New Neck? Refret? I'm sleepless over this

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by omlove, May 22, 2019.

  1. omlove

    omlove TDPRI Member

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    This has been bugging me: My #1 strat has frets worn down.

    I never thought I, as a hobby player not a pro, would need anything near close to refret but it appears that electric guitar playing technique - bends and vibrato mostly - wears frets way more than acoustic. Not to mention that in the past few years I've been playing my strat way more than anything else.

    I thought of many options, but none seems cheap. And that's bugging me:

    1. Fender classic series 50s neck, around $190, but I need to buy a set of nut file, notched straight edge, straight sanding beam, crown file, etc and I probably won't need them in the near future.

    2. Any quality third party neck like Warmoth would cost a few hundred dollars -_- Not to mention for the best result I still need to buy the set of tools for leveling and crowning. Bummer...

    3. Any quality third party neck with SS frets and a set of leveling and crowning tools. This will cost a fortune but "do it once and for all"?

    4. Hire a pro for refret, nah... too expensive

    5. Fender classic series 50s neck, transfer current tuners, leave frets as is, buy a set of nut file. This is the cheapest, but still towards $300 and may not be perfect when playing...

    For the record, my strat is classic series 50s strat and costs $600. It's so good that I don't even think about buying Fender USA or Fender Custom any day or night. I cannot believe this fret thing becomes such an expensive problem and did someone tell me that Leo designed the strat in such a way that once the neck or frets are done, just screw on a new one? That someone failed to tell me it costs so much...
     
  2. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

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    If you love the guitar so much get it re-fretted ...better than buying a neck you might hate then you will have sleepless nights

    If you have not done a refret before a maple board is unforgiving not so much pulling the frets
    a bit of heat and a sharp blade will help there
    getting the ends flush and smooth without damaging the finish is tricky
    definitely something you don't want to jump straight into
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
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  3. 8barlouie

    8barlouie Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I agree on the refret. It’s all about the neck. You’re bonded with it. What are your chances of buying a new neck off the shelf and liking it just as much?
     
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  4. Recce

    Recce Tele-Afflicted

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    Do the refret. When you change the neck you will change the feel.
     
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  5. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Yup - you love the neck, so do the refret. Get EVO or stainless and never worry about fret issues again.
     
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  6. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Meister

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    I doubt you'll be as happy with any other neck. I'd go with the re-fret.

    When faced with the same issue I actually did the re-fret. The first time was without proper tools and it tuned out ok-ish. Then I bought the proper tools. Now I've done a few more re-frets, one just cause I felt like trying different frets.

    It's more time consuming/tedious than it is difficult (hence the big cost for a tech to do it).
     
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  7. Jimmy Owen

    Jimmy Owen Tele-Holic

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    Refret. It’s your #1 because you like the way it plays.
     
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  8. rad1

    rad1 Tele-Afflicted

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    I loved the neck on my strat, I refreted, no regrets. I suggest you consider the same.
     
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  9. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Meister

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    Refret, go with EVO gold wire so you're not looking at the same expense a few years down the road. The more I read about strats, the more I hear that the neck is the number determiner, everything else can be changed relatively inexpensively, but if the neck ain't right, the guitar ain't right.
     
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  10. warrent

    warrent Friend of Leo's

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    unless you had someone do a fret level on your current neck you won't need one on a new fender neck. All you need is a tech to cut the slots deeper and do a set up.
    Or if you want, look on stratosphere for a classic 50's neck that is a pull from a guitar. That should have all the work done for you.
     
  11. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Tele-Afflicted

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    refret. its a bit expensive, but you cant put a price on a guitar that you consider your number 1.
     
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  12. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Poster Extraordinaire

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    Pay for someone who learned on other guitars to do it!! If you have never removed frets then dont learn on your number#1! It worth the peace of mind.

    I’m headed there myself. My #1 has a solid, one piece (no fret board) rosewood neck and the frets are starting to be a problem. I’m ok with doing it myself, but I HATE REMOVING FRETS!.. I cant stand the though of pulling out some huge divot of fretboard. Even using, heat, face knips and bracing the fretboard it can still happen. Yes you can fix it easily but I hate it. Its like pulling teeth, only more painful.
     
  13. aging_rocker

    aging_rocker TDPRI Member

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    Refret!

    Different neck = different guitar (in terms of feel at least, and that's what counts)
     
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  14. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Friend of Leo's

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    I have found that nut and fret files aren't really needed on Allparts necks with tusq nuts.
    Unfinished with nut for around $125 bucks and $8 bucks worth of Tru Oil.

    Or spend the same or more on fret wire and some tools to do the refret and hope you do a decent job of it yourself.

    I have a new classic 60's rosewood neck with the 7.25 radius and vintage frets. Never played but it's rosewood not all maple like the classic 50's. I purchased it in 2011 from the Stratosphere and never got around to using it. I'm not a fan of vintage frets.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  15. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Are you sure the frets don't just need a leveling?

    I've found that what sometimes looks like a deeply divoted fret can still be nicely leveled out and crowned.

    If so in your case, investing in the leveling tools would probably be the least expensive option for now.

    Just a thought... a leveling might give you another year on those frets, you could prepare/save up for a refret in the meantime.
     
  16. srolfeca

    srolfeca Tele-Meister

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    In my universe, you change necks because you weren’t happy with the first one, not because the old one needed new frets.

    It took me forever to find my Thinline and a fair amount of money to get it just right.

    I’d happily pay $400-500 to keep it fresh, rather than going back to square one. The good news is that if you’re OK with the sound and feel of stainless or EVO gold frets, you won’t be touching it again for years!
     
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  17. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Tele-Meister

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    This. Usually frets can be leveled/recrowned a couple of times before a refret is necessary. For every refret I do in my shop, I do a dozen level/recrowns. Sometimes I will do partial refrets, replacing only the frets that show excessive wear. The cost is about 40% of a refret, and will last for several years. (How long has it taken to wear the frets to where they are now? A level/recrown should last that long.)
     
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  18. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    My 69 Thinline is on it's second fret level. Skinny vintage frets and 7.25" radius

    IMG_20190406_134640.jpg

    Good as new - easy with coarse, medium, fine. Fret crowning file, 400 grit wet dry and polish with metal polish.

    Did my Gretsch too. Couple hours, good as new.
     
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  19. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I'm with the level-crown guys, especially if you haven't had it done even once yet. You could maybe get a few more years out of that neck...
     
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  20. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Just get the thing re-fretted. Putting on a new neck makes it a different guitar. Re-frets are not that expensive.
     
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