Re-fretting question: Does tang width matter?

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by TheTrooper, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. TheTrooper

    TheTrooper SS.org Regular

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    I'm no luthier, so excuse the dumb question, but does tang width matter when re-fretting?
    Small/low/Med-Jumbo/Jumbo we all know the actual size of the frets, which goes down to personal taste, but what about the slots for the frets?
    Will the glue take care of it or the width should be close to the slot size?
     
  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    You want a snug fit. The little bumps or "teeth" on the fret tang should bite into the wood to help hold them in. Obviously on a refret they'll be a little looser depending on how much wood is there from the previous frets.

    There's some very slight variation between the tang widths of different brands of fretwire, but as long as you stick with stuff like Jescar, StewMac or Dunlop you shouldn't have a problem.

    For awhile there was some cheap eBay wire with crazy thick tangs, but I haven't run into anything especially off spec in awhile.
     
  3. MaxAidingAres

    MaxAidingAres SS.org Regular

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    Basically if the gang width is to wide for the slot it’ll push a back bow into the neck theoretically. And if it’s too loose it could just fall out or you’ll have to use glue which can “dampen the tone” or whatever.
     
  4. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    :agreed:

    Of note, since this is a refret, if the tang is a little wide, just clean the slots a bit more.
     
  5. jwade

    jwade Doooooooooom

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    If the slot ended up being the tiniest bit wide due to pulling the old frets, you could mix wood glue with dust from the same piece/type of wood as the fb for putting in the new frets.
     
  6. silverabyss

    silverabyss

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    Isn't that SOP anyways since yanking them out chews the wood up ?
     
  7. Grand Rabbit

    Grand Rabbit SS.org Regular

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    As mentioned above, fretwire tang widths seem to vary depending on the manufacturer of the fretwire. I guess quite a few of them are similar if not identical, however I have had an instance where jumbo fretwire tang from stewmac was wider than medium fretwire tang from Luthier Mercantile Incorporated and I had to widen the fretslots by using a japanese pull saw, or flush trim saw, with a slightly wider kerf than the width of the original slots to cut the slots to the correct width.

    It wasn't particularly difficult, however a little bit of practice and patience will pay off for a total beginner. The main difficulty is in keeping both ends of the cut level and keeping the saw blade perpendicular to the fretboard. Nothing beats a little bit of concentration, making sure to keep the saw blade level and to frequently compare the depth of cut on both ends of the fretboard, however if you're really concerned about doing it completely freehand you can always glue a depth stop to the side of the saw blade and use a square piece of wood as a fence to hold your saw blade in the correct, perpendicular position.


    However you probably won't have any trouble putting new fretwire in to begin with xD as long as you just rock the old fretwire out gingerly and slowly
     
  8. TheTrooper

    TheTrooper SS.org Regular

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    I see, well, I wouldn't do the job, my luthier would.
    Shouldn't be much of a problem, the frets that need to be replaced are the stock ones, so no other re-fretting has been done on it, the slots should be good and not already enlarged.

    Thanks for the feedback!
     

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