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cost of a refret vs. cost of a new neck?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by appar111, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. appar111

    appar111 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    41
    Mar 8, 2006
    Ohio
    For those with a non-vintage neck on their teles, where does one draw the line between getting a refret and just buying a new neck and having the frets dressed on it?

    I was recently quoted approximately $350 for a refret on a maple fretboard tele neck. This price includes removing the old frets, prepping to install new ones, as well as leveling & crowning the new ones and a new nut install.

    A level and crown can run between $70-100, and a new nut install is about $60-90 from the same individual. So the actual cost of removing the old frets and installing new ones is about $160-220. The level/crown and new bone nut install price seem fair to me, at least on the lower end of the pricing. Does the cost for the removal and install of new frets seem good?

    I'm not asking because I think the prices are super high, I've just never had to get a refret before.

    If these prices seem fair, then I'm assuming that to pick a refret over a new neck, one would either have to own a vintage instrument, or really love their existing neck. I mean, you can get a Warmoth neck for $157, an Allparts for around $125-135, and a USACG for about $230 (for a maple neck & board).

    Aside from the USACG neck price, it seems like it'd be more cost efficient to just go with a new neck, nut and level/crown.

    Just wondering who here has weighed the options between refret vs. replace for a non-vintage neck where the frets are shot.
     
  2. Jack S

    Jack S Friend of Leo's

    Sep 25, 2008
    Berwyn, IL
    I think the quote is outrageously high.
     
  3. Al Watsky

    Al Watsky Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 5, 2007
    New Jersey
    Thats an average price for a retail refret.
    Some guys will work cheaper but usually they work faster to compensate and you get less than perfect cosmetics.
    For 350 you should be getting close (if you believe in earthly perfection) to perfection.
    If you like the neck refret it. If you like the sound of the guitar refret it.
    If you are not so in love with the instrument get a new neck.
    The good thing about a refret is that if you have a good tech , they can usually improve things, the neck gets optimized. You can at least get the wire you want.
    Stuff like that.
    Your limited with the maple neck because of the finish but the tech can also profile the board for compound radius and relief if thats in the budget. The refret gives you more options and the chance for optimization.
    Nome sayin' ?
    Good luck.
     
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  5. dugums

    dugums Tele-Meister

    251
    Nov 13, 2010
    Chicago
    If you love the neck or the guitar as a whole, get a refret. If the neck is just 'meh' take the opportunity to try out a new neck.

    Seems like a fair price for the refret.
     
  6. appar111

    appar111 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    41
    Mar 8, 2006
    Ohio
    There's another guy in town who is trying to get back to building his client base (did luthier work for a while, then took a break from it to tech for someone on tour) and his pricing is alot better, but I think it's the "get them in the door" pricing.

    A buddy of mine had an unfinished maple neck (one of those eddie van halen inspired strat necks that was all dirty and grey looking) with a slight twist in it, so this guy did the following: removed the frets, replaned the fretboard so it was level, reinstalled the frets, leveled and crowned them and "redirtied" the neck for him. All for $150! And it's really good work too-- that guitar plays so darned good now, it's sick.

    I'd like to believe that he'd keep that pricing, but something tells me it'll inch up to more "retail" level soon enough.
     
  7. Al Watsky

    Al Watsky Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 5, 2007
    New Jersey
    That's his holy c**p I'm off the road and I need the $$ pricing.
    For sure.
    Any guitar refretted will be better than factory if the "right" guy or gal does it.
     
  8. Jack S

    Jack S Friend of Leo's

    Sep 25, 2008
    Berwyn, IL
    I have never had a quote that high even for a bound neck. I think it is outrageous for a maple unbound neck.
     
  9. BritishBluesBoy

    BritishBluesBoy Doctor of Teleocity

    Oct 19, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    It would cost you quite a bit more if you lived in NYC... ;)

    If you like the neck I'd get it re-fretted. $350 for really skilled work to get your baby back in tip-top shape is worth every penny I reckon.
     
  10. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

    I just refretted my JV Squier myself. Total cost: $10.00 and an hour of my time.:D
     
  11. mellecaster

    mellecaster Former Member

    Part of the Genius of Leo was that you didn't have to worry about Refrets...Cheaper to buy another (Bolt on Neck)...and the Price you were quoted seems right in line to me...not outrageous at all.
     
  12. Jack S

    Jack S Friend of Leo's

    Sep 25, 2008
    Berwyn, IL
    Well I guess you guys who do it for a living know what you charge. The last time I priced a fret job was for my ES345 with the bound neck and the quotes I got ranged from $250-275. That was maybe 8 or 9 years ago.
     
  13. chunkymacneil

    chunkymacneil TDPRI Member

    56
    Sep 26, 2010
    London
    i take it that you already had all the appropriate tools then to do the job.

    Its about £200 over here (central london) to have a maple board refretted and refinished
     
  14. bo

    bo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    Total refret/new nut/set-up would cost about that around here. Keep in mind the frets on a new neck will likely need work too. I'd go with what dugums said.
     
  15. smokerjoe34

    smokerjoe34 Tele-Holic

    697
    Mar 25, 2009
    Enid,Oklahoma
    Got my USA Strat refretted awhile back at Honest Ron's in OKC for 220.00 cash !! Crowned to a degree and leveled !! I had to do some very slight edge filing but it works very nicely !! I think your quotes will vary to which part of the country u r dealing with ??
     
  16. Al Watsky

    Al Watsky Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 5, 2007
    New Jersey

    Ha ha ha.
    You need to get out more:)
    Seriously, in these parts thats on the high side of low .
    There are folks everywhere who work cheap.
    You get what you pay for.:D
    Its really about the cost of living in your location.
    Outrageous ! :eek:
     
  17. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    53
    Sep 23, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    I'm surprised. It's normally about $185-225 to refret an unbound rosewood board neck, with maple being a little more expensive because th fretboard is finished. A nut should cost about $40. And I live in New York! On the other hand, the last time I had that done here I spent days fine-tuning the upper frets.

    SOME replacement necks - and it's something of a crapshoot here regardless of manufacturer - don't need any fret dressing, but that's rare.
     
  18. Bolide

    Bolide Friend of Leo's

    Nov 21, 2010
    Rocky Hill, CT
    That's what the prices are running here in Connecticut (one of the more expensive states, btw).

    I imagine that the guy doing the job has to set the price to account for the ones where he basically has to rebuild the fretboard jigsaw puzzle style, and have it looking good as when it was brought in, as opposed to the ones where the frets come out cleanly.

    not affiliated, for informational purposes only
    http://www.theguitarmechanic.com/repair.html
     
  19. BritishBluesBoy

    BritishBluesBoy Doctor of Teleocity

    Oct 19, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    Therein lies your answer... ;)

    Check out Main Drag's website for a price check. You might be surprised...

    They do great work there and I take them anything I can't do myself (ie fret work, amp repairs etc)
     
  20. telekazamm

    telekazamm Tele-Meister

    362
    Nov 4, 2010
    Kansas
    I'd buy a new neck! Maybe a new guitar for that price. I paid 300 for my MIM tele, case, tuner, marshall amp, guitar polish, and a cable. The guitar was flawless too. Now if it was an american standard or something like that, then I would probably go for a re-fret.
     
  21. appar111

    appar111 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    41
    Mar 8, 2006
    Ohio
    Man, you're fast! Is that including pulling the old frets? And leveling/crowning the new ones?

    One of these days I'll buy a super cheap guitar to practice fret pulling & installing, but that day is a ways off..
     
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