To refret? Or not? 1974 Strat.

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by slunky, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. slunky

    slunky New Member!

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    Story: I was given as a gift a 1974 Fender Strat. It's a wonderfully light guitar (7.32 lb) with a super fat neck pickup. I love this guitar as it was my first and it's what I learned to play on. It's truly a unique, special instrument.

    But I don't play it. I took it to Gary Brawer in San Francisco, and he told me it needs a refret. The 2-6 frets have huge flat patches, the neck is sinking in the pocket and needs to be shimmed, and the nut that somone else cut for it sets the string spacing way too far apart, causing the high E to easily slip over the edge of the frets.

    It's by no means an original piece: it has a NOS neck plate and tuners. But it's been well played and has plenty of life left in it. My hesitation is in having someone removing the frets. I just feel like it may permanently change the way it plays.

    I've been quoted $515 for a refret with a compound radius, a new nut, and a full setup. This seems really high.

    What would you do?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. blasphemoustrat

    blasphemoustrat Most Honored Senior Member

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    If you want to play it, then do it, make double sure it's reputable. If you just want to hang it on a wall, then don't:)
     
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  3. Slowhead

    Slowhead Strat-Talk Member

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    You can get a partial re fret. Only do the ones that are bad. Don't get it changed to compound radius that will definitely change the way it plays. I don't know prices in your area but that sounds high to me.
     
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  4. FormerTeleGuy

    FormerTeleGuy Senior Stratmaster

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    Man, that's a gorgeous guitar. There's a guy here in IL name Bob Szwedo that does amazing work. Other than him, I don't have enough firsthand experience with anyone else's work to recommend them.

    Might as well be deciding on a brain surgeon with that piece!
     
  5. slunky

    slunky New Member!

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    I'm in San Francisco, so everything is expensive here. This was a quote from Gary Brawer. I know he's reputable, but I imagine there's also a markup for the "brand".

    I think what I would really be scared of is changing the radius at all. It has a really great 7.25'' radius. If I don't want him to mess with that or the rolled edges, I should avoid a compound radius, right?
     
  6. slunky

    slunky New Member!

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    I'm not opposed to spending the money, but I don't want to change the way it plays. I just want it to play better.
     
  7. johnnymg

    johnnymg Most Honored Senior Member

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    I'll concur with the previous poster. Get just the damaged frets replaced and then a full setup. Should be under $200 even in SF.

    Update edit: Oh, just saw that the nut needs replacing. Ugh............ I think I should bump my guesstimate to "should be under $300 for a partial refret, nut replacement, and full setup".
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017
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  8. ProSonicLive

    ProSonicLive Senior Stratmaster

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    That is REALLY high, A refret down here on a 1pc maple is $230-$250 on average.
     
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  9. Rastus

    Rastus Senior Stratmaster

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    Hello,

    You said you don't play it in your post, so why waste your money ?....

    I'd place it in the closet for another 20-years, & see what it's value as-is is worth, & / or keep it as an heirloom.

    The price of the re-fret will nearly buy you a brand-new Classic series 1970's replica, so why not grab yourself a brand-new guitar for those moments when you do want to play ?...

    I'd grab a new guitar, & put the '74 in the closet for a few more years.

    Cheers,

    Rastus
     
  10. Falconbill

    Falconbill Strat-Talker

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    If the luthier is good, it will play better with a refret job. There's no need to change the radius or roll the edges of the neck. And installing a new nut with a setup should fix your hgh E string problem. It should play better than ever.

    I've had 4 of my guitars refretted by luthiers I trust including a couple of 70s guitars and they all came back playing better than ever. The refret jobs I've had done ranged in the $300 - $400 range. By the time he adds the new nut, shims the neck and does a complete set up, his quote isn't out of line considering where he's located. A fret job is a lotta work and if I got a lowball price, I'd be suspicious.

    Bottom line, if you want to play the guitar, have it done. IMHO, it's part of routine maintenance on an older guiitar. It's not going to hurt the value of your guitar.
     
  11. Ash-Man

    Ash-Man Senior Stratmaster

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    Rosewood board, reradius would be a piece of cake, I'd get the the full refret but go with a straight 9.5 or 12 inch radius... what's it worth if it doesn't get used? I mean it'd have to be playable If it's gonna take up the limited space in my home...
     
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  12. henderman

    henderman Dr. Stratster

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    I'm thinking Rosewood boards for $310 w/Tusq replacement nut, fully setup, not a compound, standard straight radius, choice of fret size and lightly rolled edges included if you want them - $25 extra for Gold EVO or Stainless frets.

    IMO $515 is high even for California.
     
  13. johnnymg

    johnnymg Most Honored Senior Member

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    SF is CRAZY spendy................. :confused:
     
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  14. slunky

    slunky New Member!

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    I don't play it because it doesn't play well. I want to play it.
     
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  15. slunky

    slunky New Member!

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    I'm not going to change the radius at all. I can't stand modern radii, and I'd rather buy a new guitar if I wanted a 9.5'' radius. I would never modify a vintage guitar.
     
  16. Folk_Hogan

    Folk_Hogan Senior Stratmaster

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    Do it ! If it's someone you trust plus or minus 100 bucks isn't really a big deal.
     
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  17. Yves

    Yves Most Honored Senior Member

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    It's a 74s Strat, and a very nice one at that! It was gifted to you!
    I agree with Falconbill's take on that.
     
  18. rolandson

    rolandson Dr. Stratster

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    Why a compound radius? Why change the radius at all? Particularly if you are so concerned about changing the way it plays? Is the luthier selling that idea? Because it sounds sort of ahhh...yeah...that.

    Are you certain that a fret dress won't fix the problem?

    For a few hundred one can pick up an aftermarket neck from Warmoth or Allparts or someone, nut installed and everything... or a for real Fender neck from Fender or Amazon (Vintage styled MIM for about $200...)

    You can accomplish the change in radius if you like by putting a different neck on and it will cost you less. You can fix the frets the same way, also for less money.

    Then take a slice of maple veneer, put it in the pocket and bingo, a shimmed neck of proper string spacing.

    Reshaping the neck to change the radius sounds like a drastically unnecessary measure...if you are concerned about the way it plays.

    Then take the money saved and buy a set of fret files and a few bone nuts from StewMac so you can learn to cut your own. It will never be a problem again...
     
  19. laro

    laro Strat-Talker

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    Get a complete refret. I have a 75 that I had done and what a big difference it makes.
     
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  20. felis

    felis Senior Stratmaster

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    I'd do it! But would ask around, for other price quotes.

    Had my ('78) maple neck, fully re fretted, planed, new nut and Nitro finished, costed me €370.
    I think your quote of $515 (for a rosewood board) is on the expensive side.