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Old July 3rd, 2013, 10:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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1985 Frets?

Hey guys, I picked up a 1985 Japan Fender Strat a few week ago, for what I'm told was a good price! (370, lace sensors had been fitted too!). Sounds great, looks great, love it. However I have become concerned about the frets, the wire seems really short/low when compared to other guitars I have, now admittedly my other guitars are modern and I wouldn't consider any of them to be of the quality of this one so I don't know if this is just a feature of older guitars? I was told that it had undergone a fret dress at some point in it's life.

It's around 150 to have the frets replaced and I don't want to remove the original neck to replace with a new one! Am I worrying for nothing? Or could there be a problem? There's minor buzzing on the low E however I haven't gotten around to giving it a good setup yet. All other strings are fine and it plays great.

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Old July 3rd, 2013, 11:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I am guessing that it originally had vintage height frets. If they have been dressed, they are likely quite low and it may well need a refret if you like your frets larger. If it can be made to play without excessive buzzing and if you don't need the taller frets for bending, etc, then you can leave it as is. It is not a "problem" but just a wear item on a guitar.

I personally prefer taller frets and would consider a refret. In the old days, if a guitar needed frets, we usually just sold it... These days, it is a difficult question in terms of price. If it was a nice American guitar that needed frets, I'd do it in a minute. If it was a MIM guitar, it would be a hard call, as a replacement neck can be had cheaper than a refret job.

If you can measure fret height (straightedge and feeler gauge) that would tell you what you actually have in comparison to new frets.

George
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Old July 3rd, 2013, 11:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the information, I'm beginning to think I was ripped off, the frets are really short, however there's no issue on the other strings, and I'm only using 10guage strings.

I'm a student at the moment and genuinely can't afford to have the guitar worked on when I've just paid out what was the last of my student loan on the guitar! (I need the guitar for uni).

I like the guitar, it's the nicest I've played and nicest sounding guitar I've ever owned/played. So it's not a case of selling it on unfortunately and selling it on in need of a re-fret would cause a significant drop in value and therefore a pretty big loss for me when I've literally had it maybe a month. I can't replace the neck due to the guitar it is, again loss in value if it's not original also there would be no authenticity markings to me claiming it was an '85 *** guitar. I've also been told by Fender that the parts no longer fit the older guitars.
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Old July 3rd, 2013, 11:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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for some reason it starred out Japan....
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Old July 3rd, 2013, 11:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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i have six fender MIJ strats from the same era. they are great guitars and the frets seem to hold up well. it provably just needs a setup and fret dressing. post some pictures of the frets and we will be able to point you in the right direction, i have replaced frets on mine and its just not that big a deal. also, the parts are easily interchangeable with most other strats. if it plays well and sounds good, there's no problem. even a refret wont as a rule decrease the value.
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Old July 3rd, 2013, 12:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twick View Post
i have six fender MIJ strats from the same era. they are great guitars and the frets seem to hold up well. it provably just needs a setup and fret dressing. post some pictures of the frets and we will be able to point you in the right direction, i have replaced frets on mine and its just not that big a deal. also, the parts are easily interchangeable with most other strats. if it plays well and sounds good, there's no problem. even a refret wont as a rule decrease the value.
I've uploaded a picture there :) I'm hoping it's a simple solution, it's putting me off the guitar a bit
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Old July 3rd, 2013, 12:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Those frets look pretty low. In your pic, is the fret in the middle taller than the outside two? Or is it just the bevel on the end of the fret making it look like that?

Is the neck straight or does it have some twisting in it?

Again, if you can tweak the setup and make it sound/play OK without the strings fretting out or lacking sustain because they are buzzing on higher frets, play it as is.

As a player who bends strings, I like my frets somewhat higher (medium jumbos are good).

I am also usually opposed to leveling all the frets to the lowest point of the lowest fret--I am more a fan of partial refrets if the guitar has wear in the the cowboy chord area or like that... But if all of your frets are similarly low, that is an indication that they may have been leveled. In that case, the fix is a refret. Or buy another neck and keep the original one in a drawer.

George
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Old July 3rd, 2013, 12:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The frets all seem to be the same size, although the higher frets are taller. The neck to me doesn't seem to have bowed. So like I said, think I've been ripped off, because getting it re-fret would bring the total cost to like 520-70. Which I can't afford. I have no preference to fret height, if it feels good I'll play it, I just don't want buzzing which won't go away, I've raised the bridge and it still remains.
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