If you’ve got a guitar that’s been played so much that the frets worn nearly to the fretboard, or any new Gibson instrument, Fret Caps can put your frets at the correct level! Just choose between Vintage, Regular, or Djumbo, peel the tape off the adhesive backing, and press them on top of your existing frets. Presto! You now have taller “frets”! (And, that’s a great Rush album! -ed.)
    (Note: Nut Caps (TM) Saddle Base (TM), and Whole New Neck by Fret Caps (TM) may also be required.)
     
  20. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    14,763
    Likes Received:
    2,684
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    :lol:
    It'd be cheaper, easier, and better to just replace the fret, since you'd have to pull it and then tap it back in and relevel it anyway.

    JB Weld is something I hear people at work always praising like it's the next-level duct tape, but every time I've tried to use it, I've followed the directions quite carefully (I work as a chemist by trade), and it just ends up falling apart after a few uses. Plus, I can't imagine a fret crowned in that stuff - it'd be so wonky, rough, and difficult to work - plus, based on my experience with the stuff, I really doubt it would stay bonded, and it would probably damage the fretboard where ever it gooped over the edge of the fret. There might be an epoxy up to the task, but again, just like you pointed out, you'd have to remove the fret, place it in some kind of mold with the epoxy, oven cure it, then tap it back in and relevel it. By the time you go through that much effort and cost, you might as well just buy a new guitar.
     

Share This Page