Do i need a re-fret?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by strato1, Jul 28, 2017.

  1. strato1

    strato1 Strat-Talk Member

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    Image1501275687.550147.jpg Image1501275730.340656.jpg Image1501275762.902167.jpg

    Hi,

    It's my first electric guitar (bought second hand), so i've never had any experience with this.
    As you can see the first 3 frets are sitting quite low, and almost completly flat, and not long ago my older brother told me, although it played great, it had seen some wear through the years.

    Thank you in advance

    (Hope you can see the pictures btw, i've had problems with that before)
     
  2. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Dr. Stratster

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    You would need a professional to look at it....there may be enough meat left to level and crown but they will be small, like vintage frets - by the time it's done....

    It all comes down to what the luthier/tech thinks and if you can get along with playing small frets....

    I wish you had consulted us before buying the guitar, we would have advised against it with that much fret wear...

    a refret on a maple 1 piece neck is difficult and expensive, it requires stripping the finish and refinishing the fretboard after the refret....
     
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  3. levets

    levets New Member!

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    Wow, that's a well-loved guitar.

    I'm not an expert so I won't say anything other than those first 3 look very flat to me - it's possible they've been worked on before and leveled down either becuase they were replaced and were higher than the rest (taller frets) or they had wear under certain strings and were leveled down to make it even.

    Usually what happens on the first couple of frets with begginers who start on a guitar playing a lot of "cowboy chords", the B string 1st fret (C note) and G string 2nd fret (A note) wear most - from a lot of C and Am chords!

    A luthier might tell you it needs it, just to make money - so make sure you find a reputable one (not any posters here, I mean if you take it to a shop). But you might want to take it in and get an in-person opinion - if it's good enough to learn on and still takes a set up OK, I'd say keep these on here while you're learning so you're only grinding down things that don't matter. However, if you're already an acoustic player and you play all over the neck, you may want the guitar to be great out of the gate. So if doesn't need it, but could use it it to make it a better instrument, then by all means it's worth the investment.

    Of course, there's stainless steel to consider...
     
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  4. strato1

    strato1 Strat-Talk Member

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    After hearing that i wish i would've too :(
     
  5. problem-child

    problem-child Senior Stratmaster

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    Those look pretty low. It looks like it would be playable, but it's hard to tell from pictures. Low frets may make it a bit more difficult to play cleanly. Finger placement becomes more important.
     
  6. lonegroover

    lonegroover Senior Stratmaster

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    For me it would be yes, but it depends how well you can get on with low frets.
     
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  7. strato1

    strato1 Strat-Talk Member

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    yea i don't have any problem playing the thing, especially not when i go further up the neck.
     
  8. problem-child

    problem-child Senior Stratmaster

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    That is not always the case. There are many skilled luthiers that will do it without the stripping/refinish work. It is more difficult and takes an extra measure of care, but it's not uncommon. The need for stripping and refinish may have more to do with the condition of the finger board itself. There are some things that can't be corrected without stripping and refinishing. Take it to a reputable luthier is a good recommendation. Maybe a few to get different opinions.

     
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  9. Percy

    Percy Most Honored Senior Member

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    I have played with flatter frets than that as long as this strat sets up and plays good no need to spend money for nothing.....
     
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  10. Cal Maier

    Cal Maier New Member!

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    Problem-child is correct, a maple neck does not always need to be refinished.
    From the photos it looks to me that those may not be the original frets, they might be replacements. Normally the original frets on a maple neck have some signs of lacquer on the frets where they meet the fretboard, you usually should be able to see the lacquer easily on the frets over the body say above the 14th fret, I notice in the third photo of the 12th fret I can't see any lacquer on the side of the frets but I do see what looks like fingerboard dirt against and maybe even under the frets. Hard to really tell from the photo I would have to inspect it in person to really tell.
    Yes, the first three frets look low and flat and the string slots in the nut are cut quite deep, so if you were to refret you may need to replace or repair the nut.
    If the guitar is playing good and not buzzing excessively then I would not bother with a refret right away, look under the string paths to see how deep the frets are grooved this may make the difference between leaving it alone for now or re fretting.
    When I refret maple necks I will try to stay away from refinishing the neck if the finish on the fretboard is in descent shape, it takes a bit more work to remove any lacquer build up along the frets but is a lot less costly than refinishing plus it makes future refrets much less costly by removing the whole refinishing step.
    Yes by all means, get a couple of professional opinions on it but if, as you say, the guitar plays nicely for you, I wouldn't rush into a refret just yet.
    Cheers,
    Cal
     
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  11. strato1

    strato1 Strat-Talk Member

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    Yeah what you're seeing on the sides of the frets is just dirt, and i think you are right about that it has probably have had a re-fret before, thank you for your response.
     
  12. stratnutz

    stratnutz Senior Stratmaster

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    Yes,get a refret and a new nut as well.
     
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  13. johnnymg

    johnnymg Most Honored Senior Member

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    Welcome to Strat-Talk.

    A full refret and nut will likely be 1/2 the cost of this guitar.............. ???

    If it "plays great" then maybe just use it as is or sell it with a disclaimer.
     
  14. vid1900

    vid1900 Most Honored Senior Member

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    If that guitar was on my bench, I would re-fret and put in a new nut.

    If the other frets were taller, you could just replace just the first few worn ones, but from those pictures, it looks like a full fretjob is on the horizon.

    The nut is only going to add a few euros to the job, so don't let that scare you. Sometimes those old plastic nuts break apart during removal for a fretjob, and no one ever charges for them (that would be super petty as they wholesale $9 a dozen).

    AND....if you re-fret with stainless, it will likely be the last set of frets that guitar ever needs.

    You can then play all the cowboy chords you want, for the rest of your life, and never worry that they are killing your frets, lol.
     
  15. strato1

    strato1 Strat-Talk Member

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    Yea but the thing is, that in Denmark it would cost me probably more than half of the cost of the guitar itself :( would be easier to sell the thing to some poor fool (not gonna be doing that though)
     
  16. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    Leave as-is if no buzzing and no current wear divots under the strings. If too much then find a replacement neck and store this one away. Or refret with stainless.

    Stainless frets to do a single neck are under $20, tools if you search well (like welding tip cleaners instead of pro nut files), granite door threashold instead of sanding beam, rat files instead of crowning files, and so on you would probably have under $50 for the task. If you have an accident you can get more fret wire as you already have the tools so low risk there. If you are nervous then buy a used cheap starter guitar/neck for under $30 and refret that first. Plenty of youtube videos on the methods.

    .
     
  17. Groovey

    Groovey Dr. Stratster

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    If it plays well, I wouldn't touch it. They do look a bit flat on top. Read up on "crowning." A fret crowning file won't cost you too much.
    You may also find a slotted nut that will be a drop in replacement. Play it as is for a while. Have fun and welcome to the forum.
     
  18. Nate D

    Nate D Most Honored Senior Member

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    I've had a maple neck refretted without stripping the finish.
     
  19. Nate D

    Nate D Most Honored Senior Member

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    I don't fear a refret. I'd only shy away from one if I'd already refretted a guitar a few times.
     
  20. RangerJay

    RangerJay Strat-Talk Member

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    You could slap a new neck on it and it would probably cost less. Just a thought.
     
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