contemplating a refret (80's MIJ Squire) -- your recs?

jc77

Strat-Talk Member
May 13, 2021
21
New England
So I'm thinking about going all in on refretting my E series Squire.
For a long time I've felt like this guitar should just be retired -- it was my special guitar in junior high, high school, college,
and beyond, and though it is nearly unplayable at this point, I haven't wanted to risk tampering with the mojo.
The frets are seriously worn. I'm actually not too worried about intonation, because this is one of those special guitars
that is musical even when out of tune. But it's gotten to the point where the frets feel sharp -- not on the tips like sprout, but
along the whole length, so sliding around has become uncomfortable.
I just love this neck, and the overall vibe and gestalt of this guitar -- who would you recommend to replace the frets, using
period-correct MIJ specs?
Thanks for any advice you can offer!
 

JV_Squier

Strat-Talk Member
May 24, 2022
10
United Kingdom
I don't have much insight as I've never had to have a guitar re-fretted and live across the pond, but what sort of neck is it? Maple or rosewood board etc...? I'd imagine this makes a fair difference in the difficulty of the job. If it has a slab board then I'd think it would be fairly easy to get a decent job done if you can find the right spec fret wire.
 

Electgumbo

Not Of This Earth
Dec 26, 2010
12,728
Scott, La.
I just had my ol’ girl Goldie refretted last week. Second time for her. But she is like your guitar.
I’ve had her for 47 years. If the guitar is a keeper then getting a professional refret is the only way to continue to enjoy your guitar…

ACC39F2A-27D9-41D3-8D0F-EC9F1E9D23A2.jpeg
 

hamerfan

Strat-Talker
May 11, 2020
443
Bavaria
How often was the guitar fret leveled? My experience is that up to 3 times a guitar can be leveled before it needs a refret.

BTW i love the way you use gestalt on a guitar. In German it has the meaning of shape or figure but also means a woman‘s figure in a poetic sense. Very slick!
 
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FrieAsABird

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 18, 2020
2,984
Germany
Go for it if you can afford it or even better, if you can do it yourself! Nothing to lose here, you will most likely love the results :)
 

Believer7713

The Pink Bunnyman Frankenstein
Silver Member
Dec 27, 2016
16,513
KC
I just finished a refret a couple months ago and the rest of the guitar is in the works now. Granted I went with the biggest stainless wire I could find but I really like that size.
As stated earlier, if it's a truly special guitar then definitely refret it. I did thins one a few years ago. The work was worth more than the whole guitar but it is that special to me. After the refret is is not only special in sentiment but in how it plays all over again. I even opted to keep the original mojo by not refinishing it. Done properly a maple neck doesn't need it unlike the jury of popular opinion (interwebz) would like to make most believe.
20181104_215220.jpg 20190820_214701.jpg
 

StratUp

Most Honored Senior Member
Sep 5, 2020
7,307
Altered States
How often was the guitar fret leveled? My experience is that up to 3 times a guitar can be leveled before it needs a refret.

BTW i love the way you use gestalt on a guitar. In German it has the meaning of shape or figure but also means a woman‘s figure in a poetic sense. Very slick!

Just don't use gestalt therapy on a guitar. They don't like it and their tone will just shut down.
 

wooders

Strat-O-Master
Nov 19, 2021
809
Kent
So I'm thinking about going all in on refretting my E series Squire.
For a long time I've felt like this guitar should just be retired -- it was my special guitar in junior high, high school, college,
and beyond, and though it is nearly unplayable at this point, I haven't wanted to risk tampering with the mojo.
The frets are seriously worn. I'm actually not too worried about intonation, because this is one of those special guitars
that is musical even when out of tune. But it's gotten to the point where the frets feel sharp -- not on the tips like sprout, but
along the whole length, so sliding around has become uncomfortable.
I just love this neck, and the overall vibe and gestalt of this guitar -- who would you recommend to replace the frets, using
period-correct MIJ specs?
Thanks for any advice you can offer!
It sounds like you should get the old girl refretted. You can go bigger frets. I had one done last year and it brought the old girl back to life.
Absolutely worth it for a keeper.
 

Mr Jagsquire

Strat-O-Master
Sep 26, 2020
665
Berkshire
Like @El Gobernador I too had my JV Squier refretted a couple of years ago now. It's a maple neck model and it was done without refinishing so it has retained the wear through the (poly) on the fingerboard. Afterwards it played better than ever. I don't play it as often now, but more because I'm concerned about it getting stolen at a gig. I do play it plenty at home though and at venues where I know I have someone to keep an eye on it while I'm packing up the rest of my gear.
 

Stratattack72

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 4, 2010
1,026
pluton
Refrets are about taking your time and having the right tools for the job. Don't rush ! It isn't really that complicated, but does require a bit of patience and skill watch all the tutorials you can . Lot of good ones out there.
 

jvin248

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 10, 2014
5,433
Michigan
... recommend to replace the frets, using period-correct MIJ specs?...

Remember you somehow played 'non-period-worn' frets. If you had the frets leveled a few times then you've played a series of different crown heights. So ignore the 'period-correct' thinking/worries.

Use medium stainless steel fret wire.

The guitar will only sound different with stainless steel frets if you compare the worn frets with old strings and new stainless frets with new strings -- string age is the key to the 'tone change' players notice and misallocate to the source.

Find a guitar tech who uses a fret leveling jig that puts the neck in string-tension-position. PLEK machines do this, Stew-Mac sells a jig, there are plans to build a jig out there. Necks do not bend in a linear fashion like most believe but have a bit of an 'S'-curve to them when under tension due to the strings running over the nut. So a free-hand level job is slightly different than a simulated tension level job. Again though, you've played wonky worn frets on it for so many years, just using any tool to level frets will make it play like a custom shop instrument.

.
 

stratmanshow

Strat-Talk Member
Apr 8, 2010
75
Victoria BC Canada
OP, Have you ever (had the) frets levelled and crowned? If not you should check if that's still possible. What you describe is common as the frets get flat on top which also males it difficult to play. Crowning will eliminate that. There's lots of info on how to do that so at least try that first if you're thinking about refretting it yourself because you'll need to do a full level&crown anyway so it'll be a good primer. The cowboy chord area wear and divots is usually a culprit in the need for a refret. The pics below show my JV when I bought it. The seller refunded me $300 after I sent these (and more) Bad as it was I was still able to level and recrown them to make it playable. It had the sharp feel you described.
Is yours this bad?
 

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