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Partial refret on acoustic question

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by sean79, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. sean79

    sean79 Poster Extraordinaire

    If I were to do a partial refret (frets 1 through 12) on an acoustic, would I run into problems if the new frets were just a little taller than the old frets - the frets left in there at 13 through 20? Those old frets are measuring in at 0.029 inches; the new ones are 0.039 inches high.

    Any thoughts on this one?
     

  2. RCinMempho

    RCinMempho Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 8, 2003
    Maryville, TN
    I had my D28 done and he only did the bottom five frets. Then he leveled them all. No problems.

    To me that seemed impossible, but he just laughed and said he'd done 100 of them.
     
    8eighty and sean79 like this.

  3. unfamous

    unfamous Tele-Meister

    171
    Jul 19, 2009
    North Georgia
    Leveling means they end up, well, level. How high they are to begin with is not a significant factor.
     
    KyAnne and sean79 like this.

  4. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    northwest
    Leveling will take care of it. But at .029 on the high frets, just get the whole thing done, those are too low. You are down in Gibson Fretless wonder range and below.
     
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  5. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Meister

    Age:
    62
    173
    Feb 27, 2017
    Palmetto, Florida
    How much $ will it save you? If the luthier levels them all to the lowest frets (which are often lower than the rest to get good action) then you may not get another fret level out of the new ones. I'd refret the whole thing with EVO gold and never have to worry about it again.
     
    sean79 likes this.

  6. HolyTele Tube

    HolyTele Tube TDPRI Member

    97
    Jan 5, 2018
    Prosperity, Sc
    I often refret my personal acoustic guitars down to fret 7 or 9. If you are doing the job your self things don’t get more complicated until you get to the frets on top of the body.
     
    sean79 likes this.

  7. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Sep 13, 2008
    Lansing, MI
    This. Doesn't tear up strings like some people experience with stainless, and I can't make the stuff wear at all. It's fantastic fret wire.
     
    sean79 likes this.

  8. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    58
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    A partial refret with taller frets is not an issue but ending up with frets .029 high would be a big waste of labor and wood IMO.
     
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  9. sean79

    sean79 Poster Extraordinaire

    That’s one of the reasons I was hoping to avoid a full refret. The other reason is the deep grooves under the B and E strings- up to about the 12th fret.

    I do know that I could knock even the tallest frets down to the height of the frets left over the body, but I was wondering if shorter frets (by 0.01 inches) above the 12th would be a problem. Obviously, a fret that is too high, when you’re fretting below it, can fret out or buzz. But frets that are 0.01 too low, closer to the bridge than what you’re fretting, what problems will that cause? More buzzing, or just higher action on the high frets?
     

  10. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    61
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    So, you're contemplating not actually leveling the frets? Implementing a two-tier system? The action on those upper frets is already higher than down in cowboy country, and now you can add .010" to that. Other than that, I'm not sure there would be problems, but I don't like the idea...

    If you do a fair amount of this work, or plan to, suck it up and get the StewMac Fret Buck. Working over the body becomes a non-issue.
     
    sean79 likes this.

  11. sean79

    sean79 Poster Extraordinaire

    That’s a pretty slick looking contraption.
     

  12. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    61
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    Works great. You can take a sledgehammer to the fretboard, and barely note any vibration in the body. Not that you'd really do that, of course.

    I bought it for my (so far) only acoustic refret. My son's beloved beater, with the horribly cracked top, and with brace ends flapping loose inside... I didn't want to make matters worse, and thanks to this beast of a tool, I didn't.

    To save you some time, before this, I tried a couple bags full of shot, but it didn't really work. Tried stuffing other things under the soundhole... nothing did the trick. Slapped this guy on, and job done.
     
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  13. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 19, 2006
    Gilbert, AZ (PHX)
    Those frets above the 12th on an acoustic are just ornamental anyway... they all sound like plink, plink, plink... who needs them?
     
    RomanS, sean79, moosie and 1 other person like this.

  14. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    58
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    That's a fair point.
    If it's staying with you and you have little or no use for the upper frets, it may not matter if it's a little higher action and a hard note to fret at the 13th fret.

    It seems like if it's a 14th fret joint it might make sense to replace 14 frets and leave the low ones on the body.
     
    sean79 likes this.

  15. philosofriend

    philosofriend Tele-Holic

    751
    Oct 28, 2015
    Kalamazoo
    When you play up the neck and cross over to the shorter frets this is what would happen:

    Lets say your existing frets are all short and you like the action. If you put in frets 0.010" higher, you will want to raise the saddle .010 to keep the same action.

    The highest-pitch note still fretted on the high fretwire would be noticeably louder than the notes on either side of it. The low frets between the last high fret and the bridge would allow the string to swing further. Then, the action on the higher pitch frets would be higher than it used to be, because you raised the saddle.

    Its not that hard to replace the high frets. Tape some cardboard to the body beside the board so you don't scar the top. Push the frets in. Don't pound them with a hammer unless you hold some kind of steel weight inside the guitar under the fretboard. You have to file them carefully, but this is not that hard.

    If you never play up there and you're not planning on selling the guitar, then just do what you are comfortable with.
     
    sean79 likes this.

  16. HolyTele Tube

    HolyTele Tube TDPRI Member

    97
    Jan 5, 2018
    Prosperity, Sc
    I would guess that the frets over the body are a “fall away”. They are likely lower on purpose to reduce buzz. Unless you play that high it shouldn’t be a problem.
     
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  17. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    61
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    Quoting myself... in addition to the higher action on the old, short frets, those fretted notes will be sharp, since you're increasing the string length more by pressing down further.

    If you're just planning to keep it and play it, then I'd at least go to the 14th fret. With no cutaway, I fret the octave and the couple frets above without much difficulty, but like most of us, I very rarely fret over the body.
     
    sean79 likes this.

  18. kingvox

    kingvox Tele-Meister

    170
    Mar 23, 2017
    USA
    There is no reason to level the .039" frets down to the height of frets 13 to the end. Definitely don't do that.

    Go through with it, and if the higher frets are really bothering you that much being lower -- for whatever reason -- simply replace those as well. You might find that doing a partial refret as you intend works out perfectly fine for you and you don't have to do anything else.
     
    sean79 likes this.

  19. Solaris moon

    Solaris moon Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    180
    Nov 12, 2017
    Fort Wayne
    UGH!!! I'm glad that I saw this before it was too late! First of all Gibson always used JUMBO fretwire so the "Fretless wonder" doesn't apply to ANY of their guitars! Second - it sounds like a lot of weekend warrior shadetree luthiers here. I've been doing this "Lutherie" for almost thirty years. I've seen a lot of butchery from very inexperienced hands. You don't want to do anything with those higher frets if you're putting in slightly higher frets than what is on the guitar it won't affect playing at all. I did the "Stairstep incline" on my Musicman EVH clone that I made a new body for. All the higher frets are lower than the ones closest to the nut - this makes for cleaner string bending. You can't see it, or feel it, but it does make a slight difference in bending notes.
    0.10" of an inch is the diameter of my first string on my Gretsch and I can barely FEEL it when I play! Not much metal, and not enough to adjust your bridge for. You just need enough clearance for string bending and vibration of the string won't affect its' tone, or playability. I[m glad that you asked but it's not enough to worry about. Go ahead with your project.
     
    sean79 likes this.

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